Autobiographies often make fascinating reading, particularly if the one who writes is a living part of his age. In his latest volume, While It Is Day, D. Elton Trueblood relates vitally to our era. Born nineteen days before the turn of the century, he came from Quaker ancestry dating to the days of George Fox and has sought to project the ideals of his forebears into the twentieth century.
Trueblood spent his early years in Iowa, to which his grandfather had emigrated in the 1860s. His first personal trek reversed the direction of his ancestors and the usual movement of Quakers who customarily traveled westward. Elton Trueblood went eastward in 1922 and spent most of the following fourteen years on the east coast. There he studied, taught at the college level, and made the first of numerous trips to England.
His career expressed itself in expanding circles, guided largely by contacts with persons. In the years of preparation he had a penchant for seeking out “greats” as his mentors: Willard L. Sperry, George Foot Moore, Thomas Kelly, and Arthur O. Lovejoy, to name a few. From some of these he learned philosophy and theology. It was Willard L. Sperry (who has meant a great deal to me also) who by example and by referral helped impart to him his facility for writing. Our author says that Sperry urged him “to soak myself in the great models.”
There was a certain periodicity in Trueblood’s educational career. Study at Brown University and at Hartford Theological Seminary was balanced by pastoral service in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. Study at Harvard Divinity School was followed by teaching at Guilford College in North Carolina, after which came doctoral studies at Johns Hopkins University, from which ...1
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