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Adams, William (25 January 1807–31 August 1880), minister and seminary president, was born in Colchester, Connecticut, the son of John Adams, an educator, and Elizabeth Ripley. Adams grew up in Andover, Massachusetts, where his father was the principal of Phillips Academy. He entered Yale College in 1824, where he received his A.B. in 1827. After college he returned home to study at Andover Theological Seminary and to assist his father in teaching. He completed his seminary training in 1830 and was ordained a Congregational minister. He began service as the pastor of a church in Brighton, Massachusetts, in 1831. He married Susan P. Magoun in July 1831. His wife’s illness forced him to resign from the Brighton pastorate in early 1834, but following her death in May, he accepted a ministerial call to the Broome Street (later Central) Presbyterian Church in New York City. Since the Congregational and Presbyterian denominations then enjoyed a spirit of mutual respect and cooperation, Adams switched denominations and was installed as pastor in November 1834. In August 1835 he married Martha B. Magoun, the sister of his first wife....

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Adger, John Bailey (13 December 1810–03 January 1899), Presbyterian missionary and seminary professor, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of James Adger, a merchant and banker, and Sarah Elizabeth Ellison. His father was one of Charleston’s most affluent citizens. A graduate of Union College in Schenectady, New York (1828), and of Princeton Theological Seminary (1833), Adger married Elizabeth Keith Shewsbury of Charleston in June 1834. They would have eight children. Five weeks later the couple sailed to Smyrna, Asia Minor (now Izmir, Turkey), where Adger began his work as a missionary under the sponsorship of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. Adger’s primary work was among the Armenians as a translator and manager of a printing press. During the late 1830s and early 1840s he translated the New Testament, the Westminster Shorter Catechism, and ...

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Barber, Virgil Horace (09 May 1782–27 March 1847), clergyman and educator, was born in Simsbury, Connecticut, the son of Daniel Barber, an Episcopal minister, and Chloe Owen Chase. He studied for the ministry at Dartmouth College (1801–1803), while teaching at Cheshire Academy, where he had begun his formal education. In 1805 he was ordained a deacon of the Episcopal church in Waterbury, Connecticut; two years later, upon ordination to the priesthood, he became its pastor. That same year he married Jerusha Booth; they had four daughters and a son....

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Beard, Richard (27 November 1799–02 December 1880), minister and educator, was born in Sumner County, Tennessee, the son of Adam Beard, a schoolteacher, and Caty Barclay. His mother died in 1804, and his father remarried. Beard’s parents were Presbyterians who came under the influence of the Second Great Awakening, a period of heightened revivalism that began at the end of the eighteenth century and extended into the early years of the nineteenth century. They later became members of the Cumberland Presbyterian church, a denomination that was a direct outgrowth of the revival movement, organized in Dickson, Tennessee, in 1810. Beard was converted and became a member of the New Hope Cumberland Presbyterian church in 1817. Beard was received as a candidate for the ministry by Nashville Presbytery in 1819, licensed in 1820, and ordained in 1822. Because his father was a teacher, Beard’s education had been “more extended than usual for the time in his church” (Crisman, p. 8), but he was required nonetheless to complete a tutorial program that was a prerequisite of the presbytery for anyone studying for the ministry. Candidates for the ministry were required to read and pass examinations on certain standard texts in general education and theology. Given the circumstances of the frontier, and due to the pressing need for ministers, this kind of educational preparation was sometimes accepted by the Cumberland Presbyterian church in lieu of a college degree....

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Beecher, Edward (27 August 1803–28 July 1895), clergyman and educator, was born in East Hampton, New York, the son of Lyman Beecher, a prominent Congregational minister, and Roxana Foote. Although always in the shadow of his more famous father and siblings, Beecher was a leader of the New School wing of the evangelical establishment, promoting a relatively conservative political and social agenda throughout the antebellum period. Beecher grew up in the Federalist stronghold of Litchfield, Connecticut, and graduated valedictorian of his Yale College class in 1822. He then became headmaster of the Hartford Grammar School and studied briefly at Andover before returning to Yale as a tutor in 1825. A year later, at his father’s urging, Beecher declined the offer of an academic position at Dartmouth College in favor of a pastorate at the prestigious Park Street Congregational Church in Boston. Four years later, Beecher’s pastorate fell victim to divisions within his congregation, overwork, and intimations of his psychological instability....

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Bennett, Belle Harris (03 December 1852–20 July 1922), church and ecumenical leader, was born Isabel Harris Bennett on the family plantation, “Homelands,” in Madison County near Richmond, Kentucky, the daughter of Samuel Bennett and Elizabeth Chenault. Belle (as she preferred) was reared in a cultured and affluent but strict Methodist household. Her parents were descendant from early Virginia and Maryland settlers. Her paternal grandfather had migrated to Madison County around 1790 and was known as “Honest John Bennett,” a Methodist itinerant, who supported himself as a farmer and tailor. Isabel Harris, her maternal grandmother, had migrated from Virginia and was related to the Chenaults, a French Huguenot family that had fled to British America to avoid religious persecution. Belle was the younger of two daughters in a family of eight children, all of whom attended the local county school. At age eleven Belle entered a private school conducted by Robert Breck, a Presbyterian minister. Next she attended Nazareth, a Catholic school, near Bardstown, then furthered her training at College Hill, Ohio. As a student she was proficient in belles lettres and the classics but as both an avid reader, especially of history, and a world traveler she continued her education throughout life. In 1916 Kentucky Wesleyan College conferred on her an honorary LL.D....

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Bennett, John Coleman (22 July 1902–27 April 1995), theologian and seminary president, was born in Kingston, Ontario, the son of William Russell Bennett, a Presbyterian minister, and Charlotte Coleman. He attended Williams College (A.B., 1924), Oxford University (A.B. in theology, 1926; M.A., 1930), and Union Theological Seminary (B.D., 1927; S.T.M., 1929). He married Anna Louesa McGrew in 1931; they had three children. He was ordained as a minister in the Congregational Christian Churches in Berkeley, California, in 1939....

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Boisen, Anton Theophilus (29 October 1876–01 October 1965), educator and Presbyterian minister, was born in Bloomington, Indiana, the son of Hermann B. Boisen and Louise Wylie. Because his father was a university professor and his maternal grandfather a Presbyterian pastor and university professor, Boisen was steeped in both academic and ecclesiastical traditions. His mother was the first woman to enroll at Indiana University, from which she graduated in 1871. Boisen’s middle name stemmed from his maternal grandfather, Theophilus Wiley, chairman of the Department of Pure Mathematics at Indiana University and a Scotch-Irish Reformed Presbyterian minister, into whose home the family moved after Hermann Boisen died at age thirty-eight....

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Bowen, John Wesley Edward (03 December 1855–20 July 1933), Methodist educator and theologian, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of Edward Bowen and Rose Simon. His father was a carpenter from Maryland who was enslaved when he moved to New Orleans. After purchasing his own freedom, Edward Bowen bought that of his wife and son in 1858 and served in the Union army during the Civil War. After the war young J. W. E. Bowen studied at the Union Normal School in New Orleans and New Orleans University, which was founded by the Methodist Episcopal church for the education of freedmen. Bowen received a bachelor’s degree with the university’s first graduating class in 1878. Eight years later, New Orleans University awarded him a master’s degree. From 1878 to 1882 Bowen taught mathematics and ancient languages at Central Tennessee College in Nashville....

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Boyce, James Petigru (11 January 1827–28 December 1888), Baptist seminary founder and theologian, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of Ker Boyce, a wealthy banker and merchant, and Amanda Jane Caroline Johnston. His father was among the richest men in the South. Boyce was educated at Charleston College from 1843 to 1845, Brown University from 1845 to 1847, and Princeton Theological Seminary from 1849 to 1851. He married Elizabeth Llewellyn Ficklen in 1858; they had three daughters....

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Brattle, William (22 November 1662–15 February 1717), teacher and minister, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Thomas Brattle, a merchant, and Elizabeth Tyng. Up to the time William was seven years old, his father was a principal participant in the controversial founding of Third (South) Church of Boston, a church advocating ecclesiastic reforms suited to the fast-growing colony. Extending the example of his father, William devoted his later life to reforming Puritan churches and education to best adapt the formerly isolated colony into the more integrated British empire of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries....

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Brawley, Edward McKnight (18 March 1851–13 January 1923), Baptist minister, educator, and editor, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of free African-American parents, Ann L. (maiden name unknown) and James M. Brawley. Brawley’s parents took a keen interest in the education and professional development of their son, providing him private schooling in Charleston, sending him at the age of ten to Philadelphia to attend grammar school and the Institute for Colored Youth, and having him apprenticed to a shoemaker in Charleston from 1866 to 1869. He enrolled as the first theological student at Howard University for a few months in 1870; he transferred to Bucknell University in Pennsylvania in January 1871. The first African-American student at Bucknell, Brawley completed his education with the encouragement and financial support of a white couple named Griffith and his own work teaching vocal music and preaching during school vacations. The white Baptist church in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, with which he had affiliated, ordained him to the ministry the day after his graduation, 1 July 1875; he was examined by a board composed largely of professors and other learned individuals. In 1878 he received the A.M. from Bucknell and, in 1885, an honorary doctor of divinity degree from the State University in Louisville, Kentucky....

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Brown, William Adams (29 December 1865–15 December 1943), Presbyterian theologian, educator, and activist, was born in New York City, the son of John Crosby Brown, the head of Brown Brothers and Company, a large New York banking firm, and Mary Elizabeth Adams, the daughter of William Adams, pastor of the Central (later Madison Square) Presbyterian Church. Both the Brown and Adams families were active in New York philanthropy and, in particular, supported Union Theological Seminary. Brown was educated at Yale University (B.A. 1886, M.A. 1888), Union Theological Seminary (B.D. 1890), and the University of Berlin (1890–1892). Union Seminary appointed Brown to teach church history in 1892; however, one year later the school transferred him to the Department of Theology. He earned a Ph.D. from Yale in 1901. Brown served as professor of theology until 1930, when Union appointed him research professor in applied Christianity. In 1892 he had married Helen Gilman Noyes; they had four children....

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Case, Adelaide Teague (10 January 1887–19 June 1948), religious educator, was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the daughter of Charles Lyman Case, the American manager of the London Assurance Company, and Lois Adelaide Teague. When Adelaide was an infant the Cases moved with their six children to New York City, where she was raised as an Anglican. Case attended the Brearley School in New York City and graduated from Bryn Mawr College (A.B., 1908). She then taught for a year at St. Faith’s Episcopal Boarding School for Girls in Poughkeepsie, New York. In 1910 she enrolled in the graduate program of Columbia University to study history and sociology, but due to tuberculosis, which she had contracted in childhood, she withdrew from the program after one year. She underwent treatment for nearly a year and partially convalesced during a trip to Europe with her parents. From 1914 to 1916 Case worked as a librarian for the Christ Missions House in New York, but she continued to suffer health problems and underwent a serious knee operation in 1916....

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Caulkins, Frances Manwaring (26 April 1795–03 February 1869), author, was born in New London, Connecticut, the daughter of Joshua Caulkins, a seagoing trader who died in Haiti before her birth, and Fanny Manwaring. Her mother married Philemon Haven in 1807. Caulkins attended schools in Norwichtown and Norwich, Connecticut. She was a voracious reader and began early in life to collect information about history and genealogies. She lived with a maternal uncle in New London, where she began to publish essays in local newspapers about people and events of regional interest....

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Coe, George Albert (26 March 1862–09 November 1951), psychologist of religion, religious educator, and political activist, was born in Mendon, New York, the son of the Reverend George W. Coe, a Methodist minister, and Harriet Van Voorhis. He completed the A.B. at the University of Rochester in 1884 and then enrolled in the Boston University School of Theology, where he received the S.T.B. in 1887 and the A.M. in philosophy and world religions in 1888. In 1891, after a year of study at the University of Berlin, he completed a Ph.D. at the Boston University School of All Sciences....

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Coffin, Henry Sloane (05 January 1877–25 November 1954), Presbyterian minister and educator, was born in New York City, the son of Edmund Coffin, an attorney, and Euphemia Sloane, daughter of the founder of the furniture company W. and J. Sloane. Although his father never joined the church, Coffin’s mother was a devout Presbyterian and, along with his maternal grandmother, instilled in Coffin a deep appreciation for the church. After graduating from the Cutler School, a private school for boys in New York City, Coffin received his B.A. from Yale in 1897, winning election to Phi Beta Kappa and the prestigious Skull and Bones. While at Yale he served as president of the Yale Christian Association and participated in the Northfield summer conferences of the renowned evangelist ...

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Cook, John Francis (1810?–21 March 1855), educator and clergyman, was born a slave in the District of Columbia. His mother was Laurena Browning Cook, but his father’s identity is unknown. His mother’s sister, Alethia Browning Tanner, was clearly a dominant influence in his early life. Although she was a slave, her owner allowed her to hire out her own time, and by operating a profitable vegetable market in Washington, D.C., she acquired the money to purchase her own freedom as well as that of her sister and about twenty-one other relatives and acquaintances, including her nephew. Freed at the age of sixteen, Cook apprenticed himself to a shoemaker in order to earn the money repay his aunt....

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Curtis, Olin Alfred (10 December 1850–08 January 1918), pastor and educator, was born in Frankfort, Maine, the son of Reuben Curtis, a minister, and Mary Gilbert. During his youth Curtis’s family moved from Maine to Wisconsin, and as a young man he worked in business in Chicago, Illinois. Deeply influenced by the preaching of evangelist ...

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Dabney, Robert Lewis (05 March 1820–03 January 1898), Presbyterian minister, educator, and author, was born in Louisa County, Virginia, the son of Charles Dabney and Elizabeth Price, farmers. When his father died in 1833, young Dabney assumed much responsibility for oversight of the farm. He attended Hampden-Sydney College for three sessions in 1836 and 1837, then returned again to manage the farming enterprise and to construct an attendant stone mill, all the while also teaching in one of the local schools he had attended as a child. In 1842 Dabney graduated from the University of Virginia with an M.A., and he later credited the liberal arts education from that institution as being formative for his theology....