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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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Clebsch, William Anthony (19 July 1923–12 June 1984), church historian, developer of religious studies, and university professor, was born in Clarksville, Tennessee, the son of Alfred Clebsch, an owner of tobacco warehouses, and Julia Wilee. In 1944 he married Betsy Birchfield, a horticulturalist; they had two children....

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Frei, Hans Wilhelm (29 April 1922–12 September 1988), theologian and intellectual historian, was born in Breslau, Germany, the son of Wilhelm Sigmund Frei, a venereologist, and Magda Frankfurther, a pediatrician. The family had become nominally Lutheran, and Frei was baptized in infancy, but they were Jewish by ancestry and thus fled to the United States in 1938....

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Gavin, Frank Stanton Burns (31 October 1890–20 March 1938), Episcopal theologian and church historian, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of William James Gavin, a physician, and Laura Adelaide Burns. In 1907 he entered the University of Cincinnati, from which he received the A.B. in 1912. While there he also took courses at Xavier University and at Hebrew Union College. In 1912 Gavin entered the General Theological Seminary in New York City; while there he also studied at Columbia University, where he was a University Fellow in Semitics (1913–1914). He received his M.A. in Semitic languages from Columbia in 1915, his S.T.B. from General Theological in 1915, and his Ph.D. from Columbia in 1922. His dissertation, “Aphraates and the Jews: A Study of the Controversial Homilies of the Persian Sage in Their Relation to Jewish Thought,” published in the ...

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Jacobs, Henry Eyster (10 November 1844–07 July 1932), historian, theologian, and churchman, was born in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the son of the Reverend Michael Jacobs, a college professor, and Julianna Matilda Eyster. Michael Jacobs taught natural science at the Lutheran Pennsylvania (now Gettysburg) College. As a consequence, from the outset Henry Jacobs lived in the contexts of education and church. In his youth Jacobs’s world view was also profoundly influenced by witnessing at close range the battle of Gettysburg, fought when he was nineteen, and by hearing ...

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Jacobs, Joseph (29 August 1854–30 January 1916), literary critic, folklorist, and Jewish historian, was born in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, the son of John Jacobs and Sarah (maiden name unknown). He received a B.A. from St. John’s College, Cambridge, England, in 1876, and the following year he went to Berlin to study with the famous Jewish scholars Moritz Lazarus and Moritz Steinschneider. Upon returning to England, he studied anthropology with Sir Francis Galton. He married Georgina Horne (date unknown); they had three children....

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Pauck, Wilhelm (31 January 1901–03 September 1981), church historian and theologian, was born in Laasphe, Germany, the son of Wilhelm Heinrich Paul Pauck, a physicist, and Maria Hofmann. He studied at the Universities of Göttingen (1920–1923) and Berlin (1920–1922, 1923–1925). In 1925 he graduated from the University of Berlin magna cum laude with a licentiate of theology. Among his professors were Ernest Troeltsch, Karl Holl, Adolph von Harnack, and Karl Barth. Pauck immigrated to the United States in 1925 and became a naturalized citizen in 1937. In Germany he was a member of the Evangelische kirche; in the United States he joined the Congregational church (later the United Church of Christ)....

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Peel, Robert (06 May 1909–08 January 1992), educator, journalist, historian, and religious scholar, was born in London, the son of Arthur James Peel and Anne Susannah Monk. His mother, a Christian Science practitioner for many years, was a decisive influence. He was also close to his sister Doris Peel (1907-1990), a poet whose writing on spiritual themes attracted a devoted following. He never married....

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Reichel, William Cornelius (09 May 1824–25 October 1876), Moravian educator and historian, was born in Salem, North Carolina, the son of Gotthold Benjamin Reichel, a principal of Salem Female Academy, and Henriette Friederike Vierling, a housemother. Belonging to a family of high standing in the Moravian church ( ...

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Reu, Johann Michael (16 November 1869–14 October 1943), Lutheran church historian, author, and educational theorist, was born in Diebach, Bavaria, the son of Johann Friedrich Reu, a stone mason, and Margarete Henkelmann. As a child, his parish pastor tutored him in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. He attended the Latin School in Oettingen and from 1887 to 1889 the Seminary for Mission Workers at Neuendettelsau, from which he graduated. He emigrated to America in 1889 and was ordained by the German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Iowa and Other States on 1 September 1889 as assistant pastor of St. John Lutheran Church in Mendota, Illinois. In October 1890 he accepted a call to serve Immanuel Lutheran Church in Rock Falls, Illinois, and from 1891 on was also pastor at St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church in Yorktown, Illinois. He married Marie Wilhelmine Schmitthenner in 1892; they had four children....

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Schaff, Philip (01 January 1819–20 October 1893), theologian, biblical scholar, and church historian, was born Philipp Schaf (or Schaaf) in Chur, Switzerland, the illegitimate son of Philipp Sha(a)f, a carpenter, and Anna Louis Schindler, who came from a large farming family. (He changed the spelling of his name sometime around 1847, a few years after his arrival in the United States.) Schaff was born into poverty and obscurity as well as illegitimacy in the Swiss mountain canton of Graubündten. His father died before his first birthday, and his mother was ordered to leave Chur because of the scandal. Thus left as a ward of the city, he was reared in an orphanage. Having grown up without parents or siblings, in later life Schaff would never meet a stranger, male or female, and he would always yearn for an extended family....

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Thomas Joseph Shahan. Right, with Archbishop Henry Edward Manning. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-105926).

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Shahan, Thomas Joseph (10 or 11 Sept. 1857–09 March 1932), Catholic clergyman, educator, and church historian, was born in Manchester, New Hampshire, the son of Maurice Peter Shahan and Mary Anne Carmody, Irish immigrants. He grew up in Millbury, Massachusetts, where his father owned a shoe store. After attending public schools there, he went in 1872 to the Sulpician Collège de Montréal (a minor seminary) for his classical and philosophical studies and there was introduced to neo-Thomism. In 1878 he became a seminarian at the North American College in Rome and a student of theology at the Urban College of the Propaganda Fide, where one of his professors was Francesco Satolli, a promoter of the Thomistic revival; he was also strongly influenced by the expert in Christian archaeology Giovanni Battista de Rossi. He was ordained priest on 3 June 1882 for the Diocese of Hartford (Connecticut) and was awarded the doctorate in theology....

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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....