William Valentine Kelley
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Methodist Church, United States
William Valentine Kelley
Methodist Conference: New York East
Served as Minister
William Valentine Kelley (1843-1927), American preacher, author, and editor, was born at Plainfield, New Jersey, on February 13, 1843. His parents were Benjamin and Eliza Valentine Kelley. He graduated from Pennington Seminary in New Jersey and from Wesleyan University in Connecticut. After teaching for three years at Pennington Seminary, he joined the New Jersey Conference in 1869. His pastorates included churches in New Brunswick, New Jersey; Buffalo, New York; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Newark, New Jersey; New Haven, Connecticut; and Brooklyn, New York. He was appointed to be the biographer of Bishops Wiley and Simpson. Kelley also served as a trustee to both Drew and Wesleyan Universities. In 1893, he was elected editor of The Methodist Review, a quarterly of the Methodist E. Church, and continued in that post for twenty-six years. Kelley was a prolific writer and prominent in the leadership of the church. He was a member of five General Conferences and served as fraternal delegate to other Methodist denominations. His literary skill in the field of the essay is notable. Among his works are The Illumined Face, My Gray Gull, A Pilgrim of the Infinite, and The Ripening Experience of Life. He could blend the mystical, the familiar commonplace, the scriptural and the practical in his essays with such charm and imaginativeness that he came to have a large number of readers. He married Eliza Whiteman McVeigh of Philadelphia. Honorary degrees were awarded to him by Wesleyan, Dickinson and Ohio Wesleyan Colleges. Kelley died on December 14, 1927, at Maplewood, New Jersey. His estate, which totaled $200,000 was left to various Methodist institutions, Drew Theological Seminary receiving half of it.
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