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Horace J. Shaw, 1940s.

Photo courtesy of Center for Adventist Research

Shaw, Horace John (1909–2000)

By Milton Hook


Milton Hook, Ed.D. (Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, the United States). Hook retired in 1997 as a minister in the Greater Sydney Conference, Australia. An Australian by birth Hook has served the Church as a teacher at the elementary, academy and college levels, a missionary in Papua New Guinea, and as a local church pastor. In retirement he is a conjoint senior lecturer at Avondale College of Higher Education. He has authored Flames Over Battle Creek, Avondale: Experiment on the Dora, Desmond Ford: Reformist Theologian, Gospel Revivalist, the Seventh-day Adventist Heritage Series, and many magazine articles. He is married to Noeleen and has two sons and three grandchildren.

Horace Shaw, founding editor of Focus magazine, taught at Andrews University for many years in the areas of religion and communication and used his expertise in those fields to make memorable contributions to the cause of religious liberty.

Early Years

Horace John Shaw was born on April 19, 1909, in Mussorie, the hills district of northeast India. His parents were John and Bessie (Guilford) Shaw. His older sibling was Bessie Ramabai Shaw, born in 1907.1 At the time his father was director of the India Mission and his mother was serving as Sabbath School secretary.2

When Horace was two years old his father was transferred to the General Conference office at Takoma Park, Washington, D.C. John L. Shaw eventually served as GC treasurer (1922-1936).3 Horace completed his secondary education in May 1927 at Takoma Academy. During 1927 and 1928 he studied theology at Emmanuel Missionary College (now Andrews University) in Berrien Springs, Michigan.4 He then returned to Takoma Park and joined a team of student colporteurs, funding his fees at Washington Missionary College (now Washington Adventist University).5 He graduated in May 1932 with a bachelor’s degree in theology, education and history. After his graduation Horace toured Europe and the Middle East for twelve months and returned to marry Dorothy Judith Alderman.6

Minister, Professor, Communicator

Shaw began ministry in Vineland, New Jersey, in 1933 and two years later transferred to the Florida Conference for a further two years.7 In Florida he conducted evangelistic crusades at West Palm Beach and Fort Pierce.8 He was ordained to the gospel ministry on February 20, 1937 at the Southern Union Conference session in Chattanooga, Tennessee.9 From 1937 through 1944 Shaw ministered in the Southeastern California Conference.10 Part of that time, 1939 through 1941, he taught Bible and world history at Loma Linda Academy. It was his first teaching experience and subsequently his interest turned to uniting evangelism with teaching.11

In August 1949, Shaw completed an M.A. at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., with a speech and homiletics major and church history minor. It cast the die for the remainder of his career. He was immediately appointed to Emmanuel Missionary College (EMC) as instructor in speech. From 1956 through 1959 he took leave at his own expense to earn a Ph.D. from the College of Communication Arts at Michigan State University. The title of his dissertation was “A Rhetorical Analysis of the Speaking of Mrs Ellen G. White, a Pioneer Leader and Spokeswoman of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.” In the 1960s Shaw was listed at EMC, then Andrews University (AU), as a lecturer in applied theology and church history. In the latter field he taught a course in the history of religious liberty. From 1964 through 1966 he specialized in speech science and expository preaching from the Old and New Testaments.12

In 1966 Shaw was appointed director of public relations at AU, a role in which he established Focus magazine as a means to disseminate news about all aspects of campus life, and served as its first editor. He held the office until 1971.13

Religious Liberty and Other Involvements

It is difficult to pinpoint a retirement date for Horace Shaw. He was never one to sit in a rocking chair and rest his feet. And he and Dorothy had no children to preoccupy their time. Horace maintained good health and many interests, both on and off campus. He remained professor of speech emeritus at AU. He lectured on behalf of the Michigan Temperance Society and conducted the Five-Day Plan to stop smoking many times in the vicinity. He was a charter member of the board for Your Story Hour, a long-running radio program for children. He recruited students and worked with the AU Alumni Association. At Pioneer Memorial Church on the Andrews campus he served as an elder, public relations secretary and religious liberty secretary.14

Shaw was also an announcer and host of the American Religious Town Hall television program, a forum where representatives of all religions were encouraged to freely discuss topical issues from their various faith perspectives.15 From 1968 he was a trustee of the program and in 1981 published the biography of A. A. Leiske, Seventh-day Adventist founder of the show.16

Shaw’s community spirit rose to the fore with the successful campaign to save and renovate the 1839 county courthouse in Berrien Springs and establish it as a local museum.17 In 1975 Horace and Dorothy donated to the museum a vintage Kodak camera that was owned by Henry Ford and passed down through Dorothy’s family. Later, in 1985, Horace donated his father’s library and letter collection, together with a collection of his own letters and manuscripts, to what is now the Center for Adventist Research.18

As part of the American bicentennial celebrations in 1976 Shaw dressed as Uncle Sam and joined a wagon train trek from Michigan to Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, stopping at intervals to conduct bicentennial programs. He distributed brochures that advertised both AU and Berrien Springs Courthouse Museum in addition to cards that people could sign as a pledge to religious liberty principles on which America was founded. He revelled in his notoriety as Uncle Sam and continued to act the part at gatherings of the AU Alumni Association, of which he became executive secretary.19

Dorothy passed away in Berrien Springs in 1988 at the age of 79 and was laid to rest in the local Rose Hill Cemetery.20 Horace was almost ninety years of age when he passed away on January 16, 2000. He rests alongside Dorothy in the same cemetery.21


“Dorothy Alderman Shaw obituary.” Lake Union Herald, May 1988.

“Florida News Notes.” Southern Tidings, May 26, 1937.

“Fruits of Evangelism.” Southern Tidings, September 23, 1936.

“Horace John Shaw.” Find A Grave, Memorial ID no. 402268408. Accessed February 12, 2021,

“Horace John Shaw Faculty Biographical Information Form.” Folder: Horace John Shaw. Work Service Records. Andrews University James White Library Archive, Berrien Springs, Michigan.

“Horace John Shaw.” Accessed February 1, 2021,

“Horace John Shaw obituary.” Focus, Winter 2000.

“John Luis Shaw obituary.” ARH, August 28, 1952.

Jones, J. K. “Report of the Recent Session of the Southern Union Conference and Changes of Workers in the Field.” Southern Tidings, March 10, 1937.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald. Accessible at General Conference Office of Archives Statistics and Research Online Archives,

“Shaw Donates Collection to Heritage Room.” Lake Union Herald, March 26, 1985.

“Valley Forge or Bust.” Lake Union Herald, June 8, 1976.

“W.M.C’s Student Colporteurs.” Columbia Union Visitor, December 20, 1928.


  1. “Horace John Shaw,”, accessed February 1, 2021,

  2. “India Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook for 1909, 137.

  3. “John Luis Shaw obituary,” ARH, August 28, 1952, 22.

  4. “Horace John Shaw Faculty Biographical Information Form,” Horace John Shaw folder, Work Service Records, Andrews University James White Library Archives, Berrien Springs, Michigan.

  5. “W.M.C.’s Student Colporteurs,” Columbia Union Visitor, December 20, 1928, 1.

  6. “Horace John Shaw Faculty Biographical Information Form”; “Horace John Shaw obituary,” Focus, Winter 2000, 35.

  7. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook for 1936, 370, and Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook for 1937, 62-63.

  8. “Fruits of Evangelism,” Southern Tidings, September 23, 1936, 4; “Florida News Notes,” Southern Tidings, May 26, 1937, 4.

  9. J. K. Jones, “Report of the Recent Session of the Southern Union Conference and Changes of Workers in the Field,” Southern Tidings, March 10, 1937, 1.

  10. “Southeastern California News Notes,” Pacific Union Recorder, June 30, 1937, 6.

  11. “Horace John Shaw Faculty Biographical Information Form.”

  12. Ibid.

  13. Douglas A. Jones, “90s Retro,” Focus, Winter 2000, 3; “Horace John Shaw obituary.”

  14. “Horace John Shaw obituary.”

  15. Ibid.

  16. “Shaw Donates Collection to Heritage Room,” Lake Union Herald, March 26, 1985, 16.

  17. “Horace John Shaw obituary,”

  18. “Shaw Donates Collection to Heritage Room,” Lake Union Herald, March 26, 1985, 16.

  19. “Valley Forge or Bust,” Lake Union Herald, June 8, 1976, 16.

  20. “Dorothy Alderman Shaw obituary,” Lake Union Herald, May 1988, 31.

  21. “Horace John Shaw,” Find A Grave, Memorial ID no. 42268408, accessed February 12, 2021,


Hook, Milton. "Shaw, Horace John (1909–2000)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 28, 2021. Accessed January 27, 2022.

Hook, Milton. "Shaw, Horace John (1909–2000)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 28, 2021. Date of access January 27, 2022,

Hook, Milton (2021, April 28). Shaw, Horace John (1909–2000). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved January 27, 2022,