John Gresham Machen, 1881-1937

Publication Year: 1937.



John Gresham Machen was born at Baltimore on July 28th, 1881, and died in Bismarck, N. D., on January 1st, 1937. He was graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 1901 and took his M.A. degree at Princeton in 1904. Taking the Bachelor of Divinity degree at Princeton Theological Seminary the following year, he then studied at Marburg and Göttingen. His D.D. degree came from Hampden-Sydney College in 1921 and he was made a Doctor of Literature by Wheaton (Ill.) College in 1928. He was ordained to the Presbyterian ministry in 1914, and during the World War did Y. M. C. A. work with the French Army and A. E. F. in France and Belgium. He was Sprunt lecturer at Union Theological Seminary in 1921 and Smyth lecturer at Columbia Theological Seminary in 1927. Machen left Princeton in 1929 to become professor of New Testament in the new Westminster Theological Seminary and was thereafter leader of the dissenting Fundamentalist faction of the Presbyterian Church. He was unmarried. (N. Y. Times, January 2nd, 1937; port.)

Machen joined the American Alpine Club in 1936, attending the informal dinner in New York in May. One of his proposers was Prof. Harry Fielding Reid, an original member of the club and a life-long friend. Machen’s climbing record, though intermittent, was an unusually interesting one. In his early days he would take a bicycle abroad with him, riding to the mountains from his port of arrival and back again.

1901. Monte Rosa, Rimpfischhorn, Wellenkuppe.

1905. Reichenspitze, Gross Glockner, Wiesbachhorn, Gr. and Kl. Zinnen.

1913. Kl. Fermeda Saas Rigais, central Grasleitenspitze, Nordturm (Vajolet), Kesselkogel, Kl. Zinne (N. face) Campanile di Val Montanaia (traverse), Pomagagnon (Dimai route), Punta Fiammes, Croda da Lago, Becco di Mezzodi, Cinque Torre (Grande), Monte Cristallo, Pelmo.

Then, after an interval of many years, the following:

1932. Zinal Rothorn, Matterhorn, Dent Blanche, Furgggrat, Castor, Pollux, Riffelhorn (glacier couloir), Untergabelhorn.

1935. Matterhorn (Zmutt), Zinal Rothorn (traverse), Obergabelhorn (traverse), Weisshorn, Monte Rosa (traverse), Strahl- horn, Lyskamm (traverse).

In his final season, 1936 (in his fifty-sixth year), he visited the Canadian Rockies, climbing with Edward Feuz, Jr., on the basis of a schedule laid out for him by a friend, Mts. Whyte, Victoria, Lefroy, Temple, Hungabee, Hector and Louis.

Machen, as a mountaineer, was a modest man of great going- power. The American Alpine Club has lost an enthusiastic supporter.

J. M. T.