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The Reverend Dr. Peter Marshall (May 27, 1902 – January 25, 1949) was a Scottish-American preacher, and twice served as Chaplain of the United States Senate. He is remembered most popularly from the biography A Man Called Peter, and the film made from it.

Peter Marshall

Born in Coatbridge (North Lanarkshire), Scotland, Marshall heard a strong calling to the ministry at a young age. Despite having no money, he nevertheless migrated to New York in 1927 when he was 24. He graduated from Columbia Theological Seminary in 1931, when he became the pastor of First Presbyterian Church, a small, rural church in Covington, Georgia. After a brief pastorate, Marshall accepted a call to Atlanta's Westminster Presbyterian Church in 1933. It was in Atlanta that he met his future wife, Catherine Wood, a student at Agnes Scott College whom he married in 1936. Marshall became pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. in 1937 and was appointed twice as U.S. Senate Chaplain, serving from January 4, 1947 until his sudden death just over two years later. He was 46 years old.[1] Marshall is buried at Ft. Lincoln Cemetery (Section C, Lot 344, Site 1) in Bladensburg, Maryland. He was survived by his wife and one son, Peter John Marshall.

Marshall's widow went on to write her husband's biography, A Man Called Peter (1951), which was later made into an Oscar-nominated film of the same title (as well as a stage play available through Dramatic Publishing) (1955) directed by Henry Koster and featuring Richard Todd as Peter Marshall, and Jean Peters as Catherine Marshall.[2] Todd studied tape recordings of several Peter Marshall sermons from 1947-48; some of these historic recordings were later released to the public by Caedmon Records.

Catherine Marshall eventually wrote over 20 books, including many editions of her late husband's sermons, several inspirational books, and the best-selling novel Christy. She married divorcé Leonard LeSourd, executive editor of Guideposts magazine, in 1959.[3] Catherine died on March 18, 1983, and was buried next to Peter Marshall.

Marshall's son followed his father into the Presbyterian clergy and now runs a national ministry from Orleans, Massachusetts. He has also authored many books on the Christian faith in the United States.


  1. ^ Marshall, Catherine. A Man Called Peter, Chosen Books, Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1951.
  2. ^ A Man Called Peter at the Internet Movie Database
  3. ^ UPI. "Mrs. Catherine Marshall marries religious editor," The Dallas Morning News, November 15, 1959.

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