An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Whittingham, William Rollinson

(Dec. 2, 1805-Oct. 17, 1879). Bishop and influential early catholic. He was born in New York City. Whittingham graduated from the General Theological Seminary in 1825 and became its librarian. He was ordained deacon on Mar. 11, 1827, and priest on Dec. 17, 1829. Whittingham began his ordained ministry as chaplain at the Charity School of Trinity Church, New York. From 1829 until 1830 he was rector of St. Mark's Church, Orange, New Jersey. From 1831 until 1835 he was rector of St. Luke's Church, New York. In 1835 he traveled in Europe for his health. From 1836 until 1840 he was professor of ecclesiastical history at General Seminary. He taught the principles of the high church party and insisted on the highest standards of scholarship. Whittingham was consecrated the fourth Bishop of Maryland on Sept. 17, 1840, and served in that capacity until his death. While he was bishop, he helped to found St. James' College in Hagerstown. He established an order of deaconesses, probably the first in the Episcopal Church. He also founded the Sisterhood of St. John in Washington. During the Civil War, he was a leading advocate for the Union cause. Whittingham published a number of scholarly books and had a library of over 17,000 volumes. He gave his library to the Diocese of Maryland. It became the nucleus of the Maryland Diocesan Library, one of the best diocesan libraries in the Episcopal Church. Whittingham upheld the doctrine of apostolic succession and the sacramental system of the church. He died in Orange, New Jersey.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.