As a minister, an educator, world traveler, art critic, political economist and devoted family man, John McVickar was a well-rounded personality whose full life might be the envy of us all. To create the biography of such a man is no mean feat -- it is necessary to survey his professorial career at Columbia College; to pursue him through his extended travels in England and on the Continent in search of knowledge related to all his interests; to take stock of his many and varied associations with leaders of the world of belles lett. McVickar, an Irish-American who died in 1868, was first in many things on the American scene, and in advance of his contemporaries. He early advocated an international copyright law, understood the need and principles of banking reform, and labored in behalf of an extended public education system for New York City. The story of his career is a reminder of how much a man can accomplish when he chooses to exercise all of his intellectual energies.