[Letter] 1920 September 6, West New Brighton, N.Y. [to] Mary

Dublin Core


[Letter] 1920 September 6, West New Brighton, N.Y. [to] Mary


Christian socialism.
Christian sociology.


Markham writes about the negative aspects of churches and how they do not fulfill the ideas of Jesus Christ. He writes about how actions of people on earth affect their experiences in the after-life.


Markham, Edwin, 1852-1940


Edwin Markham Archive, Horrmann Library




Wagner College, Staten Island, NY


Please contact the Horrmann Library at Wagner College for rights to use this digital image.









Document Item Type Metadata


September 6, 1920
Dear Mary:
Your letters, all fillied with tender concern for me, reached my hand and thouched my heart. I understand your point of view. You think doubtless that my happiness depends upon my relation to some church, especially to the Catholic church. I do not hold this opinion. But I do hold that a man’s happiness here and hereafter depends upon his relation to life, including his relation to the Christ, the Lord of Life. I should have no hesitation in joining a church, if I could find one that is trying to embody in society the great social teachings of this Divine Man. I have carefully studied—read a thousand times—the words of this supreme Master, and I see clearly that it was his purpose to save men from their selfishness by building a new industrial order on the earth, an order in which men could live as consecrated comrades, living for one another instead of on one another. This is a glimpse of the Christian Socialism which Peter and the other apostles began to organize at Jerusalem, a socialism that was the living and necessary body for the Kingdom of Heaven, which the Hero of the Cross lived to reveal and died to vindicate. Turning to the 4th and 5th chapters of The Acts of the Apostles, we find that they began to form a church where “they had all things common”, and where they all sat at the common table of fraternity. In all this we find an indication of the purpose of the Divine Christ. In all this we see what a church would be if it embodied his teachings. A church should give man a complete salvation, should save his industrial life, his social life—in brief, it should transform society into a divine brotherhood. Instead of doing this, all churches are cold to the Social Christ. They strip him of his revolutionary fervor, of his revolutionary purpose. They never preach his Kingdom message, his social message, the mighty purpose that was the flame that infolded his heroic heart. Instead of this, they set forth for our worship a weak purposeless Christ, not the Christ of the New Testament, not the Christ who lashed the money-changers out of the Temple. So we reach the inevitable conclusion—all churches have fallen away from his social truth, all churches are apostate. May I tell you what I think are the Heavens that await you after death? They are the brotherhoods formed of the good men and women who have given up the self-life and have entered into the blessedness of unselfish service. These are the fraternities of the angels, and they will consist of noble souls who have gone up out of all churches and out of no churches. The Christ will welcome them all. This is the life, Mary, we must prepare ourselves to live and to rejoice in if we have any earnest desire to be happy in eternity. [Handwritten section begins] May all good be yours in this world and in the world to come. Your friend to the end!
Edwin Markham[Handwritten section ends]
I suggest, in all affection, that you take your testament and read most of it again in the light of the ideas in this letter.

Date Digital


Digitization Specifications

IBM ThinkCentre Intel Pentium 4 3.06GHz running Windows XP Professional Version 2 Service Pack 2; Epson Expression 10000XL scanner; Master Scanner Settings: 24-bit RGB, 400 dpi resolution; File Format: TIFF; Compression: none; Reference Images resized and converted with Adobe Photoshop CS2 version 9.0.2: 8-bit RGB; 400 ppi resolution; Compressed jpeg.


Markham, Edwin, 1852-1940 , “[Letter] 1920 September 6, West New Brighton, N.Y. [to] Mary,” Wagner College Digital Collections, accessed January 20, 2022, https://wagnercollections.omeka.net/items/show/5096.