The Pennsylvania State University
Cover for the book Church and Estate

Church and Estate

Religion and Wealth in Industrial-Era Philadelphia Thomas F. Rzeznik
  • Copyright: 2013
  • Dimensions: 6 x 9
  • Page Count: 304 pages
  • Illustrations: 11 illustrations/1 map
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-271-05967-9

Hardcover Edition: $69.95Add to Cart

“In this remarkably rich and revealing book, Thomas Rzeznik has rediscovered the marrow and meaning of religion for the elite classes of Philadelphians. Rzeznik brings rare sensitivity and common sense to a subject too much the domain of pundits quick to dismiss the integrity of upper-class faith and too little the focus of sustained historical analysis. The result is a finely wrought book that should re-open discussions of the religious impulses of Progressivism and renew considerations of the centrality of religion in modern American life.”
“Thomas Rzeznik's remarkable exploration of religion and wealth in Gilded Age and Progressive Era America combines unprecedented breadth and sophistication with a Philadelphia focus that speaks for America while still retaining the Quaker city's unique flavor. Smoothly written and deftly researched, Church and Estate is one of the few books to describe Protestants, Catholics, Jews, wealth, and religion together, and it brings fresh life to controversial facets of American religion that often still echo discordantly today.”
“In terms of historical studies of religion and the elite of Philadelphia, this sets the standard by which future scholarship will be judged…. An impressive and exhaustive historical work that provides a valuable case study showing how the elite of industrial-era Philadelphia created religious class cultures within congregations that conformed to their tastes and desires.”
“A rich and engaging study of the relationship between religion and wealth in the formation of America's urban elites.”

In Church and Estate, Thomas Rzeznik examines the lives and religious commitments of the Philadelphia elite during the period of industrial prosperity that extended from the late nineteenth century through the 1920s. The book demonstrates how their religious beliefs informed their actions and shaped their class identity, while simultaneously revealing the ways in which financial influences shaped the character of American religious life. In tracing those connections, it shows how religion and wealth shared a fruitful, yet ultimately tenuous, relationship.

Thomas F. Rzeznik is Associate Professor of History at Seton Hall University.

Contents

List of Illustrations

Acknowledgments

Introduction

1 “Money Faithfully and Judiciously Expended”

2 A Controlling “Interest”

3 A Labor “Exceedingly Magnificent”

4 The “Quaker-Turned-Episcopal Gentry”

5 The Episcopal Ascendancy

6 Confronting the “Money Interests”

7 Changing Fortunes

Conclusion: Legacies

Notes

Bibliography

Index

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