A Tribute – Mary-Elaine Swanson

James B. Rose, President, American Christian History Institute

Quickened by the research and remarkable testimony of Verna M. Hall, American Christian Historian, Mary Elaine Swanson (nee Adams) has devoted her spiritual and intellectual gifts for the last fifty years to documenting the Christian history and character of the men and women God used to advance individual liberty and self-government in America.

Equipped with a background in journalistic writing and research, fluent in French, and enriched with a unique English heritage, Mary-Elaine has lectured and written on the history of freedom and civil government as Vice President of the American Christian History Institute, Resident Scholar for the Mayflower Institute, Resident Scholar for the Foundation for American Christian Education, and Guest Lecturer for the Pilgrim Institute, among other ministries.

She has written concise biographies of the character and contributions of nearly sixty historians from Simon Adler and Clarence Alvord to John Witherspoon and Rev. John Joachim Zubly.  Her life and works are examples of American Christian scholarship and insistence upon accurate, honest representations of man and government.

Mary-Elaine wrote two comprehensive biographies: The Education of James Madison – A Model for Today (1992) and the soon-to-be released John Locke – Philosopher of the American Revolution (Nordskog Publishing, 2011)  These two works alone cite over 160 individual historians, confirming her commitment to thorough research and devotion to primary resources.

Among the cherished personal recollections of this beloved sister in the Lord is my first impression of her, in 1958, over 50 years ago.  She was Co-Chairman during Verna Hall’s fifteen year Study Group on the Historic Origins of the Constitution held monthly at the Women’s City Club in downtown San Francisco.  A lively, quick witted, articulate discussion leader, she was gifted with a capacity to frame questions that compelled one to reason carefully from first principles and to quickly learn that any error in the premise would lead to an error in the conclusion. 

It is with great joy that her friends and associates celebrate Mary-Elaine Swanson’s life of Christian scholarship and her love of learning and teaching America’s Christian history and government and, in the spirit of the Apostle Paul, REMEMBER “without ceasing (her) work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, and in the sight of God our Father; knowing brethren beloved, (her) election of God” unto life eternal. [I Thessalonians 1:3-4]

“…and let her own works praise her in the gates.”  [Proverbs 31:31[

James B. Rose, President, American Christian History Institute
Printed with permission

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  1. Wow! I am so inspired!!!

    • Art Ricciardi
    • May 31, 2011

    Mrs. Swanson you made many scholarly contributions to me and many others that I will not enumerate here, yet I wish to thank you for a lesson you taught me over 28 years ago.

    As a student in a summer conference held at Winona Lake, Indiana hosted by the Pilgrim Institute, you taught a life-changing lesson one evening after dinner. I have remembered this lesson transmitted it to others all these years to your credit. You revealed your technique for “discovering” principles “hidden” in historical documents. You, your Christian character and your effective and masterful teaching left an indelible impression on me. You expertly imparted the ability to “see” that which was “unseen” to a small number of beginners. A teaching and learning miracle occurred that evening, resulting in many students of America’s Christian history now able to see the unseen.

    Thank you for this valuable contribution to my life.
    Art Ricciardi. Ed. D.

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