The Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut

Edward Campion Acheson

Sixth Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut, 1915-1934: Suffragan 1915-1926;
Coadjutor 1926-1928; Diocesan 1928-1934

Biographical/Historical Note:

Bishop Edward Campion Acheson was born April 7, 1858, in Woolwich, England, the son of Alexander and Mary Campion Acheson. In 1881 he emigrated to Toronto, Canada. He enlisted in the Queen’s Own Rifles and served during the suppression of the Riel insurrection in Manitoba. Subsequently he felt a call to ordained ministry and studied for the priesthood at Wycliffe College. His ordination to the priesthood in 1889 came during his time as curate of All Saints, Toronto. Later that year he took the position of assistant minister at St. George’s Church in New York City. In 1891 he received an M.A. degree from New York University. The next year he received a call to Holy Trinity in Middletown where he served as rector for twenty three years.

Acheson married Eleanor G. Gooderham of Toronto in 1892 and they had three children. The eldest, Dean Acheson, became Secretary of State under President Harry Truman.

In 1912 Bishop Brewster requested and received permission from a special diocesan Convention for the election of a suffragan bishop. Final action took place in 1915 with the election of the Rev. Edward Acheson.  Consecrated in his own parish of Holy Trinity, Bishop Acheson served as suffragan for eleven years.  He worked in close association with Bishop Brewster, preparing him for the greater responsibility that came when the Diocesan Annual Convention in 1926 acceded to the Bishop’s request for Acheson’s election as coadjutor. He succeeded Bishop Brewster upon the latter’s retirement on November 16, 1928.

For the next three years Bishop Acheson led the diocese as its sole bishop. The clergy found him an attentive and caring pastor. They sought him in their difficulties and found calm judgment, sympathetic understanding, and frank counsel. He took special interest in the clergy conferences at Choate School in Wallingford, summer youth conferences and the Conference for Men and Boys at Camp Washington.

He helped new missions and encouraged weak and aided parishes. His interests extended to civic and state affairs, education, and young people in secondary schools, colleges and universities. General Convention recognized his mettle by drafting him to serve on important committees.

In 1928 the Diocesan Convention responded to Acheson’s request for a coadjutor by electing Frederick G. Budlong to that position.  Budlong succeeded Acheson upon the latter’s death in 1934. The Connecticut Churchman published a memorial issue, and Bishop Budlong said: “Bishop Acheson’s greatness as a man and as Bishop perhaps none of us completely recognized because of his innate modesty which was hidden under his dignified bearing…His high sense of honor, his sterling character, his supreme unselfishness and the deep quality of his personal religious life present a pattern for us all to emulate.”

Collection Summary:

Creator:  Acheson, Edward Campion, 1881-1934
Title and Citation:
Acheson, Edward Campion, Rt. Rev., 1881-1934,  Sixth Bishop of Connecticut, Courtesy of the Archives of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut.
This series is part of Record Group 1: Diocesan Bishops (RG1 – A6)
Dates:    Episcopate, bulk 1897-1939
Extent:   .5 linear feet
Language:  English
Formats: Episcopal acts, manuscripts, pictures, photographs.
Processed:  
Scope and Content Note:  Archives has 3 folders. This bishop’s holdings are housed by the United States Archives and Records Administration (ARMA) because his son was Secretary of State under President Harry S Truman.

Collection Inventory:

  • 3 folders
  • Special note:  Bishop Acheson’s papers were deposited at the National Archives, with his son’s papers (Dean Acheson, became Secretary of State under President Harry Truman.)