- Henry Warner Bowden
Parker, Theodore (24 August 1810–10 May 1860), Unitarian clergyman and social reformer, was born in Lexington, Massachusetts, the son of Hannah Stearns and John Parker, farmers. Many childhood activities on the family farm indicated that young Parker possessed an uncommonly high intellectual acumen and, like many talented youths in the Boston area, he enrolled at Harvard College. Financial difficulties intervened, however, and Parker never actually studied on campus. For several years he supported himself by teaching in local schools, mastering the Harvard curriculum through private effort. In 1830–1831 he passed all the college’s examinations, but as a nonresident he received no degree. When Parker applied for admission to Harvard Divinity School, no questions were raised about his capacity for learning, and he formally graduated from that institution in 1836. While there, he coedited the seminary’s journal, ...