Bishop Warren Akin Candler

Is your surname Candler?

Research the Candler family

Bishop Warren Akin Candler's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

About Bishop Warren Akin Candler

Warren Akin Candler (1857 - September 25, 1941) was an American Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, elected in 1898. He was the tenth president of Emory University.

Early life

He was born in Villa Rica, Georgia, the tenth of eleven children born to Samuel and Martha Bernetta Beall Candler. Samuel was a prosperous merchant and planter. Their children were raised in a devout atmosphere.

Candler attended Emory College in Oxford, Georgia, from 1874 to 1877. There he discovered his religious vocation and quite a talent for preaching. As a result he made the M.E. Church, South the center of his life. Following college, Warren married Sarah Antoinette "Nettie" Curtright. The couple had five children, three of whom lived to adulthood.

Ministerial career

As a young pastor, Candler served several churches in northwest Georgia. In 1882, along with Bishop George Foster Pierce of the M.E. Church, South, and Bishop Lucius Holsey of the Colored (now Christian) M.E. Church, and others, Candler helped found Paine Institute (now Paine College) in Augusta, Georgia. Paine's mission was the higher education of African Americans. As a longtime member of Paine's Board of Trustees, Candler supported the hiring of African Americans to teach, thus helping to create a racially integrated faculty, unusual in the post-Civil War South.

From 1886 until 1888 Rev. Candler served in Nashville, Tennessee as the Assistant Editor of the Christian Advocate, an important periodical in the M.E. Church, South. In this capacity he supported at least some of the goals of the evangelical Holiness Association, though also fearing it might become divisive.

His next assignment was as the tenth President of Emory College. The students nicknamed him "Shorty." He advanced firmly conservative views at Emory. For example, he phased out technological training, implementing a liberal arts curriculum. He also improved the school's finances and increased the size of its faculty.

Episcopal career

Candler was elected a Bishop by the General Conference of the M.E. Church, South in 1898. As Bishop he became concerned with missionary enterprises among other denominational matters.

Bishop Candler also served as spiritual advisor to his brother, Asa Griggs Candler, founder of the Coca-Cola Company. As such, Warren encouraged Asa's support of church causes, particularly Emory. Indeed, the creation of Emory University in Atlanta was enabled largely through the financial backing of Asa.

Emory University

Emory's creation came about when Bishop Candler and some of his colleagues, members of the Board of Trustees of Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, lost influence over that institution. After an unsuccessful 1910 lawsuit to regain their authority, the M.E. Church, South decided instead to establish two new educational institutions, which would be under their control.

The first of these new Methodist educational institutions was Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. The other was to be located somewhere east of the Mississippi River. The Candler brothers combined their influence and resources to win this role for Emory College. Indeed, Asa wrote a check for $1 million to defray the expenses of moving Emory's campus from Oxford to land he donated in his Druid Hills development in the eastern suburbs of Atlanta.

Bishop Candler became the first Chancellor of the new Emory University in 1914. As such he fought for traditional values, forbidding such activities as dramatics clubs and intercollegiate athletics. In addition to the School of Theology, Emory established Law and Medical Schools, and opened a University Hospital, as well. Candler's hope of establishing a School of Education, however, never came to fruition.

Bishop Candler expended great efforts raising funds for Emory. Indeed, though he expressed his desire to retire as Chancellor in 1918, he did not step down until 1922. He remained active as a University Trustee until 1937.

Theological writing

For three decades Candler wrote a column in the Atlanta Journal. He also wrote many articles for religious publications, and fifteen books on biographical and religious topics. His thinking reflected traditionalism tempered by religious idealism. Although he wrote of his belief in Anglo-Saxon superiority, Candler also spoke out very strongly against lynching, for example. In his writings, Candler espoused a paternalistic relationship toward African Americans, and believed that Southern whites had both an obligation to support the education of a "better" class of African American leaders in the South, and to prevent more radical voices from taking the lead in this area. Candler was a member and later President of the Board of Trustees at the historically black Paine College in Augusta, GA, which opened in 1882 under the auspices of Methodist Church South. While not a critic of the American economic system, per se, he did oppose the power of trusts and condemned covetousness in general. A supporter of the traditional Christian creed, he also sought to mitigate the conflict between science and religion. Candler was also outspoken in his opposition to women's suffrage.

Methodist reunification

Not unlike several members of the Episcopacy (particularly in the South), Bishop Candler opposed the reunification of the M.E. and M.E. Church, South. These two denominations divided in 1844 over the issues of slavery and episcopal prerogative. Nevertheless, proponents of reunification persuaded the General Conference of the M.E. Church, South, to establish a rule requiring the retirement of Bishops who had reached the age of seventy-two. This rule removed Candler and another opponent of reunification in 1934, thus paving the way to reunification in 1939.

Nevertheless, Candler continued to write, and announced his intention to "preach until I die." He received many honors and gestures of public affection throughout his Episcopal career, including the gift of a Franklin sedan. Warren Akin Candler died 25 September 1941 in Atlanta, Georgia, being buried in a cemetery adjacent to the Emory campus. Nettie, his wife of more than sixty years, died two years later.

Emory's Candler School of Theology is named in honor of him. Candler College, a prestigious high school located in Havana, Cuba, was also named for him, as was Candler Hospital in Savannah, now known as St. Joseph's/Candler.

Written works

Christus Auctor: A Manual of Christian Evidences (1900)

Wesley and his Work (1912)

Kingdom of God's Dear Son (1921)

Life of Thomas Coke (1923)

Current Comments on Timely Topics (1926)

Bishop Charles Betts Galloway: A Prince of Preachers and Christian Statesman (1927)

Christ and the Creed (1927)

Easter Meditations (1930)

Young J. Allen: The Man Who Seeded China (1931)


Bauman, Mark K., Warren Akin Candler: The Conservative as Idealist, Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1981.

Kemp, Kathryn W., "Warren Akin Candler," The New Georgia Encyclopedia, The Georgia Humanities Council and The University of Georgia Press, 2004-06. retrieved 2 May 2006[1]

Bishop Warren Akin Candler served as the Assistant editor of the Christian Advocate in Nashville, Tennessee from 1886-1888. He was President of Emory College from 1888 to 1898. In 1914, he became the first Chancellor of Emory University, and he continued in that capacity until 1920, where he fought for traditional values, forbidding such activities as dramatics clubs & intercollegiate athletics (while encouraging intermural sports), established law, medical and theology schools and university hospital. He was elected Bishop in Methodist Episcopal Church, South in 1898, Senior Bishop in 1922. He was the younger brother of and spiritual advisory to Asa G. Candler, the founder of the Coca Cola company and a primary financier of the new Emory University in Atlanta. Schooled at Villa Rica, in west Georgia, Candler entered Emory College at the tender age of fifteen and graduated two years later. All of five feet six inches tall, Candler packed a lot of intellectual and persuasive power into his short, round frame, and he knew it. He once said that five feet six inches "is a favorite height in history. . . . Napoleon Bonaparte was just five feet, six inches tall. John Wesley was just five feet, six inches tall. Modesty forbids my saying there were other people five feet, six inches tall." One classmate in fact recounted that Candler was memorable not only for his brilliance as a student but also for his physique. "He was not angular as most youths of fifteen. On the contrary, he was about the roundest boy who had been seen at Emory in many a year." Apparently, his students referred to him as "Shorty" and perhaps in a less flattering manner, "King Shorty."

He was also one of the best debaters, joining both of the literary societies and winning the championship debate at his Commencement on the question, "Ought the Right of Suffrage To Be Restricted to Man?" He argued yes, as he would do for the rest of his life. Notwithstanding those wishes, his wife secretly registered to vote once the right became available. He had a quick wit. The story is told by Alfred M. Pierce, Candler's biographer, that one afternoon when the faculty had not yet shown up for daily chapel well past the appointed hour, the students began to cry "Cut, cut" to assert their freedom to leave. At last, however, the faculty appeared, led by Candler. Still the noise of the students persisted, as they tried to cajole an hour's freedom. Candler would have none of it and took the lectern: "Since I was late, you are entitled to an explanation.

I was searching for a certain text of Scripture. 'Kish said to Saul, Go seek the asses.' "Lo," said Candler, "I have found them." Bishop Candler's funeral was conducted in the Old Church at his request. He was my great-great grandfather. (bio by: Sarah Locklin Taylor)

view all

Bishop Warren Akin Candler's Timeline

Villa Rica, Carroll County, Georgia, United States
November 21, 1877
Age 20
LaGrange, Troup County, Georgia, United States
Age 26
November 4, 1887
Age 30
March 13, 1893
Age 36
Age 38
Age 84