Earl Bowman Marlatt

MARLATT, Earl Bowman. b. Columbus, Indiana, 24 May 1892; d. Winchester, Indiana, 13 June 1976. His father was a Methodist Episcopal minister. He and his twin brother, Ernest F. Marlatt, were the youngest of eight brothers and sisters, all of whom graduated from DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana (a Methodist foundation, originally Indiana Asbury University). Earl Bowman graduated in 1912 and then studied at Harvard and Boston Universities, and at Oxford and Berlin. He taught school in Rushville and Raleigh, Indiana, and was an associate editor of a Kenosha, Wisconsin, newspaper. He served as a Second Lieutenant in a Field Artillery Regiment in World War I. Upon discharge he studied at Boston University School of Theology (STB, 1922). In 1929 he received a PhD from Boston University’s graduate school of religion (Thesis, ‘Normative Ideals in Religious Education’).

Marlatt served on the faculty of the Boston School of Theology as Professor of Philosophy and Literature (1922-1938) and Dean (1938-1945). He moved to be Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas (1945-1957). From 1960 to 1962 he was curator of the Treasure Room and Hymn Museum of the Inter-church Center, New York City.

Marlatt was a prize-winning poet, and a distinguished man of letters, President of the Boston Browning Society and of the Boston Authors’ Club. He was named Poet Laureate of Indiana for 1970/71. Among his many publications was a book of plates with poems by him, Chapel Windows, Boston School of Theology (Boston, 1924). Others included Protestant Saints (New York, 1928), Cathedral (New York and London, 1937), Lands Away (New York, 1944), and an autobiography, The Return of The Native, arranged and edited by Edwin V. O'Neel (Hagerstown, Indiana, 1977).

He was a friend of H. Augustine Smith*, whom he assisted in compiling The American Student Hymnal (New York and London, 1928); and he was one of those named as an Editorial Associate to Smith’s Lyric Religion: the Romance of Immortal Hymns (New York and London, 1931). For some years before her death in 1929 he was a friend and correspondent of Katharine L. Bates*, author of ‘America the beautiful’ (‘O beautiful for spacious skies’*).

Marlatt was a long-serving member of the Executive Committee of the Hymn Society of America. His hymns included ‘Spirit of life, in this new dawn’ in Smith’s New Hymnal for American Youth (New York and London, 1930) and the much better known ‘'Are ye able', said the Master’* from The American Student Hymnal (1928).

JRW/CY

Further Reading and Source

Earl Bowman Marlatt papers MSD.1912.002. Class of 1912. Archives of DePauw University and Indiana United Methodism, Greencastle, IN archives@depauw.edu

 

 

 

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