Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/McKim, James Miller

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McKIM, James Miller, reformer, b. in Carlisle, Pa., 14 Nov., 1810; d. in West Orange, N. J., 13 June, 1874. He studied at Dickinson and Princeton colleges, and in 1835 was ordained pastor of a Presbyterian church at Womelsdorf, Pa. A few years before this the perusal of a copy of Garrison's “Thoughts on Colonization” had made him an Abolitionist. He was a member of the convention that formed the American anti-slavery society, and in October, 1836, left the pulpit to accept a lecturing agency under its auspices. He delivered addresses throughout Pennsylvania, although often subjected to obloquy, and even danger from personal violence. In 1840 he removed to Philadelphia, and became the publishing agent of the Pennsylvania anti-slavery society. His office was subsequently changed to that of corresponding secretary, in which capacity he acted for a quarter of a century as general manager of the affairs of the society, taking an active part in national as well as local anti-slavery work. Mr. McKim's labors frequently brought him in contact with the operations of the “underground railroad,” and he was often connected with the slave cases that came before the courts, especially after the passage of the fugitive-slave law of 1850. In the winter of 1862, immediately after the capture of Port Royal, he was instrumental in calling a public meeting of the citizens of Philadelphia to consider and provide for the wants of the 10,000 slaves that had been suddenly liberated. One of the results of this meeting was the organization of the Philadelphia Port Royal relief committee. He afterward became an earnest advocate of the enlistment of colored troops, and as a member of the Union league aided in the establishment of Camp William Penn, and the recruiting of eleven regiments. In November, 1863, the Port Royal relief committee was enlarged into the Pennsylvania freedman's relief association, and Mr. McKim was made its corresponding secretary. In this capacity he travelled extensively, and labored diligently to establish schools at the south. He was connected from 1865 till 1869 with the American freedman's union commission, and used every effort to promote general and impartial education at the south. In July, 1869, the commission having accomplished all that seemed possible at the time, it decided unanimously, on Mr. McKim's motion, to disband. His health having meantime become greatly impaired, he soon afterward retired from public life. In 1865 he assisted in founding the New York “Nation.” — His son, Charles Follen, architect, b. in Chester county, Pa., 24 Aug., 1847, studied at the scientific school of Harvard in 1866-'7, and then spent three years in the architectural course at the School of fine arts in Paris. On his return to the United States he settled in New York, and, in association with William R. Mead and Stanford White, formed the firm whose work has taken part in the recent development of architecture in this country. The variety of work executed by this firm has been very great, but their main tendency has been to produce buildings whose original influence has been derived from the purest styles of classic architecture. Among their best productions in country work are the cottages erected in Newport, Lenox, and other summer resorts, notably the house at Mamaroneck, N. Y., that is in the style of a French farm-house, having points of resemblance to the half-timbered work of England. Their houses at Newport are typical of a style that is peculiar to themselves. Among their city residences the Tiffany house on Madison avenue, in New York city, which is Rhenish in style, with details leaning toward the Italian, is pronounced by some critics to be the finest piece of architecture in the New World. The Villard block of houses on Madison avenue, behind St. Patrick's cathedral, designed in the spirit of classic Italian architecture of the 16th century, is the most beautiful specimen of that style in New York city. Notable among their country buildings of a public character are the casinos at Newport and Narragansett Pier, and the Music hall in Short Hills, N. J. They have also built St. Paul's church in Stockbridge, Mass., and St. Peter's in Morristown, N. J., which are characterized by simple dignity and beauty. Their large business edifices include that of the American safe deposit company on the corner of 42d street and Fifth avenue, in the style of the Italian renaissance, and the Goelet building on the corner of 20th street and Broadway, New York city, which is likewise Italian in character; and also the two large office buildings of the New York life insurance company in Omaha and Kansas City. The Algonquin club-house of Boston and the Freundschaft club-house of New York city were constructed and completed under their superintendence, and the accepted designs for the structure well known as the Madison Square garden, in New York city, were furnished by them, as well as those for the Boston public library. The latter, shown in the above illustration, was completed and opened in 1895.


Appletons' McKim James Miller - Charles Follen - BPL.jpg