Biography of William E. Hatcher, D.D., LL.D.
From The Home Field Journal, 1915
ONE OF THE MOST remarkable personalities of our times was Dr. William E. Hatcher, of Virginia, who died in 1912. Large in body and of unusual physical vigor, he was brilliant and witty, tender, sympathetic and winsome, while at the same time be was a man of rare poise and judgment, an orator of rare gifts and powers and a writer of great charm. He was equally at home and apparently equally happy in the most sedate or learned or cultured circles, and among the plain and. simple people of the most remote community. His personal magnetism was such that he became the center of every circle without seeming to try, and his wisdom and heart so mature that he was considerate and kindly to the most retiring an unassuming person he met.
How he loved young people, and how he put cheer and hope into the hearts of young preachers! All young people, including neophyte preachers, gathered about him as naturally as iron filings gather about a magnet. A rare, a precious gift it was, the gift of giving one’s self helpfully and quickly to others and making them better and fuller of courage and of quiet joy in the giving. Nothing interested his [him] so much as a human being, seemingly any human being.
It would take a book, a big, well-written book to tell of the life of this great and good man, who walked among Southern Baptists to bless and to help until God took him.
Such a book has been written and it gives to us the cue of these lines. His gifted son, Dr. Eldridge B. Hatcher has just brought from the press of the Hill Printing Company, of Richmond, a large and handsome volume of 996 pages, illustrated, beautifully bound in cloth with gilt top. There is not a dull chapter in it all.
Biography is one of the most instructive forms of literature - especially for the young. Emerson says that there is properly no history, only biography, and Carlyle adds that biography Is the most universally pleasant and profitable of all reading. The biography of a great and good man, such as Dr. Hatcher was, a man who rose by his own exertions to eminence and usefulness, is an inspiring and ennobling study. It would be difficult to recommend to our young men especially a! more inspiring story than this which cultured and able son has written of a brilliant and distinguished father.
It is charged that our Baptist people will not read their history. If it is a true charge, we should blush and hasten to correct the evil. We can hardly believe that there will be less than a large and general demand for this fascinating life story of one of the most remarkable, strong and winsome personalities whom Southern Baptists or any other Christian body ever gave to our country. We have not seen a better executed work of the kind, and we heartily wish for it a reading by thousands of our people in every State. It may be had from the Sites-Caldwell Company. Roanoke, Va.
[From The Home Field Journal, October, 1915, p. 24; via Baylor U. digitized documents. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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