1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Processing note

5.   Inventory

6.   Subjects

    List of finding aids

    R.I.H.S. Library page

    R.I.H.S. home page

 William Worthington Family Papers

 Clergyman, of Ohio, Kentucky, New York, and Rhode Island

 Family papers, 1832-1972. Bulk, 1881-1943.

 Size: 1 linear foot

 Catalog number: MSS 1109

 Processed by: Rick Stattler, November 2002

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            William Worthington (1860-1948) was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. to John and Mary (Stoker) Worthington. He graduated from Bishop's College in Lennoxville, Quebec in 1883, was advanced to the Episcopalian priesthood in 1888, and served congregations in Colorado, Ohio, Kentucky, and Brooklyn, N.Y., before coming to St. Luke's Church in East Greenwich, R.I. in 1899. He later served at Trinity Church in Pawtuxet and St. Thomas in Providence before retiring in 1928. He spent the last twenty years of his life in Providence, and died while visiting his daughter in Denver, Colorado in 1948. He was buried in Swan Point Cemetery in Providence.

            Rev. Worthington's first wife Ethel died after only three months of marriage. He then married Ohio-born Susie B. Crosby (1870-1941), and had two children: Dorothy (Worthington) Sabin (1894-1981) and William Chesley Worthington (1903-2002). W. Chesley "Chet" Worthington graduated from Brown University in 1923, served as an editor of the Providence Journal, then as editor of the Brown Alumni Monthly from 1931 to 1968. He married Diana Scott (1908-1986), and had two children: Constance and William C. At the time of his death in 2002, he was the oldest active alumnus of Brown University, and among the most renowned.


Obituary of Rev. William Worthington, Providence Journal, May 19 1948

Obituary of W. Chesley Worthington, Providence Journal, July 26 2002

Rhode Island Cemetery Database

1920 U.S. Census, Rhode Island E.D. 189, page 33

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Scope and content:

            The bulk of this collection consists of sermons written by Rev. Worthington from 1888 through 1919, and delivered at the various Episcopalian churches where he served. Many of these sermons were arranged into looseleaf binders, but the organizational scheme remains unclear. Most of the sermons are marked with the dates on which they were delivered, with many being delivered several times to different congregations. Thus, many of the early sermons written outside of Rhode Island were later used in the state. Also of note are a packet of letters written by Rev. Worthington while vacationing in Vermont in 1929.

            Also included with this collection are a small quantity of papers of Rev. Worthington's son W. Chesley Worthington, including letters received during World War I, and drafts of poetry and short stories; an account book kept by Chesley's future wife Diana Scott; a 1939 report from wartime Latvia by Providence resident Norman Dewhurst; a 1930 letter re singer Nelson Eddy; and a World War II letter from Col. Thomas A. Roberts.

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            This collection was donated in 2002 and 2003 by the estate of W. Chesley Worthington, via his daughter Constance Worthington. Two World War I letters had been previously donated by W. Chesley Worthington in 1979.

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Processing note:

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William Worthington

Box 1, folder 1. Sermons, loose. Written 1888-1891. Many re-delivered at later dates.

Box 1, folder 2. Sermons, loose. Written 1892-1899. Many re-delivered at later dates.

Box 1, folder 3. Sermons, loose. Written 1900-1919. Many re-delivered at later dates.

Box 1, folder 4. Sermons, loose. Undated.

Box 1, folder 5. Sermons, bound. Miscellaneous 1904-1908; and "Vol. G," 1902-1913

Box 1, folder 6. Sermons, bound. "Shepherds, Vol. III," 1904-1918; and "Vol. R," 1912-1919

Box 1, folder 7. Sermons, bound. "David," 1902-1911; and "Good Friday," 1902-1905

Box 1, folder 8. Sermons, bound. Miscellaneous, 1903-1912; and miscellaneous, 1900-1912

Box 1, folder 9. Seminary notes, 1884-1885; miscellaneous bound sermons, 1908-1917

Box 1, folder 10. Lecture notes, 1914 and undated

Box 1, folder 11. Essays:

            Prize-winning essay on "Longfellow's Place in Poetical Literature," 1883

            "Our Twenty-Fourth," poem on the Queen's birthday, 1881

Box 1, folder 12. Letters to children, from Brandon VT, April 25 - June 1, 1929

Box 1, folder 13. Letter from Dr. Elihu Wing re health of Rev. Worthington, 1941


Michael Worthington (relation unknown)

Box 1, folder 14. Fragment reading "Michael Worthington, prize book, Quebec National Sunday School, 15 January 1832"

W. Chesley Worthington

Box 1, folder 15. Correspondence, 1918-1979:

Two letters received in World War I, from J. Harold Williams and Fred Wilshire of Providence, 1918; with explanatory note by Worthington, 1979.

            Four letters re the World Peace Foundation, 1927

            Letter re journalism school position in Illinois, 1927

            Letter from Frank Merchant re poetry reading event, 1941

            Letter re deed, 1953

            Letter from and response to Bishop John Higgins re Providence Athenaeum share, 1972

            Letter to sister Dorothy with detailed description of visit to East Greenwich, 1978

            Letter from physician H. Denman Scott, 1983

            Three unidentified undated letters

Box 1, folder 16. Writings:

            Short story titled "Clangor" about a fireman, undated

            "Supplement to the Story of Oriole Avenue"

            Part of television script regarding pirate William Phipps

            Miscellaneous poems, epigrams, etc.

Box 1, folder 16A. Miscellaneous:

            Tax return, 1930

            Receipts for bicycles shipped from Ireland, 1936 

            1918 account as treasurer of the Hope High School class of 1919

            Deed from wife, 1952

            Deed to Old Stone Bank, 1972

            Program for talk to Colonial Daughters of the Seventeenth Century, 1944

            Pass from Providence Police Department, possibly from Hurricane of 1938

            Copies of two R.I. Militia general orders re Hurricane of 1938

            Five documents re Blackstone Park Improvement Association, 1979-1981

            "The East Greenwich Buddha," 2001

Diana (Scott) Worthington

Box 1, folder 17. Account book, 1928-1934. Includes memoranda re members of Wheaton College alumna club.


Box 1, folder 18. "Caught in Latvija," series of reports on wartime life in Latvia by Providence resident Norman Dewhurst, 1939

Box 1, folder 19. Miscellaneous:

Letter from William D. Eddy to Dr. Chapman, October 30, 1930, describing recent career of singer Nelson Eddy.

Letter from Col. Thomas A. Roberts to J. Harold Williams, May 25 1943, re North Africa campaign.

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Bishop's University (Lennoxville, QB)

Blackstone Park Improvement Association

Dewhurst, Norman

East Greenwich, R.I. - Description and travel

Eddy, Nelson, 1901-1967

Episcopalians - Rhode Island

Hurricanes - Rhode Island - 1938

Latvia - Description and travel

Merchant, Frank


Roberts, Thomas A. Jr., d. 1944

x Scott, Diana, 1908-1986

Scott, H. Denman

St. Luke's Episcopal Church (East Greenwich, R.I.)

St. Thomas Episcopal Church (Providence, R.I.)

Trinity Episcopal Church (Cranston, R.I.)

Vermont - Description and travel

Williams, J. Harold

Wilshire, Fred

World Peace Foundation

World War, 1914-1918

World War, 1939-1945

Worthington, Diana (Scott), 1908-1986

Worthington, William Chesley, 1903-2002

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