American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

William Frederick Badè, 1871-1936

  • In Memoriam
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1937


With the passing of Dr. William Frederick Badè at his home in Berkeley, Calif., March 4th, 1936, the Club has lost one of its outstanding members. Dr. Badè had so many interests and accomplished so much in many fields that only a brief summary is possible. Dr. Badè was born in Minnesota, January 22nd, 1871, of German parents who were Moravians. He graduated from the Moravian College and also the Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania, secured a degree at the Yale Divinity School and taught for a number of years at the Moravian College. In 1902 he became Professor of Old Testament Literature and Semitic Languages at the Pacific Theological Seminary (later the Pacific School of Religion) in Berkeley, which position he held until his death. He was a great student of nature and upon his arrival in California he joined the Sierra Club, attending many of its annual outings and early became a director; he also was editor of the Sierra Club Bulletin for twelve years, and from 1919 to 1922 was its President. He was a close friend of John Muir and upon Muir’s death in 1914 became his literary executor. He edited the following posthumous works of Muir: “A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf” (1916), “The Cruise of the Corwin” (1917) and “Steep Trails” (1918). His crowning achievement, however, was “The Life and Letters of John Muir,” which appeared in two volumes in 1924. One cannot praise this work too highly, reflecting as it does so accurately and convincingly the real John Muir, as we all knew him. It represents conscientious and painstaking work in the gathering of material and rare judgment in its selection and presentation.

Dr. Badè published in 1915 a volume entitled “The Old Testament in the Light of To-day,” which had attracted world-wide attention and high commendation from Biblical students and which serves to illustrate Dr. Badè’s remarkable versatility and extraordinary thoroughness and ability in anything he undertook. Always interested in archaeological research, especially in Palestine, he organized in 1926 the Palestine Institute of the Pacific

School of Religion. From 1926 to 1935 he conducted five expeditions to the Holy Land and completed the excavation of the site of the Mizpah, the ancient fortified city on a hill about seven miles north of Jerusalem. He published the results of much of this research and also “A Manual of Excavation in the Near East.” This research proved to be of the highest order and placed Dr. Badè well up in the ranks of distinguished archaeologists. He received degrees from various colleges and universities in recognition of his work.

Dr. Badè was a former Vice-President of the American Alpine Club (1920-1923) and always took a great interest in mountaineering as is evidenced by his articles in the Sierra Club Bulletin, “An Ascent of the Matterhorn” (1907) and “Haleakala and Kilauea” (1922). He climbed many of the important peaks on the Pacific Coast. He was always a close student of birds, trees, flowers, mosses, etc. He was an ideal comrade, good-natured, with a sense of humor, and a fund of knowledge that seemed limitless and was always accurate. With his death we have lost a delightful companion, who possessed all of those rare qualities which characterize a real mountain lover.

W. E. C.

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