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de Schweinitz, Edmund Alexander (20 March 1825–18 December 1887), leader of the Moravian church in America and first president of Moravian College and Theological Seminary, was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, the son of Lewis de Schweinitz, a pastor and amateur botanist, and Louise Amalie Le Doux. De Schweinitz grew up in the Moravian village of Bethlehem during the period when its character as a closed religious community was crumbling. He studied classics and theology at Moravian schools in Nazareth and Bethlehem until 1844, when he spent several months at the University of Berlin. There he attended lectures in church history, a subject that would be the core of his academic writing. He taught briefly in Zeyst, Holland, before returning to the United States in 1847. From 1847 to 1850 he taught classics at his old school, Nazareth Hall. In 1850 he married Lydia de Tschirschky in Herrnhut, Germany; they had two sons and two daughters. Also in 1850 he was ordained and served in a number of short pastorates, including Dover, Ohio, and Lebanon, Philadelphia, and Lititz, Pennsylvania, before settling in Bethlehem. He was regarded as a good preacher with a scholarly and “ornate” style. He was also known to be formal and at times imperious as a pastor. These traits are evident in his published works....

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Hitchcock, Roswell Dwight (15 August 1817–16 June 1887), church historian and seminary president, was born at East Machias, Maine, the son of Roswell Hitchcock and Betsey Longfellow. He prepared for college there at Washington Academy and entered Amherst as a sophomore in 1833, graduating three years later. After two years as the principal of an academy, he attended Andover Theological Seminary but after a year was called back to Amherst as a tutor and only in 1842 returned to seminary, graduating in two years. In 1845 he married Elizabeth Anthony Brayton (three children were born of the union) and was ordained as pastor of the First Congregational Church of Exeter, New Hampshire. After a leave of absence to study at Halle and Berlin (1847–1848), he returned to his parish but was appointed professor of religion at Bowdoin College in 1852. Three years later he was elected to the newly endowed Washburn Chair of Church History at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, a post he held for the rest of his life. Once at Union he transferred his ministerial credentials to the New School Presbyterian church and showed loyal devotion to the Westminster Confession, interpreting it in the light of the demanding intellectual trends of his times....

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Little, Charles Joseph (21 September 1840–11 March 1911), Methodist minister and seminary president, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Thomas Rowell and Ann Zimmermann. Raised in a bilingual family (German and English), Little developed an excellent facility for languages and eventually became proficient in Greek, Latin, Italian, and French. Following his graduation with a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1861, he joined the Philadelphia Conference of the Methodist church the next year. Prevented from serving in the Union army during the Civil War because of poor health, he served as pastor of Methodist congregations in Newark, Delaware (1862–1863), and Philadelphia (1863–1865); he also visited thousands of wounded and dying soldiers on battlefields and comforted many who lost loved ones in the war. In 1864 he completed an M.A. at the University of Pennsylvania. After serving Methodist parishes in Springfield, Pennsylvania (1865–1866), and Chestnut Hill in Philadelphia (1866–1867), he accepted a position as a professor of mathematics at Dickinson Seminary (later Lycoming College) in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, a decision prompted in part by his fear that he did not have the physical stamina the ministry required. While doing graduate study in Europe from 1869 to 1872 he met Anna Marina Schultze, whom he married in Berlin, Germany, in 1872; they had four children....

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Whitsitt, William Heth (25 November 1841–20 January 1911), Baptist historian, educator, and seminary president, was born near Nashville, Tennessee, the son of Rubin Ewing Whitsitt and Dicey McFarland, farmers in the Cumberland Valley. In 1861 he graduated with distinction (M.A.) from Union University in Murfreesboro. With the outbreak of the Civil War, Whitsitt enlisted in the Confederate army as a private and served first as a scout, then as a chaplain. He was captured and spent a year in federal prisons....

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Wilbur, Earl Morse (26 April 1866–08 January 1956), church historian and seminary founder and president, was born in Jericho, Vermont, the son of LaFayette Wilbur, a lawyer and judge, and Mercy Jane Morse. After attending school in Jericho and Essex Classical Institute, he entered the University of Vermont in Burlington, graduating with an A.B. in 1886, the youngest member of his class. After a year of teaching in a private school in Fishkill on the Hudson, New York, he studied as a Congregationalist at the Harvard Divinity School, where he played the organ at regular services, receiving the A.M. and the S.T.B. in 1890. Wilbur became a Unitarian after Dean ...