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George Dering Wolff

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Editor, b. at Martinsburg, West Virginia , 25 Aug., 1822; d. at Norristown, Pennsylvania, 29 Jan., 1894. His parents were Charlotte Wolff, a woman of great intelligence, and Bernard Crouse Wolff (b. at Martinsburg, 1794), a prominent divine of the German Reformed Church ( Lutheran ). The family moved to Easton, Pennsylvania, in 1835, the father becoming English pastor there. George graduated A.M. from Marshall College, Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and there studied law for three years at Easton. Though admitted to the Bar, he never practised, but after a four years' theological course became a minister of the German Reformed Church. The elder Wolff and his son were staunch followers of John Williamson Nevin, who in 1843 began to develop in their sect a system of theology which, whilst bitterly opposing Catholicism, held Christ's Church to be a living organism and sought to restore certain teaching of Christ repudiated by the Reformation (see G. D. Wolff's article "The Mercersburg Movement" in "American Catholic Quarterly", 1878). George Wolff's scholarly attainments and sterling worth brought him many important calls. The inconsistency of his religious tenets finally becoming clear to him, he joined the Catholic Church in 1871. The next year he became editor of the "Catholic Mirror" published at Baltimore, leaving it the year following for the "Catholic Standard" of Philadelphia, of which he died editor-in-chief. His editorial success caused him to be called to join Dr. James J. Corcoran and Father James O'Connor in establishing the "American Catholic Quarterly Review", first issued in Philadelphia, Jan., 1876. Father O'Connor was consecrated bishop in Aug. of that year and went to his laborious vicariate Apostolic in Nebraska. The other two editors sustained the chief worth of the publication until their death. Wolff's articles were largely on matters of apologetic theology. His wife, Sarah Hill, became a convert to Catholicism, as did his brother, Professor Christian Wolff.


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