Peter Marshall (May 27, 1902 – January 26, 1949) was a Scots-American preacher, pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC and twice appointed as Chaplain of the United States Senate.
He is remembered popularly from the success of A Man Called Peter (1951), a biography of him written by his widow, Catherine Marshall, and the 1955 film adaptation of the same name, which was nominated for an Academy Award for its cinematography.
Early life and education
Born in Coatbridge (North Lanarkshire), Scotland, Marshall heard a strong calling to the ministry at a young age. Despite having no money, he emigrated to New York in 1927 when he was 24. He graduated from Columbia Theological Seminary in 1931.
He was called as the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, a small, rural church in Covington, Georgia. After a brief pastorate, Marshall accepted a call to Atlanta's Westminster Presbyterian Church in 1933.
Marriage and family
In Atlanta, Marshall met his future wife, Catherine Wood, then a student at Agnes Scott College. They married in 1936 and had one son, Peter John Marshall (January 21, 1940 – September 8, 2010).
Peter J. Marshall followed his father into the Presbyterian clergy and ran a national ministry, Peter Marshall Ministries, from Orleans, Massachusetts. He wrote many books on the Christian faith in the United States.
In 1937 Marshall became pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C.. In 1946 he was appointed as U.S. Senate Chaplain, serving from January 4, 1947 until his sudden death of a heart attack just over two years later. He was 46 years old.[page needed]
Marshall is buried at Fort Lincoln Cemetery (Section C, Lot 344, Site 1) in Brentwood, Maryland.
Catherine Marshall developed a career as a writer, publishing more than 220 books. These included many editions of her late husband's sermons, several of her own inspirational books, and the best-selling novel Christy, inspired by her mother's accounts of her early teaching years in Appalachia.
In 1959 Catherine Marshall married Leonard LeSourd, executive editor of Guideposts magazine.
Catherine died on March 18, 1983, and was buried at her request next to her first husband Peter Marshall.
The Presbyterian Historical Society in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has an undated carbon copy transcript of Catherine Marshall’s biography, A Man Called Peter. The undated transcript includes penciled annotations. The Society also holds a collection of Marshall’s sermons from his years as a pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church and New York Avenue Presbyterian Church.
The McCain Library at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia holds a large collection of papers donated by the estate of Catherine Marshall. Some of these papers included correspondence from Peter Marshall, photographs and recordings of him.