Harrington, Donald 1914–2005

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Harrington, Donald 1914–2005

(Donald Szantho Harrington)

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born July 11, 1914, in Newton, MA; died September 16, 2005, in Szepsi-St. George, Romania. Minister, political leader, and author. Harrington was a Unitarian Universalist minister and longtime head of the Community Church in New York. He was also a leader of the Liberal Party in New York state. After graduating from the University of Chicago in 1938 and earning a B.D. from the Meadville/Lombard Theological School, he was ordained the next year and became minister at the People's Liberal Church in Chicago, Illinois. Two years later he was founding minister at the Beverly Unitarian Fellowship in Chicago. He worked in both these capacities until 1944, when he was named minister of the Community Church in New York City. He remained there until his retirement as minister emeritus in 1982. Once Harrington had moved to New York, he became active in the state's Liberal Party. As state chair of the party from 1965 to 1985, Harrington supported a variety of liberal candidates over the years and, in 1966, ran—unsuccessfully—for the office of lieutenant governor as Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr.'s running mate. Some members of Harrington's party criticized him as merely a puppet of union leader Alex Rose, whom many regarded as the real power behind the party's platform. When Rose died in 1976, some party members were discontented with Harrington, but he was not replaced until 1986. Though some questioned his role in politics, Harrington was lauded for his other achievements; he was founding chair of the American Commission on Africa through the 1950s, an organization that supported Nelson Mandela in South Africa and protested apartheid there. He was also cochair and founder of the Unitarian Universalist Advance, a founder of Black and White Action in 1965, and cofounder of the Center for Advanced Study in Religion and Science. Harrington was the author of several books, including As We Remember Him (1965) and Modern Humanity in Search of a Myth (1987).



Grand Rapids Press, September 21, 2005.

New York Times, September 20, 2005, p. A26.


Meadville Lombard Theological School Web site, http://meadville.edu/ (November 17, 2005).

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