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Andrews, Elisha Benjamin (10 January 1844–30 October 1917), clergyman and college president, was born in Hinsdale, New Hampshire, the son of Erastus Andrews, a Baptist minister and politician, and Almira Bartlett, a schoolteacher. When Benjamin (as he was always known) was six months old, his father accepted a new pastorate in Sanderland, Massachusetts, and relocated the family to Montague, Massachusetts, where Andrews attended local schools and was occasionally tutored by his mother before the family moved yet again in 1858 to Suffield, Connecticut. In Suffield his father presided over the First Baptist Church and took advantage of the nearby Connecticut Literary Institute, also a Baptist institution, for the education of his children. Shortly after their move to Suffield, Andrews seriously injured his left foot; after a slow and painful recovery that prevented his attendance at school until 1860, he resumed his education at the Literary Institute....

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Banvard, Joseph (09 May 1810–28 September 1887), Baptist clergyman and author, was born in New York City, the son of Daniel Banvard, a businessman. His mother’s name is unknown. When Banvard was in his early twenties, his father lost his savings in a failed business venture and died shortly after, leaving the family in financial difficulties. His younger brother, the painter ...

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Barbour, Clarence Augustus (21 April 1867–16 January 1937), clergyman and educator, was born in Hartford, Connecticut, the son of Heman Humphrey Barbour, a probate judge, and Myra Barker. Barbour received his A.B. from Brown University in 1888. At Brown he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, chosen Senior Class Day orator, and received many other honors. He also taught in the evening public school program of Providence and, during his senior year, served as principal of the Richmond Street Evening School, supervising sixteen teachers who taught 400 pupils. In 1891 he completed his B.D. at Rochester Theological Seminary, was ordained to the Baptist ministry, and accepted a call as the pastor of the Lake Avenue Baptist Church in Rochester, New York. His decision to enter this field was perhaps influenced by his father’s efforts to improve the welfare of convicts and reform drunkards. The same year he married Florence Isabelle Newell; they had four children....

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Broadus, John Albert (24 January 1827–16 March 1895), Baptist clergyman and professor, was born in Culpeper County, Virginia, the son of Edmund Broadus, a state legislator, and Nancy Sims. Broadus stood in a long line of preachers, politicians, and revolutionary heroes, which included his father, who served for twenty years in the state legislature of Virginia. After a brief period of teaching, in 1846 he entered the University of Virginia, graduating in 1850 with an M.A. in the humanities and ancient languages (in later years he was offered two different chairs at the university, those in Greek and moral philosophy, which he declined). During college he was converted to Christianity and joined the Baptist denomination. With his vocation as yet undecided, he accepted the pastorate of the Charlottesville Baptist Church but also kept his hand in education by serving as chaplain to the university and teaching classical languages. Thus began his lifelong attempt to synthesize faith and reason, piety and learning. His efforts resulted in the university’s becoming an unofficial educational center for Baptists in Virginia at a time when the denomination sponsored few institutions of higher learning. He served both the church and the university between 1851 and 1859....

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Callender, John (1706–26 January 1748), Baptist clergyman and historian, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of John Callender, a shopkeeper, and Priscilla Man. His grandfather, Ellis Callender, was lay preacher at the First Baptist Church from 1708 to 1726. At the age of thirteen, Callender entered Harvard College. As a scholarship student, he was supported with the income from the benefactions of Thomas Hollis and later with funds supplied by ...

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Conwell, Russell Herman (15 February 1843–06 December 1925), lecturer and minister, was born in South Worthington, Massachusetts, the son of Martin Conwell and Miranda Wickham, farmers. Conwell attended Wilbraham (Wesleyan) Academy and Yale University before enlisting in the Union army in 1862. During the war he served as captain of two Massachusetts volunteer units guarding Union installations near New Bern, North Carolina. Although he was dismissed from the military after being charged with deserting his post during a Confederate attack, Conwell claimed to have later been reinstated into the army by General ...

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Dagg, John Leadley (13 February 1794–11 June 1884), Baptist minister and educator, was born in a log cabin near Middleburg, Loudoun County, Virginia, the son of Robert Dagg, the saddler and postmaster of the village, and Sarah Davis. Poverty contributed in part to his limited formal education, which ended after six years. At fourteen he began to teach in a small school near Middleburg. Though lacking a college degree he had innate intellectual abilities evidenced by his mastery of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. While studying by candlelight, however, he damaged his eyesight so severely that after 1823 he could read and write only with the assistance of others....

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Dixon, Thomas (11 January 1864–03 April 1946), author, clergyman, and lecturer, was born Thomas Dixon Jr. near Shelby, North Carolina, the son of Thomas Dixon, a Baptist minister and farmer, and Amanda McAfee Dixon. Thomas, the third of five children, was born during the Civil War. The Dixon family, which had once been prosperous, was reduced to extreme poverty by the war's end in 1865, owing to the collapse of the Southern economy and the destruction of farmland. During the ensuing years of Reconstruction, as lawlessness stalked the South, the elder Dixon struggled to support his wife and children, and their humiliation and degradation led him, like many other formerly prosperous Southerners, to join the Ku Klux Klan. The Klan, a vigilante organization of white males that proclaimed the supremacy of the white race, had been founded in 1866 to restore honor to the South and to oppose social and political advancement by Negroes, as African Americans were then called. Both the senior Dixon and his brother, the favorite uncle of Thomas Dixon Jr., became leaders in the Klan, and young Thomas grew to adulthood revering the Klan and its teachings....

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Faunce, William Herbert Perry (15 January 1859–31 January 1930), Baptist clergyman and university president, was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, the son of Daniel Worcester Faunce, a clergyman, and Mary Parkhurst Perry. Faunce entered Brown University in 1876, receiving his A.B. in 1880 and his A.M. in 1883; he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in his junior year. He attended Newton Theological Institution in Newton Centre, Massachusetts, from 1880 to 1884, spending one academic year (1881–1882) at Brown as an instructor in mathematics. In 1884 he married Sarah Rogers Edson; they had one child. That same year, he was ordained and assumed the pastorate of the State Street Baptist Church in Springfield, Massachusetts....

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Fuller, Thomas Oscar (25 October 1867–21 June 1942), educator, clergyman, and politician, was born in Franklinton, North Carolina, the son of J. Henderson Fuller and Mary Elizabeth (maiden name unknown). Fuller’s father was a former slave who had purchased his freedom and later his wife’s with money earned as a skilled wheelwright and carpenter. While a slave, the elder Fuller taught himself to read, and after the Civil War he became active in Republican politics. During Reconstruction he served as a delegate to the 1868 state Republican convention and as a local magistrate....

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Goodspeed, Thomas Wakefield (04 September 1842–16 December 1927), clergyman and educational leader, was born in Glens Falls, New York, the son of Stephen Goodspeed, an unsuccessful small business entrepreneur, and Jane Johnson. An old stock Protestant, Goodspeed was set on a course for the Baptist ministry by his devout mother. He prepared for the ministry first in academies and preparatory schools in Glens Falls and Poughkeepsie, New York, and later in Galesburg, Illinois, after his family moved to the Midwest in 1855. In 1859 he entered the first University of Chicago, thereby beginning his involvement in a distinctive episode in the history of American higher education....

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Henderson, Charles Richmond (17 December 1848–29 March 1915), sociologist and minister, was born in Covington, Indiana, the son of Albert Henderson and Loraine Richmond. Henderson received an A.B. from the University of Chicago in 1870 and a B.D. (1873) and a D.D. (1875) from the Baptist Union Theological Seminary. After graduating from the seminary, he was ordained and became the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Terre Haute, Indiana, in 1873. In 1882 he became the pastor of Detroit’s Woodward Avenue Baptist Church, where he remained for ten years. He served these churches with distinction....

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Jewett, Milo Parker (27 April 1808–09 June 1882), educator, clergyman, and first president of Vassar Female College (later Vassar College), educator, clergyman, and first president of Vassar Female College (later Vassar College), was born in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, the son of Calvin Jewett, a physician, and Sally Parker. After graduating with a bachelor of arts degree from Dartmouth College in 1828, Jewett served for a brief period as principal of Holmes Academy in New Hampshire while at the same time reading law. Subsequently he prepared himself for the ministry at Andover Theological Seminary, receiving a divinity degree in 1833. During this period he developed a keen interest in the emerging common school (public school) education movement and gave public lectures to popularize its growth. Jewett was married in 1833 to Jane Augusta Russell, also a New Englander. They were childless....

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Johnson, Mordecai Wyatt (12 January 1890–10 September 1976), university president and clergyman, was born in Paris, Henry County, Tennessee, the son of the Reverend Wyatt Johnson, a stationary engine operator in a mill, and Caroline Freeman. Johnson received his grammar school education in Paris, but in 1903 he enrolled in the Academy of the Roger Williams University in Nashville, Tennessee. The school burned in 1905, so Johnson finished the semester at the Howe Institute in Memphis. In the fall of that year, he moved to Atlanta to finish high school in the preparatory department of Atlanta Baptist College (renamed Morehouse College in 1913). There he completed a bachelor’s degree in 1911. While at Atlanta Baptist, Johnson played varsity football and tennis, sang in various groups, and began his long career as a public speaker on the debating team....

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Jones, John William (25 September 1836–17 March 1909), minister and author, was born at Louisa Court House, Virginia, the son of Colonel Francis William Jones and Ann Pendleton Ashby. As a young man Jones underwent a conversion experience that led to his decision to enter the Baptist ministry. After attending preparatory academies in Louisa and Orange counties, he enrolled at the University of Virginia, where he was active in a number of religious activities, including serving as treasurer of the Young Men’s Christian Association and teaching Sunday school. After graduation in 1859, he became a member of the first class at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Greenville, South Carolina. Jones graduated from the seminary and was ordained in 1860. Although he was approved by his denomination for missionary work in China, the political turmoil in the United States delayed his departure, and he returned to Louisa County, Virginia, to become the pastor of the Little River Baptist Church. He married Judith Page Helm in December 1860; they had five children....

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MacLeish, Martha Hillard (17 August 1856–19 December 1947), religious and educational leader, was born in Hadlyme, Connecticut, the daughter of Elias Brewster Hillard, a Congregational minister, and Julia Whittlesey. After graduating from Vassar College in 1878 she taught school in Connecticut and spent three years at Vassar as a mathematics teacher. In 1884 she became principal of Rockford (Ill.) Seminary, whose founder had recently retired. Rockford, like Mount Holyoke Seminary, which it resembled, was in the process of becoming a genuine college. MacLeish raised academic standards, introduced an honors system, built a gymnasium, and increased social ties with the nearby men’s college, Beloit. She left Rockford in 1888 to become the third wife of Andrew MacLeish, a partner in the Chicago department store Carson, Pirie Scott. The couple had five children, including the poet ...

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Manning, James ( October 1738–29 July 1791), Baptist clergyman and founding president of Rhode Island College (now Brown University), Baptist clergyman and founding president of Rhode Island College (now Brown University), was born in Elizabeth Township, New Jersey. The first names and occupations of his parents are uncertain. Manning attended Hopewell Academy, a Baptist grammar school in New Jersey. After completing the course of study at Hopewell, he entered the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University), where he studied under ...

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Maxcy, Jonathan (02 September 1768–04 June 1820), college president and Baptist minister, was born on his father’s Attleborough, Massachusetts, estate, the son of Levi Maxcy, a member of the colonial Massachusetts legislature, and Ruth Newell. The youngest of his three brothers was Virgil Maxcy, who would later serve as a member of both houses of the Maryland legislature; solicitor of the U.S. Treasury; and charge d’affaires to Belgium. Jonathan Maxcy prepared at Wrentham Academy and in 1783 entered Rhode Island College (renamed Brown University in 1804), where he studied the Scottish rhetoricians, whose writings the college president, ...

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Morgan, Abel (1673–16 December 1722), Baptist minister, translator, and biblical scholar, was born in Alltgoch, Llanwenog, Cardiganshire, Wales, the son of Morgan ap Rhydderch ap Dafydd, a Baptist pastor; his mother’s name is unknown. Although the details of Morgan’s formal education are obscure, his accomplishments indicate that care was taken, for he followed in the traditions of an uncle, a great-uncle, and a great-grandfather, all of whom were noted as poets, writers, or translators....

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Newton, Joseph Fort (21 July 1876–24 January 1950), Baptist, Universalist, and Episcopal minister, lecturer, and author, was born in Decatur, Texas, the son of Lee Newton, a Baptist minister and lawyer, and Sue Green Battle. Raised according to the rigid doctrinal standards and strict moral code in place among Texas Baptists at the turn of this century, much of Newton’s life was a pilgrimage in search of gentler, more open-ended religious insight. Largely self-educated, he learned classical languages and literature with his mother’s help, and in 1895 he was ordained a Baptist minister. Later that year he entered Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, where his predilection for a liberalized religious perspective became more intensified. He read widely, learning more from poets and critical essayists than from the formal syllabus prescribed for divinity students. Newton searched for a faith that could satisfy the mind while it sanctified the heart. He grew increasingly dissatisfied with theological tenets that separated churches, and in 1897 he left both the seminary and the denomination because he found sectarian exclusiveness to be absurd and reactionary dogmas embarrassing....