The New International Encyclopædia/Muhlenberg, William Augustus
MUHLENBERG, William Augustus (1796-1877). An American Episcopal clergyman and philanthropist, grandson of H. M. Muhlenberg. He was born in Philadelphia, and graduated at the University of Pennsylvania in 1814. Three years later he was ordained deacon, and served as assistant to Bishop White at Christ Church, Philadelphia. Ordained priest in 1820, he was rector from 1821 to 1828 of Saint James's Church, Lancaster, Pa., where he helped to establish the first public school in the State outside of Philadelphia. He founded in 1828 at Flushing, L. I., a school afterwards known as Saint Paul's, of which he was principal until 1846. Then he was rector of the Church of the Holy Communion in New York until 1858, in the latter year becoming superintendent and pastor of Saint Luke's Hospital, which he had founded. In the later years of his life he was instrumental in establishing an industrial Christian settlement at Saint Johnland, L. I. He died in Saint Luke's Hospital, April 8, 1877. To trace his effect upon his time would be to record the origin of several of the most important movements within the Episcopal Church. Thus he made his New York parish the first free-seat church of his communion in America; he organized the first sisterhood within the same limits in 1845, known as the Sisterhood of the Holy Communion; and the important later developments in the direction of Christian unity (see Episcopal Church) and of liturgical enrichment and flexibility both really grew out of his memorial to the House of Bishops in 1853. Church music and hymnody also owe much to him; he published three books in this department; but his most important literary work is contained in Evangelical Catholic Papers (1875-77). For his life, consult biographies by Ayres (New York, 1880) and Newton (ib., 1890); also Coleman, The Church in America (ib., 1896).