John Frederick writes from a varied and unusual eclectic background of experience. A native of Manhattan, he attended Deerfield Academy and graduated A.B.in economics and sociology from Princeton. His thesis was on the employment of black manpower in America’s armed forces. After attending the General Theological Seminary for his master’s degree in church history, he was ordained deacon in the (Episcopal) Diocese of Connecticut, then a priest, serving two years as curate of St Peter’s, Cheshire, Connecticut and as a master and chaplain at the Cheshire Academy.
Most of his professional life has been spent in England, to which he was introduced as a fifth man on the four-man U.S. Pistol Team in the 1948 Olympics in London. He returned to England in 1952 with the Winant Volunteers, working in the East End Borough of Poplar. He returned to London in 1956 for a two-year stint as assistant priest at All Hallows by the Tower, living next to the Tower (not in it, he hastens to point out) in a house built by William Penn’s father. After two years at SS Philip and James’, Oxford, he returned with his English wife Jean and step-daughter Susan to become rector of St John’s, New Haven for ten years.
Wanting to hit the books again, he earned a Ph.D. at Birmingham University in the English midlands, doing his dissertation on a critique of the twentieth-century liturgical movement in the Rpman Catholic and Anglican churches, also serving as priest-in-charge of a slum parish in Birmingham. Emmanuel College, Cambridge then appointed him as rector of Bletchingley in the Diocese of Southwark (Church of England) where he served for twenty years, ending his time in England as a Surrogate to the Bishop and Rural Dean of Godstone. During his time there, he wrote The Future of Liturgical Reform , published on both sides of the Atlantic.
He has always resisted being stuffed into an intellectual envelope. Having served as a non-commissioned officer in the New Jersey National Guard’s artillery and infantry while an undergraduate, and having an interest in history, he authored two books on British military history, the latter of which, a two-volume Lineage Book of British Land Forces 1660-1978, is held to be an authoritative tome on the subject of British military history.
His literary activity includes a novel, A Royal American: a New Jersey Officer in the King’s Service During the Revolution, based loosely on a forbear of his from Elizabeth, New Jersey, who held the King’s commission throughout the Revolutionary War, but settled back happily afterwards at Elizabeth Town. From his writings, it can easily be seen that John Frederick has a particular interest in favoring genuine history over the hagiography and winners’ rewrites of history which turn out popular mythology. Interest in the American colonial period led him into the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of New Jersey, of which he served a term as Governor. His posts in England, including one as chaplain to the High Sheriff of Surrey, have given him a wide perspective for viewing the strength and weaknesses of his native country, something which appears in the series of essays he is now writing for The Wild River Review
As an undergraduate, he enjoyed newscasting on a radio station. Interest in current events tied up with a growing interest in international affairs as he delved into the now little known writings of his grandfather, the onetime Columbia University professor of international law and arbitration, judge on the World Court at The Hague, and Counsellor to the State Department, John Bassett Moore, whose work on “current illusions” seemed to John to parallel his own ideas on international affairs.
His and Jean’s family also include two daughters – Alexandra a jazz singer and musician, and Sarah, an insurance communications director, and two grandsons. Practically all members of his family have two passports reflecting their Anglo-American ties.