Butler, Lee Pierce
- John V. Richardson
Butler, Lee Pierce (19 December 1884–29 March 1953), professor and rare book curator, was born in Clarendon Hills, Illinois, the son of John Pierce Butler (a.k.a. Wallace due his desire to serve twice in the Civil War), a real estate agent, farm manager, and railroad employee, and Evaline (“Eva”) Content Whipple, an occasional U.S. postal mistress. Butler spent his early childhood on “Blythewood,” a 460-acre farm outside Pittsfield, Massachusetts, that was designed by F. L. Olmsted & Company and owned by Wirt D. Walker, a Chicago attorney. Infantile paralysis left Butler with scoliosis and a slight lameness, which was still apparent in his adult life; his early childhood was also marked by a serious case of scarlet fever and catarrh that left him almost completely deaf. He nevertheless earned a Ph.B. in 1906 and an M.A. in Latin in 1910 from Dickinson College. Butler taught science and mathematics briefly at Locust Dale Academy in Virginia during the fall of 1906. He started at Union Theological Seminary but then transferred to divinity school at Hartford Theological Seminary to study early medieval church history, and he received a B.D. in 1910 and a Ph.D. in 1912. After difficult pastorates as a deacon in the Episcopal church in Indianapolis, Indiana, as well as DeSoto and Ironton, Missouri, he moved back to his parents’ home in Clarendon Hills in late 1912....