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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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Adler, Cyrus (13 September 1863–07 April 1940), academic administrator and Jewish communal leader, was born in Van Buren, Arkansas, to Samuel Adler, a merchant and planter, and Sarah Sulzberger. At an early age Adler’s family moved to Philadelphia and then to New York, where his father died in 1867. The family returned to Philadelphia, where his mother’s brother, David Sulzberger, became head of the household and was a great influence on Adler’s upbringing. As a boy, Adler received an intensive education in Judaic subjects from a consortium of Philadelphia rabbis, headed by ...

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Alison, Francis (1705–28 November 1779), Presbyterian minister and educator, was born in the parish of Leck, County Donegal, in the province of Ulster in Ireland, the son of Robert Alison, a weaver. His mother’s name is not known. Circumstantial evidence suggests that he was educated at one of the clandestine Presbyterian academies, probably that of Francis Hutcheson in Dublin. He received the bulk of his collegiate instruction before attending the University of Edinburgh, where he was awarded an M.A. in January 1733. He then studied divinity for two years, probably at the University of Glasgow, which awarded him a doctor of divinity degree in 1756, an honor that was usually extended only to an alumnus. Alison returned to Ireland and was licensed by the presbytery of Letterkenny in June 1735. He immediately sailed to Pennsylvania....

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Anderson, David Lawrence (04 February 1850–16 March 1911), China missionary and first president of Suzhou University, was born in Summerhill, South Carolina, the son of James Harkins Anderson and Mary Margaret Adams. For two years he attended Washington and Lee University, at that time under the presidency of ...

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Anderson, Matthew (25 January 1845–11 January 1928), Presbyterian pastor, educator, and social reformer, was born in Greencastle, Pennsylvania, the son of Timothy Anderson and Mary Croog. One of fourteen children, he was raised in the comforts of a rural, middle-class home, less than thirty miles from historic Gettysburg. On a typical day of his youth, he faced the physical demands of farm life and experienced the movement back and forth between two cultures. One, dominated by commerce and materialism, was uncharacteristically open to the Andersons, who owned lumber mills and real estate at a time when most black Americans were dehumanized and disenfranchised by chattel slavery. The other was a culture defined by close family ties and Presbyterian piety. At home Matthew heard Bible stories and dramatic tales of runaway slaves; indeed, religious piety and the pursuit of racial freedom were dominant themes in his life. These early experiences inspired Anderson so deeply that, by the time he left Greencastle in 1863, he had decided on the ministry as his vocation. Study at Oberlin College was the first step toward serving his religious faith, his racial group, and his vision of social justice....

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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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Baker, Daniel (17 August 1791–10 December 1857), minister and educator, was born in Midway, Georgia (now in Liberty County); his parents’ names are unknown. Orphaned at the age of fourteen, he moved to Savannah, Georgia, where he worked as a store clerk. The religious atmosphere of Savannah had an enormous influence on this young man, and he soon chose a career in the ministry. Baker also understood the importance of an education, and in 1811 he enrolled in Hampden-Sidney College in Virginia. In 1813 he continued his education at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), graduating in 1815....

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Ballou, Hosea, 2d (18 October 1796–27 May 1861), Universalist minister and educator, was born in Guilford, Vermont, the son of Asahel Ballou and Martha Starr, farmers. His parents were hard-working, frugal, intelligent, and affectionate people, and these values shaped his personality.

Ballou’s limited formal education scarcely satisfied his passion for learning, but he mastered Latin with the help of a neighboring minister and also became proficient in Greek, French, German, and Hebrew. At fifteen he worked briefly as a schoolteacher in the nearby town of Marlboro. His parents considered sending him to college but, as Universalists, were suspicious of the New England colleges, which they felt were controlled by Congregationalists and so kept him at home....

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Barrows, John Henry (11 July 1847–03 June 1902), minister and college president, was born near Medina, Michigan, the son of John Manning Barrows, a Congregational minister and college professor, and Bertha Anthony Butler, a teacher. He was educated by his parents and in the preparatory department of newly opened Olivet College, where his father became professor of natural science in 1860. Barrows graduated from the college in 1867 and with his brother Walter spent 1867–1868 at Yale Divinity School and the following year at Union Theological Seminary. His brother’s ill health then forced them to leave school and join their family in Osage County, Kansas....

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Bascom, Henry Bidleman (27 May 1796–08 September 1850), Methodist bishop and educator, was born in Hancock, New York, the son of Alpheus Bascom and Hannah Bidleman Houk. Poverty kept the family on the move in search of better living conditions, first in western New York, then northern Kentucky, and finally (1813) in southern Ohio. Young Bascom received some formal schooling until he was twelve years old, but penury forestalled further studies. He joined the Methodists at the age of fifteen, and two years later, in 1813, the Ohio Annual conference of the Methodist church licensed him to preach. During that year he was also admitted as preacher on trial and appointed to the Brush Creek Circuit where his newly settled parental home was situated. Bascom’s gifts of imagination and powerful expression were quickly recognized as he filled various preaching circuits in Ohio, Tennessee, and Kentucky over the next decade. His travels to as many as thirty preaching places per month was tiring and often dangerous, but the itinerant evangelist persevered and impressed many with both his zeal and remarkable power of expression....

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Beardshear, William Miller (07 November 1850–05 August 1902), United Brethren minister and college president, was born on a farm outside of Dayton, Ohio, the son of John Beardshear and Elizabeth Coleman, devout members of the United Brethren church. William enlisted in the 184th Ohio Infantry in 1864 and served in the Civil War until its conclusion in 1865....

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Beman, Nathan Sidney Smith (26 November 1785–06 August 1871), Presbyterian clergyman and educator, was born in New Lebanon, New York, the son of Samuel Beman and Silence Douglass. Beman matriculated at Williams College in 1803 but withdrew after the second term; following a year’s teaching at Fairhaven, Vermont, he continued his studies at Middlebury College. After graduation in 1807, Beman became preceptor at Lincoln Academy, Newcastle, Maine, where he studied theology with Kiah Bailey. He returned to Middlebury as tutor in 1809....

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Blaustein, David (05 May 1866–26 August 1912), rabbi, educator, and social worker, was born in Lida, Russian Poland, the son of Isaiah Blaustein and Sarah Natzkovsky. The family was of humble means, and David was eight years old when his father died. Nine years later he ran away from home to the Prussian town of Memel in order to obtain an education. He then journeyed to Schwerin, the capital of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, where he enrolled in a Jewish teacher’s preparatory school under the leadership of Dr. Fabian Feilchenfeld. His intention was to be a cantor-shochet-teacher to the German Jews, but Bismarck’s ban on Russian Jews in Germany forced him to emigrate to America....

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Bliss, Daniel (17 August 1823–27 July 1916), missionary educator and founder and first president of the Syrian Protestant College in Beirut (later the American University), missionary educator and founder and first president of the Syrian Protestant College in Beirut (later the American University), was born in Georgia, Vermont, the son of Loomis Bliss and Susanna Farwell, farmers. When he was a young child, his family moved to a farm in Cambridge, Vermont. His mother died when he was nine years old, and soon thereafter his father moved to a new farm in Jericho, Vermont, moving again to Painesville, Ohio, when Bliss was thirteen and then to Kingsville, Ohio. Bliss attended local schools and was apprenticed by his father to a tanner. In 1844 his master’s business failed, and he turned his hand to grafting fruit trees. Two years later he entered Kingsville Academy in Ohio and earned his living by teaching at a local school....

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Brownell, Thomas Church (19 October 1779–13 January 1865), Episcopal bishop and college president, was born in Westport, Massachusetts, the son of Sylvester Brownell and Nancy Church, farmers. After studying at Bristol Academy in Taunton, Massachusetts, he entered the College of Rhode Island at Providence (now Brown University) in 1800. In 1802 the president of the college, ...

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Aaron Burr. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-102555).

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Burr, Aaron (04 January 1716–24 September 1757), Presbyterian minister and college founder, was born in Upper Meadows, Fairfield, Connecticut, the son of Daniel Burr, a prosperous farmer, and his wife Elizabeth. (By the Old Style form of dating, his year of birth was 1715.) After graduating from Yale College in 1735, he remained in New Haven to study theology, during which time he was caught up in the colonial revival of religion known as the Great Awakening. With several other Yale classmates, Burr underwent a moving personal conversion and also came under the influence of the most capable defender of the Awakening, ...

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Camm, John (21 June 1718–22 May 1779), Anglican clergyman, professor, and college president, was born in Hornsea, Yorkshire, England, the son of Thomas Camm, and Ann (or Anna) Atkinson. He received a B.A. at Trinity College, Cambridge, and may also have held an M.A. and a D.D. He arrived in the colony of Virginia in 1745 to fill the post of rector of Newport Parish, Isle of Wight County. Within four years, he was appointed to one of two professorships of divinity at the College of William and Mary, first appearing in the faculty minutes on 18 September, 1749. He also became rector of Yorkhampton Parish, whose church stood in Yorktown, some twelve miles distant from Williamsburg, the seat of the college and of the government of the colony....

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Campbell, William Henry (14 September 1808–07 December 1890), college president and clergyman, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of William Campbell, a merchant, and Ann Ditchfield. His mother died when Campbell was less than a month old, and he was subsequently raised by his sisters. After attending a private academy conducted by the Reverend John Gibson, he continued his education at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, graduating in 1828. Anticipating a career in the ministry, Campbell studied at Princeton Theological Seminary but left abruptly in 1829 when his father declared bankruptcy. Denied the opportunity for formal instruction, he continued his studies under his brother-in-law, the Reverend Thomas M. Strong, who later obtained for Campbell the post of assistant teacher at Erasmus Hall in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, New York. In 1831 Campbell secured his license to preach from the Second Presbytery of New York, and also that year he married Katherine Elsie Schoonmaker. They had four children....

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Carrick, Samuel Czar (17 July 1760–17 August 1809), Presbyterian minister and educator, was born in York (now Adams) County, Pennsylvania. Nothing is known of his parents. Shortly after his birth his family moved to Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, where he studied under the tutelage of the Reverend William Graham at Liberty Hall (now Washington and Lee College). He was a member of the school’s first graduating class. In 1779 he married Elizabeth Moore, and they had three children. In 1782 Carrick was licensed to preach by the New Providence Presbyterian Church, and the following year he was ordained and installed as minister of the Rocky Spring and Wahab Presbyterian Church in Augustana County, Virginia....