[Congressional Record Volume 141, Number 20 (Wednesday, February 1, 1995)]
[Pages S1872-S1874]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                       DR. DAVID ELTON TRUEBLOOD

  Mr. LUGAR. Mr. President, this past Saturday, January 28, in 
Richmond, IN, 150 persons from around the world gathered at Earlham 
College's Stout Meetinghouse for a memorial service in honor of one of 
the 20th century America's most prominent religious leaders, Dr. David 
Elton Trueblood. Dr. Trueblood, professor-at-large emeritus at Earlham, 
died on December 20, 1994 at Lansdale, PA. He was 94 years of age.
  Dr. Trueblood was no stranger to the Senate. He first served as the 
guest chaplain of the Senate in August 1972. I was pleased to serve as 
the cosponsor, along with his former Earlham student, our late 
colleague Senator John East of North Carolina, for Dr. Trueblood's 
second visit with us as guest chaplain on the National Day of Prayer, 
May 3, 1984. In addition, Mr. President, Dr. Trueblood was a close and 
valued personal friend of long standing to our colleague, Senator Mark 
Hatfield. The two men first met as Stanford University in 1946, when 
Dr. Trueblood was serving as the chaplain of that great institution and 
Senator Hatfield was a young graduate student there.
  Although he was born on a small farm near Indianola, IA, in 1900, 
Elton Trueblood had deep Indiana roots. His Quaker ancestors left North 
Carolina, where they had settled in 1682, and moved to Washington 
County, IN, in 1815. The Truebloods were part of the great migration of 
antislavery Quakers from the slaveholding States of the South to the 
increasingly abolitionist States of the North in the decades before the 
Civil War.
  By the time that Dr. Trueblood joined Earlham's faculty as professor 
of philosophy in 1946, he had already established a distinguished 
academic career and a growing national reputation as a religious writer 
and speaker. After graduating from Iowa's William Penn College, he had 
earned the graduate degree of bachelor of systematic theology from 
Harvard University in 1926. He was awarded his doctor of philosophy 
degree from the Johns Hopkins University in 1934.
  It was during Dr. Trueblood's studies at Johns Hopkins University 
that his career in the academic and religious worlds began to intersect 
with the Nation's political life. While completing his doctorate at 
Johns Hopkins, Dr. Trueblood served as the clerk of the Baltimore 
yearly meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. Already in demand 
as a preacher, Dr. Trueblood was invited to deliver the sermon at a 
Quaker meeting in Washington, DC. In the congregation that day was the 
first Quaker to become President of the United States, Herbert Hoover. 
That first encounter led to a long friendship between the two men which 
culminated in Dr. Trueblood's delivery of the eulogy at President 
Hoover's funeral some 35 years later.
  After completing his doctoral studies at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Trueblood 
accepted teaching assignments at Guilford College, in North Carolina, 
and then at Haverford College, in Pennsylvania. After a temporary 
assignment as the acting chaplain of Harvard, Dr. Trueblood became the 
chaplain of Stanford University in 1936. He held a dual faculty 
appointment at Stanford as professor of philosophy.
  The friendship between Herbert Hoover and Elton Trueblood blossomed 
when Dr. Trueblood arrived at the Stanford campus, to which President 
Hoover had moved after he left the White House in 1933. When President 
Hoover died in 1964, the Hoover family called Dr. Trueblood back from a 
round-the-world cruise to conduct the memorial services for the former 
President in West Branch, IA. After flying back to the United States 
from Saigon, Dr. Trueblood delivered a stirring eulogy to the 31st 
President before the 75,000 persons gathered for the funeral services 
on a hillside overlooking the Hoover Library.
  When, in 1946, Dr. Trueblood received his offer to come to Earlham in 
Indiana, he faced a difficult decision. He enjoyed the prestige of a 
tenured full professorship at one of the Nation's leading universities. 
He was, as I noted, also Stanford's chaplain and the close friend and 
neighbor of former President Hoover. Yet Dr. Trueblood yearned for a 
smaller educational institution, for a return to his Quaker roots, and 
for greater freedom to pursue his writing and public speaking. And so, 
Mr. President, Dr. Trueblood accepted Earlham's offer, a decision about 
which he wrote in an article entitle ``Why I Chose a Small College'' 
for Reader's Digest.
  After his arrival at Earlham in 1946, Dr. Trueblood's career as a 
religious writer and speaker earned him growing national following. 
Several years later, he was invited to speak in Washington, DC, before 
a church congregation that included President Dwight Eisenhower. 
President Eisenhower later invited Dr. Trueblood to the Oval Office at 
the White House. Ultimately, President Eisenhower asked Dr. Trueblood 
to join his administration as the Director of Religious Information for 
the U.S. Information Agency.
  During the Eisenhower administration, Elton Trueblood developed a 
friendship with the young man who would be the second Quaker to become 
President of the United States. The young man was Vice President 
Richard Nixon. Dr. Trueblood and Vice President Nixon stayed in regular 
contact after Dr. Trueblood returned to Earlham and throughout Mr. 
Nixon's post-Vice-Presidential years in California and New York.
  After Mr. Nixon took office as President in 1969, he honored Dr. 
Trueblood by inviting him to speak at the Sunday 
[[Page S1873]]  religious services held regularly in the White House. 
When the 1972 Republican National Convention nominated him for a second 
term as
 President, Mr. Nixon turned to Elton Trueblood to give the invocation.

  As a man of character and faith, Dr. Trueblood believed deeply in 
loyalty to his friends. Throughout the ordeal of the Watergate scandal, 
Dr. Trueblood offered his friend, President Nixon, religious solace and 
advice in private. When, in August 1974, Mr. Nixon reached his decision 
to resign, the President called Dr. Trueblood at Earlham to tell him 
about the action that he finally had concluded that he must take.
  The author of three dozen books, Dr. Trueblood was a world renowned 
writer. Perhaps the book for which he is best known was published the 
same year in which President Nixon resigned. Bringing his deep 
appreciation for the nexus between the spiritual life and the world of 
politics to its most creative fruition, Dr. Trueblood published 
``Abraham Lincoln: Theologian of American Anguish.''
  Critically acclaimed, Dr. Trueblood's study of President Lincoln's 
religious life became a great inspiration to numerous political 
leaders. President Gerald Ford kept a copy in his Oval Office. First 
Lady Nancy Reagan spoke of being deeply moved by Dr. Trueblood's 
Lincoln book when she found it in the White House Library. I am proud 
to say, Mr. President, that Elton Trueblood's ``Abraham Lincoln'' 
graces my own bookshelf as well.
  After an extraordinary career, Dr. Trueblood ended 42 years of 
service to Earlham College and the Nation when he retired to 
Pennsylvania in 1988. Today, Mr. President, Elton Trueblood is back 
home again in Indiana. Following Saturday's memorial service at 
Earlham, his ashes were interred in the outer wall of his beloved 
Teague Library on the Earlham campus.
  Mr. President, another of Dr. Trueblood's former Earlham College 
students, Steven R. Valentine, served as a Deputy Assistant Attorney 
General in the Reagan and Bush administrations and is now the general 
counsel to our colleague, Senator Robert Smith of New Hampshire. Mr. 
Valentine traveled to Richmond, IN for the memorial services on January 
28. He remembers Dr. Trueblood ``as not only a man of extraordinary 
intellect, but as a person with a great heart. Elton Trueblood has a 
beautiful eternal soul,'' Mr. Valentine says, ``and as I think of him 
now, I recall his words of Shakespeare:''

     [A]nd, when he shall die,
     Take him and cut him out in little stars,
     And he will make the face of heaven so fine
     That all the world will be in love with night,
     And pay no worship to the garish sun.

   Mr. President, before he died, Elton Trueblood chose, as the 
convenor of his Quaker memorial service, another distinguished Indiana 
educator. Dr. Landrum Bolling, whom Dr. Trueblood brought to Earlham to 
teach political science, became the president of Earlham College in 
1958. He left Earlham in 1973 to become the president of Lilly 
Endowment in Indianapolis, IN, and later served as the chairman of the 
Council on Foundations.
  In connection with his service as the convenor of Dr. Trueblood's 
memorial service, Dr. Bolling wrote a short biographical sketch of 
Elton Trueblood, which was printed and distributed to all in 
attendance. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to print that 
biographical summary in the Record.
  There being no objection, the summary was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

       David Elton Trueblood--December 12, 1900-December 20, 1994

                        (By Landrum R. Bolling)

       Dr. David Elton Trueblood, author, educator, philosopher, 
     and theologian, endowed with special gifts and holder of many 
     honors, bestowed unnumbered blessings upon a numerious family 
     and countless friends. He leaves to all of us who knew him 
     and to multitudes who never met him a rich legacy of 
     spiritual insights, intellectual and ethical challenges, and 
     a vision of what communities of committed men and women, 
     faithful to God's guidance, may yet do to build a better 
       A lifelong member of the Society of Friends, Elton 
     Trueblood's teaching, speaking and writing influenced 
     directly the lives of many people in many faith communities 
     around the world. At Haverford, Guilford, Harvard, Stanford, 
     Mount Holyoke, and Earlham he inspired thousands of students 
     over half a century of spirited classroom teaching. His 
     thirty-three books, clearly and simply written, captivated 
     mass audiences rarely reached by words from academic pens.
       Elton's English Quaker ancestors settled on the coast of 
     North Carolina in 1682 at the site of the present town of 
     Elizabeth City. In 1815 a large group of Carolina Quakers, 
     including the Truebloods, emigrated to Washington County, 
     Indiana. In 1869 his grandfather and other members of the 
     family moved on to Warren County, Iowa. There, on a small 
     farm near Indianola, Elton was born on December 12, 1900, the 
     son of Samuel and Effie Trueblood.
       Molded by the close-knit Quaker community, hard work on the 
     family farm, encouragement from proud and supportive parents 
     and excellent teachers, Elton Trueblood developed bookish 
     interests and a strong student record. At William Penn 
     College, Oskaloosa, Iowa, he won high standing as scholar, 
     debater, and football player. After preliminary studies at 
     Brown University and Hartford Theological Seminary, he earned 
     the graduate degree of Bachelor of Systematic Theology at 
     Harvard in 1926. He received his Ph.D. degree in philosophy 
     from The John Hopkins University in 1934.
       His first teaching assignments were at two Friends 
     institutions: Guilford in North Carolina and Haverford in 
     Pennsylvania. In 1936, largely as the result of his handling 
     of a summer appointment as acting Chaplain of Harvard, he was 
     invited to become Chaplain of Stanford. Thus, he was given a 
     public platform and a visibility that drew him increasingly 
     into a national ministry. Former President Herbert Hoover and 
     his wife Lou Henry Hoover were close neighbors and friends 
     and often attended the Quaker Meeting for Worship held 
     monthly in the Trueblood home. (That friendship led to 
     Elton's conducting the funeral services for both of the 
     Hoovers, presiding over Mr. Hoover's public burial before a 
     crowd of 75,000 on a hillside overlooking the Hoover 
     presidential library and museum or West Branch, Iowa.)
       In 1945 Elton Trueblood felt a strong calling to extend his 
     public ministry through writing and speaking--and at the same 
     time to serve a small Quaker liberal arts institution. Thus, 
     he was prompted to leave his tenured full professorship at 
     Stanford to join the faculty of Earlham College in Richmond, 
     Indiana, as professor of philosophy. There he quickly became 
     a major asset in the rebuilding of the College after the 
     impoverishing years of World War II: helping in the 
     recruiting of both faculty and students, the shaping of new 
     educational policies, the raising of funds, and the promoting 
     of broader public appreciation of Earlham--and of hundreds of 
     other church-related and independent colleges. In a much-
     reprinted Reader's Digest article, ``Why I Chose a Small 
     College,'' he extolled these institutions as superior places 
     for undergraduate education, where teaching was emphasized 
     and where close faculty-student relations could be naturally 
       Although the teaching of undergraduates, in courses in both 
     philosophy and religion, remained at the center of his
      academic life at Earlham, his interest and influence were 
     crucial in the implementation of the risky and 
     controversial decision by the Earlham Board to establish 
     the graduate programs of an Earlham School of Religion. 
     Questions about the possibility of a Quaker seminary had 
     been debated for almost a century, but the idea had always 
     been discouraged as ``not feasible'' and rejected by some 
     Friends as ``thoroughly un-Quakerly.'' Meanwhile, Quaker 
     churches of the pastoral tradition seemed increasingly to 
     draw their ministers from the ranks of the clergy trained 
     in other denominations, or with little formal education in 
     religion, while the less numerous unprogrammed (or 
     ``silent'') Quaker Meetings and their related outreach 
     agencies tended to draw their leadership from among 
     Friends and non-Friends with no theological training. 
     Elton Trueblood was one of the few ``leading Quakers'' who 
     believed that this enterprise could and should be 
     undertaken. Happily, he lived to see the Earlham School of 
     Religion thriving and serving all branches of the Society 
     of Friends.
       Although he served on many committees of the Society of 
     Friends and was widely recognized as one of the most eminent 
     Quakers of the Twentieth Century, Elton Trueblood was very 
     much at home in a variety of other religious communities, was 
     a strong advocate of ecumenical activities, and was 
     considered by many Quakers and non-Quakers as not quite 
     fitting the popular stereotype of the ``liberal activist'' 
     Quaker. His generally strong pro-Republican political views, 
     his friendship with such prominent Republicans as Hoover, 
     Nixon, and Eisenhower, and his strong anti-communism caused 
     discomfort to some of the more strongly social-activist 
     segments of Friends. He did not like the popular stereotyping 
     of people as ``conservative'' and ``liberal,'' as he 
     considered these terms simplistic and divisive. He believed 
     the Society of Friends, though a small denomination, was big 
     enough for widely divergent points of view.
       He liked to say that the most important word in the 
     language is ``and.'' On many matters of controversy, he would 
     insist, ``we have to say both-and, not either-or.'' By word 
     and action he demonstrated what some saw as contradictory 
     beliefs and habits: liberal and conservative, traditional and 
     innovative, compassionate and tough-minded, generous and 
     demanding. He was the affirmation of these combinations as 
     being human, realistic, and honest.
       [[Page S1874]] From his abolitionist Quaker heritage and 
     his own sense of moral and religious imperatives, he drew 
     strength for vigorous opposition to racial discrimination. He 
     was an early friend and supporter of Dr. Martin Luther King, 
     Jr. At crucial points in the civil rights struggle he 
     appealed directly to Presidents Eisenhower and Nixon to hold 
     to strong stands for public policies to eliminate all forms 
     of racial discrimination and to advance equality in human 
       On another central Quaker testimony, pacifism, he was 
     forthright about the importance and complexity of the issue 
     as faced by those holding political power. He struggled 
     openly over the personal dilemma of how an individual or a 
     state can effectively confront challenges of violence and 
     tyranny. He wrote and spoke eloquently against war, for 
     international reconciliation, and in support of the rights of 
     conscience for objectors to military service, and for those 
     who chose military service. If a government does not 
     successfully practice peaceful relations with its neighbors, 
     then it will face a choice of evils in times of crisis. Thus, 
     reluctantly, he concluded during World War II that military 
     resistance to Hitler aggression was necessary.
       Avoiding simplistic admonitions for a ``back to the 
     church'' or ``back to the bible'' movement, he called for the 
     reinvigorating of religious faith as the essential force 
     necessary to sustain the ethical, moral, and social 
     principles on which a humane and livable society must be 
     built. He warned against what he called ``churchianity'' and 
     ``vague religiosity,'' but he also cautioned against the 
     overly optimistic expectations of secular social-reformism or 
     of a too-easy social gospel.
       His emphasis in his books and lectures on the importance of 
     family life was not theoretical but a reflection of his role 
     as husband and father. He and Pauline Goodenow, who met while 
     they were students at William Penn College, were married in 
     1924. They had three sons and one daughter: Martin, born in 
     1925; Arnold, born in 1930; Samuel in 1936; and Elizabeth in 
     1941. They knew him, throughout his life, as a loving and 
     devoted father who found ways to be available to them in 
     spite of his heavy work responsibilities and frequent 
     speaking trips. He consciously determined that his children 
     should not pay a heavy price for his public career.
       Tragedy struck the family in the fall of 1954 when it was 
     discovered that Pauline was suffering from an inoperable 
     brain tumor. The family was in the process of moving to 
     Washington, D.C. where Elton was beginning an assignment with 
     the U.S. Information Agency. Pauline had been a strong 
     support an inspiration, providing needed critisicm of his 
     writings and encouraging him to fulfill his opportunities for 
     national ministry--and managing a busy household in spite of 
     years of chronic illness. Pauline died in early 1955.
       Virginia Hodgin, a widow with two children, became Elton's 
     secretary at Earlham in 1950 and moved to Washington to 
     continue her work with him at the USIA. In September, 1956 
     Elton and Virginia were married at the Washington National 
     Cathedral, with both families in attendance. Virginia proved 
     to be a valuable partner as well as devoted wife. With her 
     help, he wrote and published 17 books in the next 18 years, 
     ending with his autobiography, While It Is Day, in 1974. 
     Virginia died in 1984.
       As a writer, Elton Trueblood developed a style that 
     emphasized clarity, conciseness, and simplicity. Among his 
     literary mentors, of whom he spoke with the greatest sense of 
     admiration and debt, he always listed Blaise Pascal, Dr. 
     Samuel Johnson, Abraham Lincoln, and C.S. Lewis. He was 
     grateful for their skill in treating serious subjects with 
     ample use of aphorisms, anecdotes, and humor. He also liked 
     to paraphrase Mark Twain on how to get started with your 
     writing by saying you simply had ``to glue your trousers to 
     your chair and pick up your pen without waiting for 
       To many who knew him, Elton was an almost awesome figure 
     because of his self-discipline. To his editors at Harper and 
     Row, he was a delight to work with, always turning in clean 
     copy that required little editing, was delivered on or before 
     his promised deadline, and was sure to appeal to a diverse 
     and numerous audience. During his most productive years, he 
     rigorously divided his day into periods of meditation, 
     exercise, writing, and family life. Most of his books he 
     wrote in a small cabin at the family summer home in the 
     Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania during the summer break in 
     the academic year. He would contract to deliver his 
     manuscript in early September, and begin writing on the 
     Monday after the Fourth of July. He wrote between eight in 
     the morning and noon, Monday through Friday, in longhand on a 
     yellow pad. He never got personally involved with typewriters 
     or computers!
       Although his earlier books were of the longer academic 
     type, he came to feel that any book with a serious public 
     message, with any hope of impact on its readers, should be 
     limited to 130 pages. He generally followed his own 
       Likewise, in his public speaking, he believed in being 
     brief and to the point. His sermons and popular lectures were 
     rarely more than twenty minutes, thirty at the outside. In 
     classroom lectures he filled the required fifty minutes, 
     often without a note, and ended exactly at the bell. His 
     popularity as a public speaker was such that he could easily 
     have devoted all his working time to the well-paying lecture 
     circuit. Instead, he limited his speaking engagements to 
     those audiences he wanted to reach or help, saving most of 
     his time and energies for teaching and his family. He spoke 
     without fee for those who could not afford to pay, but 
     charged a standard amount for those who could.
       Although he led a very busy and highly productive life, 
     countless individuals from all walks of the life remember 
     Elton Trueblood with deep gratitude for time he spent in 
     private conversation with them, hearing their problems, their 
     hopes and their dreams--and giving advice. He had 
     extraordinary gifts in encouraging others to believe in their 
     potential and to develop the discipline to use their gifts 
     fully. He was a living example of the good advice he gave to