The Stained Glass Windows of First Parish in Brookline -- A Guide
In the first section, windows are listed clockwise, beginning with the chancel. In the second section, windows are listed chronologically and described more fully. This Guide was prepared in 1999 by Francis G. Hutchins.
A Brief, Clockwise Tour
Ministerial Memorial Windows: Seven windows honoring the first seven ministers of the church. Made by Louis Comfort Tiffany, New York, 1895.
Fletcher Memorial Window. Donated by Frederick C. Fletcher in memory of his wife Selina Huntington Jarvie Fletcher. Clerestory window made by Charles Connick (Boston), 1945.
Weld Memorial Window Angel of Peace. Donated by Mrs. William Fletcher Weld, in memory of her husband. Central panel made by Clayton and Bell(London, England). Installed 1896. Side panels made by Redding, Baird & Company (Boston), 1905.
Goddard Memorial Window, honoring John Goddard and Hannah Goddard. Donated by a number of their descendants. Made by Heinigke and Bowen (New York). Installed 1912.
Kay Memorial Window, honoring James Murray Kay and Mary Prentiss Kay. Donated by their daughter Mrs. H.R. Burgess. Made by Charles Connick (Boston), 1932.
Sweetser Memorial Window. The Nativity of Jesus. Donated by Mrs. Frank E. [Susan Jameson] Sweetser as a memorial to her husband. Made by Frederick Wilson of Louis C. Tiffany Studios (New York), 1906.
Moller Memorial Window. The Angel Gabriel. Donated by Kenneth Moller in memory of his wife, Elizabeth Sweetser Moller (1884-1918). Made and signed by Louis C. Tiffany (New York), 1920.
World War One Memorial Rose Window. Made by Reynolds, Francis and Rohnstock (Boston), 1924.
Francis Memorial Window. Saint Agatha. Donated by the sons of Dr. Tappan Eustis Francis, in his honor. Made by William J. MacPherson (Boston), c. 1880.
Comstock Memorial Window. Jesus and the Children. Donated by William O. Comstock, William O. Comstock, Jr. and Mrs. Wallace O. Fenn, respectively the widower, son and daughter of Madeleine Bryce Comstock (1856-1928) in her honor. Made by Reynolds, Francis and Rohnstock (Boston), 1930.
Dana Memorial Window. Donated by Payson Dana in memory of his parents, Emma Jane Dana and Frank William Dana, and his brother Jesse Wright Dana. Made by George W. Spence (Boston), 1924.
Williams Memorial Window. Sir Galahad and the Holy Grail. Donated by Arthur Williams and Elizabeth Whitney Williams in honor of their son Lieutenant Robert Williams, whose death during World War One was also later commemorated in the World War One Memorial Rose Window. Made by the studio of Harry E. Goodhue (Boston), 1920.
Train Memorial Window. Dorcas. Donated by Steven Glover Train in memory of his mother Frances Gore Glover Train. Made by Redding, Baird & Company (Boston), 1902.
Lowell Memorial Window. Central panel donated by Judge John Lowell and Lucy Buckminster Lowell in memory of their three deceased children. Made by Sarah Wyman Whitman (Boston), 1899. Side panels donated by Mrs. Lowell in memory of her husband. Made by Sarah Wyman Whitman (Boston), 1902. The glass in the openings above was donated by Sarah Wyman Whitman in honor of Mrs. Lowell.
Fletcher Memorial Window. Lamb of God. Donated by Frederick C. Fletcher in memory of his wife Selina Huntington Jarvie Fletcher. Clerestory window made by Charles Connick (Boston), 1945.
The Windows in Chronological Sequence
FRANCIS MEMORIAL WINDOW. Saint Agatha. Made by William J. MacPherson (Boston), c. 1880. The oldest stained glass at First Parish, in fact the only stained glass at First Parish older than the present 1893 building, was given to First Parish in the spring of 1922 by Doctors George H. and Carlton S. Francis, in memory of their father Dr. Tappan Eustis Francis (1823-1909). According to his sons, when he built his new home at 35 Davis Avenue, Brookline, in 1880, Dr. Francis selected this window from a book of illustrations of European stained glass, and commissioned William J. MacPherson of 440-448 Tremont Street, Boston, to make a reproduction of it for him to hang above a bookcase in his office. The window bears the legend “Agatha Virgo et Mart” (Agatha, Virgin and Martyr). Prior to being installed in First Parish, the panel was “remodeled” and perhaps cut down by Alfred M. Bell Company into a memorial for Dr. Francis.
MINISTERIAL MEMORIAL WINDOWS. Made by Louis Comfort Tiffany (New York), 1895.
The present building of First Parish (its fourth), was designed by Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge, and dedicated on April 10, 1893. When newly built, all the sanctuary windows probably had glass similar to that in the four clerestory windows that have not been converted to stained glass. On November 25, 1894, the minister, Howard Brown, reported to the Parish Committee “that he had some subscriptions and promises for funds to put three memorial windows in the chancel...to...three former pastors...Dr. Hedge, Dr. Pierce and Mr. Knapp.” On the same day, Mrs. William Fletcher Weld, whose husband had died on June 8, 1893, at age thirty-eight, proposed in association with her husband’s brother, Dr. Charles G. Weld, placing “a memorial window to W.F. Weld in the middle section of the large window in the South Transept of the Church.” Prior to addressing these particular proposals, the Parish Committee discussed the “subject of memorial windows in the Church...at some length” and finally voted that the Parish Committee is in favor of the policy or plan of having memorial or decorative windows placed in the Church and that all designs for such windows shall be submitted to the Parish Committee for their examination and approval before acceptance.
The Parish Committee also voted to accept both specific proposals before it, and “Mr. Brown was authorized to get designs if he could do so without expense or committing the Parish to any plans.” Mrs. William F. Weld and Dr. Charles G. Weld were similarly told that a preliminary sketch of the Weld window should “be submitted to the Parish Committee for their examination and approval.” (Parish Committee Records, hereafter PCR, 10/25/1894.)
Reverend Brown's plan for three windows honoring three pastors was quickly enlarged to a plan honoring First Parish's first seven ministers. The designer selected, Louis Comfort Tiffany of New York (1848-1933), may himself have recommended this because it offered an opportunity for a coordinated set embracing all seven chancel windows.
Between November 25, 1894, and March 17, 1895, “informal meetings” took place “to discuss and consider certain designs provided by Tiffany and others for stained glass windows.” (PCR, 3/17/1895.) Sadly no preliminary designs, contracts or records of payments are in First Parish's files for these or any other windows; finances and negotiations were handled by donors.
The window honoring James Allen, minister from 1718 to 1747, features a crown and the words, "I am the resurrection and the life." Cotton Brown, minister from 1748 to 1751, is commemorated by a window with a helmet and breastplate, and these words of St. Paul “Putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet, the hope of salvation.” The window dedicated to Nathaniel Potter, minister from 1755 to 1759, contains a shield, sword and Bible and the words, “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” Joseph Jackson, minister from 1760 to 1796, is honored by a window with the star of Bethlehem and the words, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.” The central window honors John Pierce, minister from 1797 to 1849, and depicts a cross and grapevine, along with the words, “I am the true vine, you are the branches.” Frederic Knapp, minister from 1847 to 1855, is memorialized by a window with a seven-branch candlestick and the words, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.” The window honoring Frederic Hedge, minister from 1855 to 1872, portrays a lamp and bears the words, “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever.” These seven windows are coordinated to achieve an ensemble effect; moving inward from both sides, hues gradually lighten, culminating in the Pierce window's heavily bejeweled white cross. Originally all windows were on the same level, which would have underscored this interlinked coherence.
WELD MEMORIAL WINDOW. Central panel made by Clayton and Bell (London, England), 1895.
On June 21, 1895, a sketch of the proposed Weld window was approved by the Parish Committee, and on March 30, 1896, the completed window was accepted. (PCR, March 30, 1896) The maker was a prominent London firm, Clayton and Bell, which had by then supplied numerous impressive windows to Boston-area churches, for example the chancel windows at Trinity Church, Boston. The Brookline Chronicle praised the elegance of Clayton and Bel’'s window, noting its fine angel figure of heroic proportions; and the lower section shows a bark sailing over the sea in the warm light of a sunset. Gold, amber, green and red hues are harmonized in this rich effect. Elaborate borders and rich ornamental accessories range from pale emerald and olive green tones to soft ambers, golds, etc. (5/13/1905)
This splendidly painted window is the only stained glass at First Parish not designed and crafted in the United States. (Regarding the side panels of the Weld window, see below.)
LOWELL MEMORIAL WINDOW. Made by Sarah Wyman Whitman (Boston), 1899 and 1902.
The Lowell Memorial Window in the north transept was installed in two sections, in 1899 and 1902. A gift of Judge John Lowell and his wife Lucy Buckminster Lowell, the window's central panel, installed in 1899, was presented in memory of their three deceased children. It bears the inscription, “In memory of Olivia Buckminster, Mary Lothrop and George Emerson, children of John and Lucy Buckminster Lowell.” Below are the words “Blessed are the pure in heart.” (Matt. 5:8) Birth and death dates are given in Roman numerals. Olivia Buckminster Lowell (MDCCCLIV-MDCCCLXX, 1854-1870) died at sixteen, Mary Lothrop Lowell (MDCCCLVIII-MDCCCLXXXII, 1858-1882) died at twenty-four, George Emerson Lowell (MDCCCLXII-MDCCCLXXXIV, 1862-1884) died at twenty-two.
Lowell's gift was announced shortly before Judge Lowell’s own death on May 14, 1897. Both donors had been prominent and active in First Parish for decades. A resolution adopted by the Parish Committee following Judge Lowell's death affirmed that.
For about thirty years he was a constant attendant on the services of this Church and for a large part of the time was a member of the Parish Committee, only last month declining reelection on account of failing health....His almost constant presence at the services on Sunday with his cheery smile and greeting seemed to diffuse through the congregation an influence for good, as effective in its way as any part of the service. (PCR 167)
In a letter dated April 17, 1931, the Lowells' surviving child Miss Lucy Lowell recalled that: The central panel was given by my father and mother and, as he died in 1897, it must have been before that date. The other two panels were ordered by my mother, but, before they were finished, she had serious financial losses and the two panels were paid for, out of affection for my father, by his brother's children - Percival Lowell, President Abbot Lawrence Lowell of Harvard College, Mrs. Bowlker, Mrs. William Lowell Putnam and Miss Amy Lowell. The colored glass at the top of the window was given by Mrs. Whitman herself, out of affection for my mother.
Miss Lowell was no doubt correct with respect to the dates at which the memorial donations were made. The central panel was however not unveiled until 1899, two years after the death of Judge Lowell. The Annual Report of the Minister William Lyon states, “At Easter the window set in the north transept by Mrs. John Lowell in memory of her three children was seen for the first time.” And the Brookline Chronicle of April 1, 1899, reported the unveiling of “a very beautiful example of stained-glass creative work... designed by Mrs. Whitman of ” The two side panels honoring Judge Lowell were unveiled at Easter of 1902. The left panel bears the inscription, “In memory of John Lowell, born in Boston October 18, 1824. Died in Newton May 14, 1897.” The right panel reads, “Appointed Judge in the United States District Court of Massachusetts 1865; Circuit Court of the United States 1st Circuit 1878; resigned 1884.” The Treasurer's Report dated April 7, 1902, observed that "they carry out with great beauty and harmony the design and tone of the memorial window placed there by her three years ago.” (p.239) And the Brookline Chronicle of March 15, 1902 reported that
The beautiful window to the memory of Judge John Lowell and his departed children, which Mrs. Lowell has placed in the north transept of the First Parish Church, is now completed, and will be seen for the first time next Sunday. It is the work of Mrs. Henry Whitman, whose windows in the Harvard Memorial Hall are so much praised, and consists of three bays. The middle one, which was planned before Judge Lowell's death, commemorates the three children who died some years ago. The two outer divisions, which, as it were, hold and protect the other, are of simpler design, being of opal glass divided by rich columns, holding four symbolic pictures in outline, and having at their bases the inscriptions, “Mark the perfect man and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace,”[Psalms 37:37] and “What doth the Lord require of thee but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” [Micah 6:8] The top of the window, which is in nine parts, is of great richness, being composed of deep colors glorified with heavy jewel work. The window is a most fitting memorial of one who was honored wherever he was known, and who was a most enthusiastic member of the Parish, as well as prominent in the work of building the new meeting-house, in which his memory is now perpetuated.
It appears that the procedures adopted by the Parish Committee in 1894 and scrupulously followed in 1895 and 1896 may not have been observed for the Lowell window. No record exists of a formal offer, or of its acceptance, or of design review.
TRAIN MEMORIAL WINDOW. Dorcas. Made by Redding, Baird & Company (Boston), 1902.
Like the Lowell Memorial Window, the Train Memorial Window was created without Parish Committee supervision. And this time controversy developed about whether to accept the finished product. The Brookline Chronicle of November 8, 1902, reported that
The memorial window in memory of Frances Gore Glover Train has been completed by Redding, Baird & Co., and is about to be placed in the First Parish Church. The window has already excited the admiration of those who have been privileged to view it, and is considered by Mr. Baird to be his best undertaking of the past year. The selection of the subject, “Dorcas,” is most happy, and is treated from the familiar text in Acts, “This woman was full of good works and alms-deeds which she did.” A woman and seven children are the figures, and the effect at individuality in the different characters has been most successful. The coloring is especially noteworthy. One figure is represented with Titian hair, a hue particularly difficult to obtain in glass work. In none of the figures are the colors duplicated. The mother wears a dress of golden amber; her underskirt is of a beautiful bronze green, made particularly effective by the contrasting overskirt of pure white. About her are seven children clad in striking hues. In the garments of one an effect of ruby has been obtained by the use of oxide of gold and the arrangement of the draperies has been enhanced by varying layers of glass, which in some places is over an inch thick. The flesh tints are especially satisfying, and the delicate lines of the forms have been executed with admirable skill. In the background of the picture is a sunset effect, admirably rendered, above which a mass of foliage is represented, in which all of the different shades of green are employed. Separating the picture from the inscription at its base is a row of studded jewels of varying density which tend to increase the effect of beauty by contrasting hues. Surmounting the design is a mass of Easter lilies which give a particularly beautiful and complete effect to the window.
This article describing in elaborate, even technical detail how wonderful the window was sounds remarkably like an advertisement of a window offered for sale, and could well have been based on one. Indeed the article may have formed part of a publicity campaign by Steven Glover Train to pressure First Parish into accepting Redding, Baird’s already completed window. Two weeks after the Chronicle article—describing the window sitting in the maker's studio as destined for First Parish—at a meeting of the Parish Committee on November 25, 1902, “A letter was read from Mr. Train offering the memorial window for his mother to the Parish.” Moreover, the Parish Committee then requested “the secretary...to acknowledge its [i.e., the letter's] receipt.” (PRC 11/25/1902) Rather than accept Train's gift of this already finished window, the Committee instead “Voted, that anyone having memorials to present to the Parish, be requested to confer with the Parish Committee in reference to designs etc. before taking definite action.”
The Parish Committee in other words declined to act immediately on Train’s request, and deplored his unilateral conduct. In the case of every other First Parish window installed before or after the Train window, the gift in principle of a window was made first, then a designer was commissioned to create a window for a designated space. The Train window may have been created as a studio showpiece to demonstrate the capabilities of the Redding Baird company. After coming to the admiring attention of Stephen Glover Train, it may then have been adapted to fit into a First Parish window, with the stylistically unrelated Easter lilies supplied to fill in the spaces above the main window. It is even possible that this portrayal of Dorcas was originally a single rectangular panel, because there is no surrounding border indicating site-specific design.
Questions raised by the skeptical Parish Committee as they delayed deciding whether or not to accept Train's embarrassingly public offer of an extant window included whether Redding, Baird's multi-layered, one-inch-thick tour-de-force would hold up as a window, a question perhaps reflecting Dorcas’s origin as something other than a First Parish window. In deference to this concern, when the window was finally accepted, Train accompanied his gift with a three year insurance policy against collapse. Aesthetic questions were probably also raised, though not so loudly as they would be later, when tastes changed.
Resistance however seems to have been occasioned more by Train's procedure than by any feature of the window itself, which was installed by April of 1903 not where it is today but in a much more prominent location, “in the most easterly window on the southern side of the nave” where the Kay window is now. (Treasurer's Report, 253) The Train window was for a few years the only stained glass in any of the eight sanctuary windows of intermediate size.
WELD MEMORIAL WINDOW. Side panels made by Redding, Baird & Company (Boston), 1905.
The controversy regarding the Train window in 1902-3 did not prevent its makers, Boston’s Redding, Baird & Company, from being awarded First Parish's next stained glass commission, though this time with a stern warning that procedures must be observed. This commission was for a quite different project: non-pictorial decorative panels for the Weld window’s two side panels, to be paid for by the Weld family. At a Parish Committee meeting on April 2, 1905, “Designs...were presented,” and it was “Voted to ask Messrs. Shepley Rutan and Coolidge to act for the Committee in examining and passing upon the designs.” (PCR) On April 24, 1905, Dr. Weld reported that Mr. Coolidge had visited the Redding, Baird studios and examined the proposed design and “had no objection to offer.”
Redding, Baird’s challenge in this instance was to complement suitably the Weld window’s English-made center panel. The result was greatly admired by the Brookline Chronicle, which noted on May 13, 1905, the several obstacles for the firm to surmount in matching the central panel, these being to match the glass of foreign manufacture and to execute the design in infinite detail as is customary with the English stained glass worker and which is contrary to the American style. The...result is most creditable to Redding, Baird & Company's studios....The two side panels show a superb scheme of ornament in full accord with the central panel. From the base upward, the amber tones are shaded gradually until they emerge at the top in a beautiful atmospheric blue. Small accents in pearl and golden brown tones enrich the panelled field. At the centre is a handsome wreath in varied greens. A torch passes through the wreath, with ruby flame and orange tints. Rays of golden light radiate from the flame. The base section of each panel has a scheme of great elegance consisting of repeating lily designs. Above the three lower openings the various openings in quatrefoil, octagonal rosette, and segmental forms are filled by a solid mass of luminous jewels of sky blue color, gradually shaded as they go upwards to the deepest intensity at the top. The larger rosette space is finely accented by the introduction of a large Gothic cross of ruby nugget jewel, making a magnificent effect of color. Thousands of jewels were required to carry out this work, and the finished window as it now stands represents a complete harmony of color and a wealth of ornamental detail that reflect great credit upon the makers as also upon the artistic taste of Mrs. Weld.
Not noted here is that Redding, Baird presumably also had in mind the lozenge forms in Sarah Whitman's Lowell window opposite. Nor did everyone agree with the Chronicle that the side lancets were entirely compatible with the central panel; on April 5, 1906, the Parish Committee voted to “ascertain the cost of putting ground glass behind the side panels of the Weld window...with a view to diminishing the glare.” Light-diffusing glass was in fact installed on the exterior.
SWEETSER MEMORIAL WINDOW. The Nativity of Jesus. Made by Louis C. Tiffany (New York), 1906.
The Tiffany Studios had meanwhile been asked to prepare preliminary designs for a window “to be placed in the nave, north side, nearest the wing, by Mrs. Frank E. [Susan Jameson] Sweetser” as a memorial to her husband. (PCR) This is not the current location of the window, though when proposed the plan was logical, since the Train window would have been opposite, resulting in balance. On April 24, 1905, the Parish Committee voted that “when the design...is submitted to the Parish Committee, the Chairman and Mrs. Higginson consult with the architects, Messrs. Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge with power to accept the design.” The Sweetser window was installed by April of 1906, probably where it now is, in the center on the south side of the nave, since on March 10, 1912, the minister, William Lyon, mentioned that only one window without stained glass was “still left on the sunny side of this meeting-house.” (William Lyon, John and Hannah Goddard, Brookline, 1912.)
In a letter to First Parish, Tiffany Studios identified this window's designer as Frederick Wilson. Charles Connick later described Wilson with respect and affection:
Frederick Wilson had a great reputation among glassmen, for he was warm-hearted and friendly, and his talent as a cartoonist for picture windows far outshone that of any other opalescent windowman, with the single exception of John La Farge....came to this country from England--a comparatively young man. His English training had given him an amazing facility for drawing the human figure in life-like fashion, and this ability was promptly gobbled up by the art-glass industry of America.
A most interesting story could be told about the life of this gifted, sweet-spirited man. He was a maker of pictures in glass that were directly comparable to the best picture windows of La Farge insofar as composition, deft drawing and subtle coloring were concerned. Much of his time was spent with the Tiffany Studios, New York, and his skillful suave style of life-like drawing and painting may be found in Tiffany windows throughout the country. He went to California some years ago and was associated with the developing craft there. He left a host of friends in California and throughout the country when he died on March 24, 1932. (Connick Adventures in Light and Color 400)
GODDARD MEMORIAL WINDOW. Made by Heinigke and Bowen (New York), 1911.
As with the chancel windows honoring First Parish's first seven ministers, the idea of a memorial to John Goddard (1730-1816) and Hannah Goddard (1735-1821) originated with the minister. On November 12, 1905, in the midst of celebrations of Brookline's town bicentennial, Reverend William Lyon declared that “John Goddard and Hannah, his remarkable wife, ought to have a memorial window in this church.” (William Lyon, John and Hannah Goddard, Brookline, 1912) Thus stirred into action, George A. Goddard wrote to the Parish Committee on February 21, 1906, announcing his family's desire to donate the requested window. Family members contributing to the Goddard window included George Goddard, Julia Goddard, Eliza T. Watson, Joseph Warren Goddard, Mary L. Watson Wright, E. Charlton L. Goddard, Jane N. Grew, Henrietta G. Fitz, George Wigglesworth, Caroline W. Fuller, Rebecca W. Walker, Henry G. Pickering (these last two honoring Frances G. Pickering) Georgiana G. Eaton, Francis S. Eaton, Alice B. Gould, Benjamin A. Gould, Mary Q. Thorndike and Mary G. Hopkins.
George Goddard promised in his 1906 letter that “A design for the window will be submitted later, as we understand you require.” The Parish Committee quickly voted to accept the proposal, with the proviso that "both the design and the window itself" were to be scrutinized. On October 2, 1910, a sketch was approved by the Parish Committee, which this time requested the advice of “Miss Mabel Harlow who had charge of redecorating the church at the time of the  fire.” (A fire on November 3, 1906, which destroyed the Parish House, had also resulted in smoke and water damage to the organ and furnishings of the sanctuary.) The completed Goddard window was accepted by the Parish Committee on November 12, 1911, and the window's March 10, 1912, dedication is described in the Brookline Chronicle of March 16, 1912:
The window placed in the south transept of the First Parish Church was dedicated last Sunday. Many members of the Goddard family and its wide connections were present and a large number of the congregation remained after the service to look at the window more closely.
The initial sketch for the window was prepared by the Boston painter George H. Hallowell (1871-1926). The maker was Otto Heinigke (1850-1915), head of the New York firm Heinigke and Bowen.
WILLIAMS MEMORIAL WINDOW. Sir Galahad and the Holy Grail. Made by the Workshop of Harry E. Goodhue (Boston), 1920.
The 1920 Williams window was given by Elizabeth Whitney Williams of High Street to honor her son Lieutenant Robert Williams, whose death during World War One was also later commemorated in the World War One Memorial Rose Window. Dedicated on Palm Sunday in 1920 (Brookline Chronicle, 4/3/1920), the window contains the words, “Robert Williams, March 28, 1889-September 30, 1917. First Lieutenant Cavalry R.C. Adjutant 302nd MGBN [Machine Gun Battalion] Army of the United States.” The gift honoring Lieutenant Williams was probably promised in late 1917 or 1918 by both Mrs. Williams and her husband Arthur Williams, who died in 1919 prior to the completion of the window. Though the window remained officially a memorial to Lieutenant Williams, Mrs. Williams added the name of her husband Arthur Williams to the window following his death. The death in 1918 of the window's designer Harry Eldredge Goodhue must have also contributed to delay in the window’s completion.
In First Parish records, the maker is recorded as “Mrs. Harry E. Goodhue” but it seems doubtful that she had more than administrative responsibility for delivery of her husband's window. The Williams window is in the English neo-medieval style associated with Harry Eldredge Goodhue, and exemplifies his preference for strong basic colors such as red and yellow gold. (A window indisputably designed by Harry Eldredge Goodhue, the 1896 Adoration, can be seen at All Saints, Ashmont.) There is moreover no evidence that Mrs. Harry Eldredge Goodhue, wife of one well-known stained glass designer and mother of another (Harry Wright Goodhue), was ever herself a designer of stained glass windows. It seems most probable therefore that the Williams window was designed by Harry E. Goodhue and completed in his workshop under the supervision of his widow. In addition to Wright Goodhue, Charles Connick lists Wilbur Herbert Burnham, Joseph G. Reynolds, Jr., Knute Svendsen and Walter G. Ball as among the accomplished workers in glass who served apprenticeships in the elder Goodhue’s Cambridge shop. One of these, Reynolds, went on to found his own firm (Reynolds, Francis and Rohnstock) which later contributed two windows to First Parish. (See below.) Harry E. Goodhue presumably received the commission to design the Williams window shortly before his death in 1918. Mrs. Goodhue then probably completed the commission, drawing on the skills of her husband’s apprentices and/or her teen-age son, Harry Wright Goodhue (1905-1932).
The Williams window shows Sir Galahad in chain mail armor about to enter a boat in quest of the Holy Grail. Beyond the water, he sees an angel approaching who bears the Holy Grail. This represents the fact that he died prior to setting sail in search of the Holy Grail (alluding to the fact that Williams prepared for war service in Europe but never left the United States but was nonetheless given the Holy Grail by the angel in recognition of his virtuous life and purpose.
The glass in the openings above the main window also have much significance. The violin, music and books on the left indicate favorite activities of Lt. Williams, and the boat depicted on the right was based on one of Lt. Williams' own early drawings. In the center above are a shield and sword and a gold star indicative of a sacrificed life. The circular border of a belt and spurs bears the words “Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life.”
When the donor Elizabeth Whitney Williams died in 1944, Charles Connick added the date of her death to the window, at the request of her daughter Mrs. Samuel Mixter, 209 Sargent Road, Brookline (Connick Office Records, Fine Arts Department, Boston Public Library, hereafter BPL).
MOLLER MEMORIAL WINDOW. The Angel Gabriel. Made by Louis Comfort Tiffany (New York), 1920.
Donated by Kenneth Moller in memory of his wife, Elizabeth Sweetser Moller (1884-1918), this window was described by the Brookline Chronicle on November 27, 1920, as follows:
In the panel at the left is the figure of a woman reverently kneeling before...the angel, Gabriel...in the right panel... his right arm raised in recognition, while the left bears his emblem, the trumpet. The kneeling figure is in the act of drawing a veil away from her face, symbolizing the withdrawal of the veil of the flesh before standing face to face with the power of God. Rays of light fall from a brilliant sky upon the upturned face of the kneeling figure and upon the powerful figure of the angel, spreading a radiance of light over both.
This window is signed “Louis C. Tiffany, New York,” indicating that he personally designed this window.
DANA MEMORIAL WINDOW. Made by George W. Spence (Boston), 1924.
The Dana window was given by Payson Dana, a longtime Brookline selectman, in memory of his parents Emma Jane Dana and Frank William Dana, as well as his brother Jesse Wright Dana. Designed by the George W. Spence Company in a style close to that of the 1920 Williams window, the Dana window was dedicated in May of 1924. George W. Spence was described by Charles Connick in 1933 as a “veteran glass man” who combined “traditions of art glass and stained glass from the craft's first days in Boston and whose work had “steadily developed into a more direct realization that stained glass is the handmaid of architecture.” (Boston Stained Glass Craftsmen,” Stained GlassSummer 1933, 92) Connick's reference to Spence’s “art glass” background suggests that Spence was active in many kinds of glass work in addition to church windows.
WORLD WAR ONE MEMORIAL ROSE WINDOW. Made by Reynolds, Francis and Rohnstock (Boston), 1924.
In November of 1924, First Parish's World War One Memorial Rose Window was dedicated, six years after Armistice Day. Presumably paid for by town-wide subscription, this is an all-Brookline memorial to the eight who died of the one hundred twenty four men connected in some way with Brookline who served in World War One.
The names of all eight Brookline-connected soldiers who died during World War One can be seen in the window, each name in its own section. The window also has a Latin inscription from the poet Horace: “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori” meaning “To die for one's country is gratifying and admirable.” The window's colors, according to the Brookline Chronicle (11/6/1924), were symbolic: red, of “divine love, courage and self-sacrifice,” blue, of “truth, constancy, and loyalty,” yellow gold, of “ spiritual riches and achievement,” white, of “light, faith, and peace,” and green, of “youth, hope, and immortality.&rdquo
The eight men memorialized are Francis Reed Austin, Albert Lincoln Crocker, Joseph Warren Homer, Jr., Homer Ingram, William Hilton Jarboe, William Dennison Lyon, William St. Agnan Stearns, and Robert Williams. Francis Austin was killed at 10:45 a.m., fifteen minutes before World War One officially ended at eleven a.m. on November 11, 1918, the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. After completing officer training, he had chosen to enlist rather than wait for a commission, so that he could see action in Europe sooner. As a result,
He took part in the entire Argonne drive as company commander and on October 28  received his commission as first lieutenant....[W]hile acting as company commander, in a position of great danger, [he] was struck by a German high explosive shell and instantly killed. For his extraordinary bravery under fire he was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. (Sermon by Reverend Abbot Peterson, 11/ 9/1924)
Austin was twenty-one when he died. Albert Crocker, who was born in Brookline, died of influenza in New Jersey on October 23, 1918, two weeks before the War ended, at the age of thirty-two. Joseph Homer, Jr., born
Roxbury, was a dirigible pilot and saw duty “flying over the North Sea convoying ships.” He died in London of pneumonia on November 9, 1918, two days before the War ended. Homer Ingram was born in Jeffersonville, Indiana, and after serving as a lieutenant on a submarine in the Azores “scouting for German U-Boats,” he died of influenza at age twenty-seven, six weeks before the War ended, while living in Brookline in a futile attempt to regain his health. William Jarboe was a Brookline writer who enlisted as a private and died of influenza. Oddly,
no details of his birth and death, dates or military service are recorded. William Dennison Lyon, son of First Parish's minister Reverend William H. Lyon, was born in Boston, enlisted in the Navy and served as first boatswain's mate, then was commissioned an ensign. He died in an unspecified “tragic accident” on May 21, 1918, at age twenty-four. William Stearns was born in England, and was “among the first twenty-five to enter for the course” in “aviation at Technology”—i.e., M.I.T. Commissioned a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army, Stearns died in a fall while “testing a machine” on May 25, 1918, at age twenty-two. Robert Williams, memorialized in the 1920 Williams window (see above), was born in Brookline, received a commission “as first lieutenant in the cavalry,” was assigned to a Machine Gun Battalion at Camp Devens and died in Scituate on September 30, 1917, at age twenty-eight, of an injury received at Camp Devens.
COMSTOCK MEMORIAL WINDOW. Jesus and the Children. Made by Reynolds, Francis and Rohnstock (Boston), 1930.
The Comstock window, dedicated October 20, 1930, was given by William O. Comstock, William O. Comstock, Jr. and Mrs. Wallace O. Fenn: respectively the widower, son and daughter of Madeleine Bryce Comstock (1856-1928) in her honor. The window depicts Christ surrounded by five children, along with his words, “Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not.” Also, “He put his hands upon them and blessed them.” The Brookline Chronicle of November 6, 1930, describes it as in “the best traditions of the medieval glass of France.”
KAY MEMORIAL WINDOW. Made by Charles Connick (Boston), 1932.
The Kay window was donated by Mrs. H.R. Burgess of 151 Newbury Street, Boston, in conjunction with her sisters, to commemorate their parents, James Murray Kay (1842-1915) and Mary Prentiss Kay (1846-1928). In 1930 First Parish's last large opening had been filled by the Comstock window. In that same year however it was proposed to eliminate the “great door” located where the Train window now is, thereby making space for one more window. Mrs. Burgess wished to place her parents’ memorial where the Train window was and move the Train window into the new opening created by the removal of the door. (Letter, Connick to Burgess, June 23, 1930, Connick Office Papers, BPL.) This was finally agreed upon, following discussion with the Train family. Connick was then asked by Mrs. Burgess to design a window that would be installed where the Train window then was.
In October of 1930, Connick conferred with Mrs. Burgess, and made the following notes about the personalities of her parents:
Mother: heart of courtesy, sweet natured, serene, sociable, great reader, fond of pictures, domestic, knew symbolism.
Father: musical, fiery, spade a spade, outspoken, publisher...fisherman, liked woods, volcano, hated unfairness, Republican, always lover of flowers, affectionate, friendly (roses), Scotch love of gardens...came to America after thirty years old, left J. Murray Kay fund for prizes, Brookline Public School recitations (Be suspicious of fads!)
Connick next prepared an elaborate sketch which Mrs. Burgess liked greatly, and which became the basis of the Kay window with three small changes. Mrs. Burgess’s sisters did not like the squirrel and rabbit in the window. We have agreed [Connick recorded] to leave them out and replace them by birds. She also wants a few thistles put in the window somewhere, as her father was Scotch.
The squirrel and rabbit would have flanked the open book at Mr. Kay’s feet, where birds can now be seen. And thistles replaced several roses. On January 11, 1932, Connick noted that “The new window frame where the door was is all ready to receive the old window.” (BPL) The Kay window was completed on March 15 and dedicated March 27, 1932.
Connick’s description of the completed window reads, “For Mother 17th Verse of 139th Psalm, ‘How precious also are thy thoughts unto me O God.’ ‘Search me O God,’ 23rd verse. For Father: Psalm 121, 1st Verse, ‘I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills.’”
FLETCHER MEMORIAL WINDOWS. Made by Charles Connick (Boston), 1945.
The last stained glass windows added to First Parish's sanctuary were two clerestory windows donated by Frederick C. Fletcher of 34 Philbrick Road, Brookline, “In memory of Selina Huntington Jarvie Fletcher,” his wife and the mother of Nina Jarvie Fletcher (Mrs. Bertram K. Little), 1903-1993. These two windows were also made by Connick, and completed on April 22, 1945. As he recorded, “One window is devoted to Our Lord, symbolized in the Agnus Dei...with cruciform halo and banner inscribed with the Cross....The other, the Blessed Virgin, with symbol of the Enclosed Garden of roses and lilies.”
Because these windows were made during World War Two, Connick had to secure special permission from the U.S. Government to use copper and lead.