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Barrett, Benjamin Fiske (24 June 1808–06 August 1892), pastor, writer, and publisher, was born in Dresden, Maine, the son of Oliver Barrett, a carpenter, and Elizabeth Carlton. Young Benjamin was anxious to obtain an education and took delight in mastering his preparatory studies. Through his own labor he was able to attend Bowdoin College, graduating with a B.A. in 1832. Although not raised in any Christian denomination, Barrett became attracted to Unitarianism while in college. He subsequently attended Harvard Divinity School, graduating in 1838. He was ordained in the Unitarian church that same year and assigned to a parish at Syracuse, New York....

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Duché, Jacob (31 January 1738–03 January 1798), religious leader, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Colonel Jacob Duché, a former mayor of Philadelphia, and Mary Spence. Duché was a member of one of Philadelphia’s wealthiest families. He graduated in the first class of the College of Philadelphia (later the University of Pennsylvania) in 1757. After briefly attending Clare College, Cambridge, he was ordained into the clergy of the Church of England by the bishop of London. He returned to Philadelphia in 1759, where he served as assistant minister of Christ Church and Saint Peter’s until 1775, when he was named rector of the two churches. In 1760 he married Elizabeth Hopkinson, the sister of his college classmate ...

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Giles, Chauncey Commodore (11 May 1813–06 November 1893), educator, pastor, and author, was born in Charlemont, Massachusetts, the son of John Giles and Almira Avery, farmers. Young Giles attended Mt. Anthony Academy in Bennington, Vermont, and Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts (1832–1835), with the hope of becoming a Congregational minister. Ill health, however, led him to abandon this goal during his junior year. Williams College later awarded him A.B. and M.A. degrees (1876) and he is listed with the class of 1836....

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Reed, Sampson (10 June 1800–08 July 1880), author and advocate of Swedenborgianism, was born in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts, the son of John Reed, a Unitarian pastor, and Hannah Sampson. Reed graduated with high honors from Harvard College in 1818 and went on to study at the Divinity School. There he was introduced to the mystical writings of Emanuel Swedenborg by his roommate, Thomas Worcester, and shortly thereafter Reed abandoned his intention to become a Unitarian minister and in 1820 joined the Boston New-Church Society. At his graduation from Harvard with an M.A. in 1821, he delivered an oration on “Genius,” which rejected the current Lockean notion that at birth the mind is a tabula rasa that registers only impressions received through the senses and experience. His claim that “Locke’s mind will not always be the standard of metaphysics” and his advocacy of intuition as a way of knowing appealed to eighteen-year-old ...

Article

Sewell, Frank (24 September 1837–17 December 1915), college president and clergyman, was born in Bath, Maine, the son of William Dunning Sewell, a shipbuilder and farmer, and Rachael Allen Trufant. As a young man, he developed artistic skill and sensitivity in music, painting, and literature that characterized his later ministry. He graduated first in his class from nearby Bowdoin College in 1858, after which he toured Europe for three years, studying art and theology in Italy, Germany, and France....