Evander McGilvary Biography
By: Herbert Swanson
Evander McGilvary was a Presbyterian missionary with the Laos Mission and the son of Daniel and Sophia McGilvary. He was born 19 July 1864 in Bangkok, received a B.A. degree from Davidson College, North Carolina in 1884, gained an M.A. from Princeton University in 1888, and graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1891. He married Elizabeth Ann Patton in June 1891 and left for Siam that same year. He was appointed to the Chiang Mai Station; his main task was to translate the New Testament in northern Thai. In 1893, however, the Presbyterian Church’s General Assembly gave a verdict in the famous Briggs Heresy Case that declared as heretical views that Evander himself held. He felt constrained to resign from missionary work and studied philosophy at the University of California, where he graduated in 1897 and was appointed as an assistant professor. He then taught at Cornell (1899-1905) and the University of Wisconsin (1905-1924). McGilvary enjoyed a distinguished career in philosophy, and served as president of the American Philosophical Association in 1912-1913. He published numerous lectures, and his 1939 Carsus lectures were published posthumously in 1956 as Toward Perspective Realism. He died in September 1953.