The Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut

John Henry Esquirol

Ninth Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut, Suffragan Bishop, 1958-1969, Diocesan 1969-1971

Biographical/Historical Note:

John Henry Esquirol was born in Brooklyn, New York on May 18th 1900, the son of Joseph Henry and Grace Ella (Alfred) Esquirol. Graduating from New York University with a B.S. in 1920, he continued in that university's Law School, which in 1923 awarded him the degree of Doctor of Jurisprudence. He then practiced law in Brooklyn for thirteen years. On April 28, 1927 he was married to Margaret Louise Joost.

In 1936 that he entered the General Theological Seminary. Years later, he told Connecticut's Diocesan Convention that his "desire to be useful and helpful to people" had been decisive in that choice. His bishop, Ernest M Stires of Long Island, ordained him deacon in 1936 and priest in 1937. After four years of service at St. Gabriel's, Hollis, and in the Cathedral of the Incarnation, Garden City, John Esquirol was called in 1939 to be rector of Trinity Church in Southport, Connecticut. He remained there until 1956 when he was named Dean of Christ Church Cathedral. On January 10, 1958 he was elected Bishop Suffragan and consecrated on April 9th of that year.   In 1966, Bishop Gray sought permission for the Convention to elect a Bishop Coadjutor to enable a smooth transition upon his retirement. At a special Convention in May of 1968, Bishop Esquirol was elected on the first ballot.

He was Bishop Suffragan from 1958-1969 and Diocesan Bishop from 1969-1971.

John Henry Esquirol was deeply committed to ministry with youth, both within his Southport parish and also in the Diocese and National Church.  His personal warmth, sincerity, and quiet sense of humor helped him establish an easy rapport with youth as with people of all ages. His far-ranging contributions to the life of the Church may be seen in his service as Archdeacon of Fairfield, beginning in 1952, as deputy to General Convention and in the executive offices of the Church Mission of Help, the Standing Committee, the Youth Conference Board, the Department of Religious Education, and the Episcopal Development Program, and in the diocesan committee on Constitution and Canons, and as such was widely recognized as an authority on the Canons of the Church. In addition to his ministry to Youth, Bishop Esquirol had an abiding interest in the ministry of the laity, both in “Laymen’s Work,” and Episcopal Church Women. He reminded people that the Church could not carry out the “great commission” without the participation of lay people.

Bishop Esquirol began his service as Diocesan Bishop of Connecticut at a time of deep conflict and division in the United States.  In his addresses to Convention he called upon the Church to face these troubling realities directly. He urged members of the Church to utterly destroy any vestiges of racism which may persisted within us, to strive for social justice, especially in the cities, to offer a listening ear and a true response to young people, to respect and uphold law and order, and to fight anything that polarized and divided our communities, religious or secular. “Above all,” he said, we must enter in the lives of one another, truly becoming "Members of One Another" united in a common family under God.

When Bishop Esquirol's brief episcopate ended with his untimely death on December 31, 1970, the diocesan newspaper remembered him as "an excellent man, humble and gentle, able and forthright.”

 Biographical Note by: Margaret Smith

Collection Summary:

Creator:  Esquirol, John Henry, 1900-1971
Title and Citation: Esquirol, John Henry, 1900-1971, J.D., M. Div., Rt. Rev., Ninth Bishop of Connecticut. Courtesy of the Archives of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut. This series is part of Record Group 1: Diocesan Bishops, (RG 1- A 9)
Dates:    1937 – 1971 [Bulk, 1958-1971]
Extent:   12.0 Cubic feet [Bulk sermons]
Language:  English
Formats: Episcopal Acts, Manuscripts, documents, publications, photographs, scrapbooks, artifacts
Scope and Content Note:  This record group portrays the personal and professional life of John Henry Esquirol, his ordination files, his personal correspondence, and primarily his sermons.


Collection Inventory:

  • Esquirol 'Drop Files"

  • Box 1: Esquirol Topic Files, "A-E"

  • Box 2: Esquirol Topic Files, "E-P"

  • Box 3: Esquirol Topic Files, "P-W" and Second Series Topic Files, "A-D"

  • Box 4: Esquirol Topic Files, Second Series, "E-W"

  • Box 5: Esquirol Sermons

  • Box 6: Esquirol Sermons

  • Box 7: Esquirol Sermons

  • Box 8: Esquirol Sermons

  • Collection Inventory (.pdf)