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Acrelius, Israel (04 December 1714–25 April 1800), Lutheran clergyman and author, was born in Öster-Âker, Sweden, the son of Johan Acrelius, a pastor, and Sara Gahm. At the age of twelve he entered the University of Uppsala, where he trained for the ministry and received his ordination in 1743. Acrelius then served as a domestic chaplain until 1745, when he became the pastor of Riala, Kulla, and Norra Ljusterö....

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Banvard, Joseph (09 May 1810–28 September 1887), Baptist clergyman and author, was born in New York City, the son of Daniel Banvard, a businessman. His mother’s name is unknown. When Banvard was in his early twenties, his father lost his savings in a failed business venture and died shortly after, leaving the family in financial difficulties. His younger brother, the painter ...

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Beaver, Robert Pierce (26 May 1906–20 November 1987), minister and missions scholar, was born in Hamilton, Ohio, the son of Joseph Earl Beaver, an employee of the Game and Fish Commission of Ohio, and Caroline Neusch. He received the B.A. and M.A. in art history at Oberlin College (1928) followed by post graduate studies at Munich (1931–1932), a Ph.D. in history from Cornell University (1933), and postdoctoral study at Yale (1938). He married his high school classmate Wilma Manessier, a kindergarten teacher, in 1927; they had three children....

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Callender, John (1706–26 January 1748), Baptist clergyman and historian, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of John Callender, a shopkeeper, and Priscilla Man. His grandfather, Ellis Callender, was lay preacher at the First Baptist Church from 1708 to 1726. At the age of thirteen, Callender entered Harvard College. As a scholarship student, he was supported with the income from the benefactions of Thomas Hollis and later with funds supplied by ...

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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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Charlevoix, Pierre-François-Xavier de (24 October 1682–01 February 1761), Jesuit priest and historian, was born at Saint-Quentin, France, the son of François de Charlevoix, a member of the old nobility and deputy king’s attorney, and Antoinette Forestier. He studied at the Collège des Bons-Enfants in Saint-Quentin and moved to Paris when he began (15 Sept. 1698) his two-year novitiate with the Society of Jesus. He then moved to the Collège Louis-le-Grand, where he studied rhetoric and philosophy....

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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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Corwin, Edward Tanjore (12 July 1834–22 June 1914), minister and historian, was born in New York City, the son of Edward Callwell Corwin and Mary Ann Shuart. Descended on his father’s side from English founders of New Haven, Connecticut, Corwin seems to have been more influenced by his mother’s ethnic heritage. Her ancestors were Dutch, early settlers in New Amsterdam, and the whole family found sustenance in Reformed theological traditions. In 1853 Corwin graduated first in his class from the Free Academy, a school soon to be named College of the City of New York. Three years later he graduated from New Brunswick Theological Seminary in New Brunswick, New Jersey, the oldest and best Dutch Reformed ministerial academy in the country. In 1856 he was also licensed by the church in Bergen, New Jersey. Staying a fourth year at the seminary, he received ordination at Paramus, New Jersey, in 1857. That same year Corwin began his first pastorate in Paramus, devoting himself to ministerial duties there until 1863. In 1861 he married Mary Esther Kipp; the couple had four children, two of whom survived to adulthood....

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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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Dorchester, Daniel (11 March 1827–13 March 1907), Methodist clergyman and statistician of American church history, was born in Duxbury, Massachusetts, the son of the Reverend Daniel Dorchester, a Methodist clergyman, and Mary Otis. He attended Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, for two years; in 1847 he entered the Methodist ministry. In April 1850 he married Mary Payson Davis; they had seven children. Mary died in 1874, and in 1875 Dorchester married Merial A. Whipple....

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Dubbs, Joseph Henry (05 October 1838–01 April 1910), clergyman, educator, and historian, was born of Swiss-American parentage in rural North Whitehall Township, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, the son of Joseph S. Dubbs, a German Reformed pastor, and Eleanor Lerch. In his mid-teenage years he enrolled at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, graduating in 1856. In 1859 Dubbs completed his ministerial training at the Theological Seminary of the Reformed Church at Mercersburg, which was then guided by the scholar and churchman ...

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Ellis, George Edward (08 August 1814–20 December 1894), minister and historian, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of David Ellis, a merchant and shipowner, and Sarah Rogers. At age fifteen Ellis entered Harvard College, from which he graduated in 1833. Continuing at Harvard for theological studies, he graduated from the Divinity School in 1836, and while there edited the Unitarian Journal ...

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Engelhardt, Zephyrin (13 November 1851–27 April 1934), California missions historian and Franciscan missionary to Indians, was born in Bilshausen, Hanover, Germany, the son of Anthony Engelhardt, an expert in the manufacture of willowware, and Elizabeth (maiden name unknown). In 1852 the family immigrated to the United States, settling in Covington, Kentucky. In 1869 Engelhardt entered St. Francis Seminary in Cincinnati, and in 1872 he entered the novitiate of the Order of Friars Minor of the Sacred Heart Province in Teutopolis, Illinois. He made his solemn vows in 1876 and was ordained to the priesthood on 18 June 1878 in St. Louis, Missouri....

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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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Griffis, William Elliot (17 September 1843–05 February 1928), educator, clergyman, and author, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Captain John Limeburner Griffis, a coal dealer, and Anna Maria Hess, a pious young woman who for many years taught at an infant’s nursery school and at a Bible school for young women at the First Independent Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia....

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Hewat, Alexander (1740?–03 March 1824), historian and minister, was born in Scotland. Nothing is known of Hewat’s parentage and birth. He attended the 1755–1756 session at the University of Edinburgh where he studied logic and metaphysics. In November 1763 he was called to Charleston, South Carolina, to minister to one of the leading, dissenting Scottish First Presbyterian congregations in South Carolina....

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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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Jones, John William (25 September 1836–17 March 1909), minister and author, was born at Louisa Court House, Virginia, the son of Colonel Francis William Jones and Ann Pendleton Ashby. As a young man Jones underwent a conversion experience that led to his decision to enter the Baptist ministry. After attending preparatory academies in Louisa and Orange counties, he enrolled at the University of Virginia, where he was active in a number of religious activities, including serving as treasurer of the Young Men’s Christian Association and teaching Sunday school. After graduation in 1859, he became a member of the first class at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Greenville, South Carolina. Jones graduated from the seminary and was ordained in 1860. Although he was approved by his denomination for missionary work in China, the political turmoil in the United States delayed his departure, and he returned to Louisa County, Virginia, to become the pastor of the Little River Baptist Church. He married Judith Page Helm in December 1860; they had five children....