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John C. Fletcher paper

Identifier: MSS-0522

Scope and Contents

The collection contains the transcript of a presentation titled "The Two Revolutions," given by Fletcher at the Alabama Clergy Conference, 14 May 1970, at Camp McDowell in Nauvoo, Alabama, on the impact of industrial society and the post-industrial revolution on the youth of America.


  • 1970 May 14


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Biographical / Historical

John C. Fletcher, son of Robert and Estelle Fletcher, was born on 1 November 1931 in Bryan, Texas. He attended the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., and graduated with a B.A. in English literature in 1953. He completed a Masters in Divinity degree from the Virginia Theological Seminary in 1956 and was ordained in the Episcopal Church. In 1956 to 1957, he attended the University of Heidelberg on a Fulbright scholarship, translating Deitrich Bonhoeffer's Creation and Fall into English. In 1969, he earned a PhD degree in Christian Ethics at Union Theological Seminary in New York. He married Adele Davis Woodall in September 1954. (His younger sister is Louise Fletcher, the winner of the Best Actress Academy Award in 1975 for portraying Nurse Ratched in the film One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.)

After ordination, he was assistant rector of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Birmingham, Alabama. He was subsequently appointed Chaplain of Washington & Lee University while serving as rector at the Lee Memorial Episcopal Church in Lexington. He later became a member of the faculty at the Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, where his interest in medical ethics was first passed on to his many students.

In 1987, Dr. Fletcher became the Founding Director of the Center for Biomedical Ethics at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. In 1999, he retired as Kornfeld Professor of Biomedical Ethics but continued to speak and write in the field of biomedical ethics. He was elected Professor Emeritus of Biomedical Ethics in Internal Medicine at the University of Virginia in 1999.

Fletcher authored many texts in the field of medical ethics, including An Introduction to Clinical Ethics. He received many awards for his work and dedication to his field. The University of the South, his alma mater, awarded Dr. Fletcher an honorary degree of Civil Laws in 1993. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities in 2000.

Dr. Fletcher drowned (suicide) on 27 May 2004 in Keswick, Virginia.


0.13 Linear Feet (1 item, 8 pieces)

Language of Materials



Transcript of a presentation by John C. Fletcher at the Alabama Clergy Conference, 1970, on the impact of industrial society and the post-industrial revolution on the youth of America




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unknown, 2008; updated by Martha Bace, 2013
Guide to the John C. Fletcher paper
February 2008
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Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266