Clifford Webster Barnes

National Cyclopedia of American Biography

BARNES, Clifford Webster, clergyman and sociologist, was born in Corry, Pa., Oct. 8, 1864, son of Joseph and Anna (Webster) Barnes. His father was a merchant. Clifford W. Barnes was a student at the University of California before going to Yale University, where he was graduated Α.B. in 1889 and B.D. in 1892. He received an M.Α. degree at the University of Chicago in 1893 and was a student at Oxford University, England, in 1898. After serving as an assistant pastor in New York city and in Chicago, Ill., he became the first male resident worker at Hull House Social Settlement, Chicago, in 1893. A year later he became pastor of the Sedgwick Street Congregational Church, Chicago, and subsequently he was pastor of Christ Chapel, Presbyterian, also in Chicago, until 1898. On completing his studies at Oxford University in 1898, he went to Paris, France, where he worked with English-speaking students in the Latin quarter and started a non-sectarian religious service. While in Paris he was also acting president of the American Art Association in 1898-99. He then returned to Chicago, where he was instructor in sociology and director of university settlement work at the University of Chicago for one year. He was appointed president and professor of sociology at Illinois College, Jacksonville, Ill., in 1900 and for the next five years of his association with the college devoted untiring effort to rebuilding the faculty and increasing the prestige of the board of trustees. Following his resignation from the college in 1905, he thereafter until his death dedicated himself to the service of manifold movements for the moral and religious advancement of society. He had served in 1903-04 as general secretary of the Religious Education Association of America and in 1905 went to Europe for the society to investigate moral and religious training in European schools. He was appointed honorary secretary and chairman of the executive committee of the International Commission on Moral Training in 1907 and served in that capacity until the close of his life. He held many other posts of responsibility connected with church and religious work. In 1927 he was a delegate to the World Conference on Faith and Order held in Lausanne, Switzerland, and in 1931 he was a delegate to the triennial international meeting held in Cambridge, England, of the World Alliance for International Friendship. At the time of his death he was a vice-president of the latter organization, a member of the advisory committee of the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America, and a member of the Executive Committee of 1000. In Chicago, he founded in 1893 the Chicago Sunday Evening Club, a non-sectarian religious institution, of which he was president until the close of his life. The programs of the Chicago Sunday Evening Club met with immediate acceptance, the first program attracting 800 persons. In later years the attendance averaged 2500, and the programs were carried by radio to an audience extending from Labrador to the West Indies. During 1925-27 he was president of the Chicago Church Federation. Barnes was also prominently identified with many of Chicago's civic movements. He was a founder in 1908 of the Committee of Fifteen, which in ensuing years was effective in combating the white-slave traffic in Chicago. He served the committee as president during 1908-16 and again from 1935 to 1939, as a member of the executive committee in 1909, and as chairman of the board from 1939 to the end of his life. A founder in 1916 and thereafter chairman for many years of the Chicago Community Trust, he was influential in acquiring for the trust more than $10,000,000 in endowment fur welfare and educational activities in Chicago. From 1907 to 1924 he was chairman of the executive committee and from 1909 to 1924 president of the Legislative Voters League. He was vice-president and a member of the executive and budget committees of the Joint Emergency Relief Committee during 1931-34, a member of the Chicago Planning Committee in 1936, and a member of the Chicago Recreation Committee in 1937. At the time of his death he was vice-president of the Chicago Community Fund, a director of the Chicago Council of Social Agencies, a trustee of the Chicago YWCA, and a member of the corporation of Lake Forest Academy. He was also for a number of years a trustee of the Estate of Simon Reid. During the First World War he was president of the War Recreation Board of Illinois and of the War Camp Community Service, Chicago, and a member of the Navy Commission on Training Camp Activities. He also served as departmental commissioner of the American Red Cross Commission to Greece, with the rank of major, and for his services in that capacity the Greek government awarded him the Medal of Military Merit with palm in 1918 and made him a knight of the Order of the Golden Cross in 1919. Honorary LL.D. degrees were conferred upon him by Lake Forest University in 1913 and by Illinois College in 1925. Barnes was a member of the Grenfell Association, the International Chamber of Commerce, Chicago Association of Commerce, and the University, City, and Union League clubs of Chicago, Onwentsia Club of Lake Forest, Ill., Yale Club of New York city, and the Annandale Country Club of Pasadena, Calif. His religious affiliation was with the Presbyterian church. Politically he was a Republican. Playing golf and sailing were his recreational interests, and for over twenty years he had a summer home in Northeast Harbor, Maine, where he kept a sloop and spent much of his time on the water. Barnes was married in Lake Forest, Ill., May 5, 1898, to Alice, daughter of Simon Summerville Reid of that place, a merchant, and had two children, Summerville Reid (died in childhood) and Lilace Reid. Clifford W. Barnes died in Lake Forest, Ill., Sept. 18, 1944.


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