Speaking of William “Wild Bill Donovan- Letter to Andrew Roberts British Historian and Guest on The Advocates 2-12-11

I wrote a long piece on Saint Patrick’s Day, the life of Saint Patrick and five famous Irish Americans and this vignette is from that long piece. It is about Father Francis Duffy and his influence on Bill Donovan.

Father Duffy, as he was known to almost all New Yorkers in the first quarter of the 20th Century, was the oldest of our group. He, of course, was connected to both FDR and Al Smith through General William “Wild Bill” Donovan, who was a law school classmate of Franklin Roosevelt, and ran for Lt. Governor of NY against Al Smith in 1922. Father Duffy and George M. Cohan also share the distinction of having their statues in Broadway’s theater district. Interestingly James Cagney had a leading role in both film treatments about Duffy and Cohan.

Francis Duffy (1871-1932) was born in Cobourg, Ontario, Canada and immigrated to New York City, where he taught for a time at the College of St. Francis Xavier and where he was awarded a Master’s degree (the school survives as Xavier High School). He became a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, being ordained in 1896. He attended The Catholic University of America, where he earned a doctorate.
After ordination, Duffy served on the faculty of St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie, Yonkers, NY, which trains priests for the Archdiocese of New York. He was professor of Philosophical Psychology (a course more related to the Philosophy of the Human Person, than to Clinical Psychology, in today’s terms), functioned as a mentor to numerous students, and was editor of the New York Review — at the time, this publication was the most scholarly and progressive Catholic theological publication in America. Extremely popular with students, Duffy was part of a group of members of the Dunwoodie faculty who attempted to introduce ground-breaking innovations in seminary curriculum, putting the institution in the forefront of clerical education.

When authors in the New York Review fell under suspicion of the heresy of Modernism, Archbishop Michael Augustine Corrigan, of NY, broke up the faculty and reassigned them to other work.
The New York Review itself never published an article that was suspect, but it did print papers by leading Catholic biblical experts who were part of the newly-emerging schools of biblical criticism, and several of these authors’ other works (which would be uncontroversial today) raised eyebrows in Rome. Duffy himself wrote few signed items in the journal (though he did author parts of it) but was responsible as editor for the entire publication.

Duffy’s new assignment was creating the parish of Our Savior in the Bronx, New York. There, he organized the parish and built a physical structure that combined parish school and the church, one of several innovations he introduced. Throughout this period, Duffy was active in both the Catholic Summer School, a sort of adult summer camp and continuing education system that foreshadowed the explosion in Catholic higher education for the laity today, and in the military — he was regimental chaplain to the 69th New York National Guard Regiment which was federalized for a time during the Spanish-American War.
Already famous in theological circles, Duffy gained wider fame for his involvement as a military chaplain during World War I when the 69th New York (The Fighting 69th) was federalized again and re-designated the 165th U.S. Infantry Regiment. When the unit moved up to the front in France, Duffy accompanied the litter bearers in recovering the wounded and was always seen in the thick of battle.
Lt. Col. William “Wild Bill” Donovan (who would go on to create the OSS in World War II), used Father Duffy’s influence with the men as a key element regarding morale. Duffy went far beyond the actions of a normal cleric. The regiment was composed primarily of New York Irish immigrants and the sons of Irish immigrants, and many wrote later of Duffy’s inspirational leadership. Brigadier General Douglas MacArthur, the commander of his division, admitted later that Duffy was very briefly considered for the post of regimental commander. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the Distinguished Service Medal, the Conspicuous Service Cross (New York State), the Légion d’honneur (France), and the Croix de guerre. Father Duffy is the most highly decorated cleric in the history of the U.S. Army.
Major General William Joseph Donovan, USA, KBE, (January 1, 1883 – February 8, 1959) was an American soldier, lawyer and intelligence officer, best remembered as wartime head of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). He is also widely known as the “father” of today’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). During World War I, Donovan organized and led a battalion of the United States Army, designated the 165th Regiment of the 42nd Division, the federalized designation of the famed 69th New York Volunteers, (the “Fighting 69th”). In France one of his charges was poet Joyce Kilmer. For his service near Landres-et-St. Georges, France, on 14 and 15 October 1918, he was awarded the Medal of Honor. By the end of the war he received a promotion to colonel, the Distinguished Service Cross and three Purple Hearts.
In the wonderful World War I action film, The Fighting 69th (1940), Father Duffy was played by Pat O’Brien. It starred James Cagney and George Brent and the plot is based upon the actual exploits of New York’s 69th Infantry Regiment during the First World War. The regiment was first given that nickname by opposing General Robert E. Lee during the Civil War. O’Brien, who plays Father Duffy, a military chaplain, attempts to reform the character played by Cagney. “Wild Bill” Donovan, played by Brent, is the regimental commander, who ultimately orders Cagney’s character (Jerry Plunkett) to be court-martialed. One of the characters portrayed in this film is Sgt. Joyce Kilmer, the poet. Alan Hale, Sr. plays Sgt. Wynn, who loses both his brothers due to Cagney’s blunders.
Sergeant Kilmer, who was killed in action, was a great poet, no less a great soldier, wrote the famous poem, “Trees.” Kilmer’s companions wrote: “He was worshipped by the men about him. I have heard them speak with awe of his coolness and his nerve in scouting patrols in No Man’s Land.” This coolness and his habit of choosing, with typical enthusiasm, the most dangerous and difficult missions, led to his death.”Kilmer, who was awarded the French Croix de Guerre for valor, was buried in the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery and Memorial, near Fere-en-Tardenois, Aisne, Picardy, France. Although Kilmer is buried in France in an American military cemetery, a cenotaph is located on the Kilmer family plot in Elmwood Cemetery, in New Brunswick, New Jersey. A memorial service was held at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan.

The text stated below is the original written by Kilmer.
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Rouge Bouquet
Joyce Kilmer in France

In a wood they call Rouge Bouquet
There is a new made grave today,
Built by never a spade or pick
Yet covered with earth ten metres thick.
There lie many fighting men,
Dead in their youthful prime,
Never to laugh or love again
Nor taste the Summertime,
For Death came flying through the air
And stopped his flight at the dugout stair,
Touched his prey and left them there,
Clay to clay….
Let your rifles rest on the muddy floor,
You will not need them any more,
Danger’s past,
Now at last,
Go to sleep!

Following the war, he wrote of his exploits in Father Duffy’s Story ( published by George H. Doran Company, New York 1919), a book that grew out of a manuscript originally started by Joyce Kilmer, the poet and convert to Catholicism, who had joined the regiment and had become a close friend to Duffy. When Kilmer was killed in France, he was working on a history of the regiment’s involvement in the war, which Duffy intended to continue, but Duffy was prevailed upon to include his own reminiscences of the war.

He then served as a pastor of Holy Cross Church in Hell’s Kitchen, a block from Times Square, until his death. While there he had one last opportunity to make a contribution to Catholic thought: in 1927, during Al Smith’s campaign for president, the Atlantic Monthly published a letter by Charles Marshall, a Protestant lawyer, which questioned whether a Catholic could serve as a loyal president who would put the nation and the Constitution before his allegiance to the pope (a common thread in American anti-Catholicism). Smith was given a chance to reply: his article, a classic statement of the intellectual ideas behind American Catholic patriotism, hinted at notions of religious freedom and freedom of conscience which would not be spelled out by the Church itself until the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on Religious Freedom in the 1960s. In fact, Al Smith had gone to Father Duffy and asked him to ghostwrite the piece and he did.

The last of our great Irish-Americans was the legendary Al Smith, who was known to everyone in his time. Jim Farley first worked for Smith in his NY State Governor’s campaigns. Smith was associated with FDR from the days that FDR entered the New York State Senate in 1911 and became his great rival and sometime critic. Smith was a political opponent of WWI hero William J. Donovan, whose friendship with Father Duffy was legendary. Later of course, Donovan became an intimate of FDR, worked secretly with him regarding early war-time spying and became the head of the war-time OSS, the Office of Strategic Services, which was the forerunner of the CIA.
Richard J. Garfunkel

PS: In a meeting a number of years ago, with Mr. William vanden Heuval, the former Ambassador to the UN and the current President of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, at his offices on 5th Avenue in New York, and I had suggested a the creation of a new “Birthday Ball Celebration” for Franklin D. Roosevelt. In the course of my conversation I learned that the Ambassador was quite well connected with General William Donovan, the legendary head of the OSS, during the 2nd World War and a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions at the Argonne Forest. He was awarded the Medal of Honor while serving as an officer with the 165th Infantry, formerly known as the Fighting 69th, which of course was part of the famous Rainbow Division. It was nicknamed the “Rainbow Division”, because it was the first division composed of men from all over the United States. This division was home to the famous fighting Tennessean, Sgt. Alvin C. York, who captured and knocked out 20+ German machine gun nests, single-handedly and captured over 130 of the enemy himself.

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A lifelong New Yorker, who now lives full-time in Palm Beach County, Richard was raised in Mount Vernon, New York and he was educated in the Mount Vernon public schools He graduated from Boston University with a BA in American History. After spending a year on Wall Street as a research analyst with Bache & Co., he joined a manufacturing and importing firm, where over the next twenty-five years he rose to the position of chief operating officer. After the sale of that business, Richard entered into the financial services field with Metropolitan Life and is a Registered Representative, who has been associated with Acorn Financial Services which is affiliated with John Hancock Life Insurance Company of Boston, Ma. Today, he is a retired broker who had specialized in long-term care insurance and financial planning. One of Richard’s recent activities was to advise and encourage communities to seek ways to incorporate “sustainability and resiliency” into their future infrastructure planning. After a lifetime in politics, with many years working as a district leader, which involved party organizational work, campaign chair activity and numerous other political tasks, Richard has been involved with numerous civic and social causes. In recent years, Richard served in 2005 as the campaign coordinator of the Re-Elect Paul Feiner Campaign in Greenburgh, NY and he again chaired Supervisor Feiner’s successful landslide victory in 2007. Over the next few years, he advised a number of political candidates. He has served as an appointed Deputy Supervisor of the Town of Greenburgh, with responsibilities regarding the town’s “liaison program.” He was a member of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board of the Town of Greenburgh, NY. Richard has lectured on FDR, The New Deal and 20th century American history in the Mount Vernon schools, at the Westchester Council of Social Studies annual conference in White Plains, and at many senior citizen groups, which include appearances at the Old Guard of White Plains, the Rotary Clubs of Elmsford and White Plains, and various synagogue groups around Westchester. In the winter of 2006 Richard was the leader of the VOCAL forum, sponsored by the Westchester County Office of Aging, which addresses the concerns of Westchester County’s Intergenerational Advocacy Educational Speak-out forums for senior citizens. Richard has given lectures for the Active Retirement Project, which is co-sponsored by the Jewish Community Center on the Hudson, the Greenburgh Hebrew Center, and other groups around Westchester County. Richard also is the founder and Chairperson of the Jon Breen Memorial Fund, that judges and grants annual prizes to students at Mount Vernon High School who submit essays on public policy themes. He also sponsors the Henry M. Littlefield History Prize for the leading MVHS history student. Richard serves on the Student College Scholarship Committee of Mount Vernon High School. In past years Richard chaired and moderated the Jon Breen Fund Award’s cablecast program with the Mayor and local and school officials. Richard has been a member of Blythedale Children’s Hospital’s Planned Giving Professional Advisory Board, and was a founding member of the committee to re-new the FDR Birthday Balls of the 1930’s and 1940’s with the March of Dimes’ effort to eliminate birth defects. Their renewal dinner was held at Hyde Park on January 30, 2003. Richard is currently an active contributor to the Roosevelt Institute, which is involved in many pursuits which included the opening of the Henry A. Wallace Center at Hyde Park, and the Eleanor Roosevelt – Val-Kill Foundation. In 2007, he proposed to the City of Mount Vernon an effort to develop an arts, educational, and cultural center as part of a downtown re-development effort. Richard was a team partner with the Infrastructure & Energy Solutions Group. IEFG which has developed innovative strategies for the 21st Century. Richard hosted a weekly program on WVOX-1460 AM radio, called “The Advocates,” which was concerned with “public policy” issues. The show, which was aired from 2007 until May 15, 2013, has had amongst its guests; Representative Charles Rangel, Chairperson of the House Ways and Means Committee, Mr. Jonathan Alter of Newsweek, along with hundreds of others. All the 300 shows are archived at http://advocates-wvox.com. Richard currently gives lectures on Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, FDR and the Jewish Community, The New Deal, FDR and Douglas MacArthur, 20th Century American Foreign Policy Resulting in Conflict, and Israel’s Right to Exist. Richard lives in Boynton Beach, Fl, with his wife Linda of 44 years. They have two married children. Their daughter Dana is a Rutgers College graduate, with a MS from Boston University, and is the Assistant Director of Recruitment at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Their son Jon is an electrical engineering graduate of Princeton University and a senior software architect at NY/Mellon Bank in NYC. Richard J. Garfunkel rjg727@comcast.net Recent Appearances: KTI Synagogue, Rye Brook, NY- Long Term Care & Estate Conservation- Anshe Shalom Synagogue, New Rochelle, NY- Long Term Care- American Legion Post, Valhalla, NY- Long Term Care and Asset Protection- Doyle Senior Ctr, New Rochelle, NY-Long Term Care and Asset Protection- AME Methodist Ministers, New Rochelle, NY, LTC and Charitable Giving- Profession Women in Construction, Elmsford, NY, LTC and Business Benefits- Kol Ami Synagogue- White Plains, NY, Long Term Care and Disability - Beth El Men's Club-New Rochelle, NY-Long Term Care-Is it Necessary- Greater NY Dental Meeting Javits Ctr, NY, NY- LTC and Disability- IBEW Local #3 , White Plains, NY, Long Term Care and Asset Protection, Health Fair -Bethel Synagogue, New Rochelle, NY-LTC and Disability, Heath Fair- Riverdale Mens Club CSAIR- Riverdale, NY- LTC- Life Weight Watchers of Westchester and the Bronx-LTC and Tax Implications Sunrise Assisted Living of Fleetwood, Mount Vernon, NY-LTC Sprain Brook Manor of Scarsdale-LTC- November 15, 2001 Sunrise Assisted Living of Stamford, Connecticut, February 2002 Kol Ami Synagogue, White Plains, NY, February, 2002 The Old Guard Society of White Plains, NY, April, 2002 The Westchester Meadows, Valhalla, NY August, 2002 Kol Ami Synagogue, White Plains, NY, October, 2002 JCC of Scarsdale, Scarsdale, NY, November, 2002 The Westchester Meadows, Valhalla, NY, January, 2003 The Rotary Club of White Plains, NY January, 2003 The Westchester Meadows, Valhalla, NY April, 2003 Westchester Reform Temple, Scarsdale, NY January, 2004 Mount Vernon High School, Mount Vernon, NY March 2004 Kol Ami/JCC of White Plains, NY November, 2004 The Westchester Reform Temple, Scarsdale, January 2005 The Sunrise of Fleetwood, Mount Vernon, April, 2005 The Woodlands of Ardsley, assisted living, November, 2005 The Woodlands of Ardsley, assisted living, December, 2005 The Woodlands of Ardsley, assisted living, January, 2005 Rotary Club of Elmsford, April, 2006 Kiwanis Club of Yonkers, June, 2006 Greenburgh Jewish Center, November, 2006 Temple Kol Ami, White Plains, February, 2007 Hebrew Institute, White Plains, March, 2007 Temple Kol Ami, White Plains, NY, April, 2007 Westchester Meadows. Valhalla, November, 2007 Hebrew Institute. White Plains, November, 2007 Art Zuckerman Radio Show- January, 2008 JCC of the Hudson, Tarrytown, February, 2008 Matt O’Shaughnessy Radio Show, March, 2008 WVOX –Election Night Coverage, November, 2008 WVOX – Inaugural Coverage, January 20, 2009 The Advocates-host of the WVOX Radio Show, 2007- 2010 Rotary Club of Pleasantville, February, 2009 Hebrew Institute of White Plains, May, 2009 JCC Hudson, Tarrytown, December, 2009-10-11-12 Brandeis Club, Yonkers, March 25, 2010

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