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Andrews, Elisha Benjamin (10 January 1844–30 October 1917), clergyman and college president, was born in Hinsdale, New Hampshire, the son of Erastus Andrews, a Baptist minister and politician, and Almira Bartlett, a schoolteacher. When Benjamin (as he was always known) was six months old, his father accepted a new pastorate in Sanderland, Massachusetts, and relocated the family to Montague, Massachusetts, where Andrews attended local schools and was occasionally tutored by his mother before the family moved yet again in 1858 to Suffield, Connecticut. In Suffield his father presided over the First Baptist Church and took advantage of the nearby Connecticut Literary Institute, also a Baptist institution, for the education of his children. Shortly after their move to Suffield, Andrews seriously injured his left foot; after a slow and painful recovery that prevented his attendance at school until 1860, he resumed his education at the Literary Institute....

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Dagg, John Leadley (13 February 1794–11 June 1884), Baptist minister and educator, was born in a log cabin near Middleburg, Loudoun County, Virginia, the son of Robert Dagg, the saddler and postmaster of the village, and Sarah Davis. Poverty contributed in part to his limited formal education, which ended after six years. At fourteen he began to teach in a small school near Middleburg. Though lacking a college degree he had innate intellectual abilities evidenced by his mastery of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. While studying by candlelight, however, he damaged his eyesight so severely that after 1823 he could read and write only with the assistance of others....

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Faunce, William Herbert Perry (15 January 1859–31 January 1930), Baptist clergyman and university president, was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, the son of Daniel Worcester Faunce, a clergyman, and Mary Parkhurst Perry. Faunce entered Brown University in 1876, receiving his A.B. in 1880 and his A.M. in 1883; he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in his junior year. He attended Newton Theological Institution in Newton Centre, Massachusetts, from 1880 to 1884, spending one academic year (1881–1882) at Brown as an instructor in mathematics. In 1884 he married Sarah Rogers Edson; they had one child. That same year, he was ordained and assumed the pastorate of the State Street Baptist Church in Springfield, Massachusetts....

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Jewett, Milo Parker (27 April 1808–09 June 1882), educator, clergyman, and first president of Vassar Female College (later Vassar College), educator, clergyman, and first president of Vassar Female College (later Vassar College), was born in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, the son of Calvin Jewett, a physician, and Sally Parker. After graduating with a bachelor of arts degree from Dartmouth College in 1828, Jewett served for a brief period as principal of Holmes Academy in New Hampshire while at the same time reading law. Subsequently he prepared himself for the ministry at Andover Theological Seminary, receiving a divinity degree in 1833. During this period he developed a keen interest in the emerging common school (public school) education movement and gave public lectures to popularize its growth. Jewett was married in 1833 to Jane Augusta Russell, also a New Englander. They were childless....

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Johnson, Mordecai Wyatt (12 January 1890–10 September 1976), university president and clergyman, was born in Paris, Henry County, Tennessee, the son of the Reverend Wyatt Johnson, a stationary engine operator in a mill, and Caroline Freeman. Johnson received his grammar school education in Paris, but in 1903 he enrolled in the Academy of the Roger Williams University in Nashville, Tennessee. The school burned in 1905, so Johnson finished the semester at the Howe Institute in Memphis. In the fall of that year, he moved to Atlanta to finish high school in the preparatory department of Atlanta Baptist College (renamed Morehouse College in 1913). There he completed a bachelor’s degree in 1911. While at Atlanta Baptist, Johnson played varsity football and tennis, sang in various groups, and began his long career as a public speaker on the debating team....

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Manning, James ( October 1738–29 July 1791), Baptist clergyman and founding president of Rhode Island College (now Brown University), Baptist clergyman and founding president of Rhode Island College (now Brown University), was born in Elizabeth Township, New Jersey. The first names and occupations of his parents are uncertain. Manning attended Hopewell Academy, a Baptist grammar school in New Jersey. After completing the course of study at Hopewell, he entered the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University), where he studied under ...

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Maxcy, Jonathan (02 September 1768–04 June 1820), college president and Baptist minister, was born on his father’s Attleborough, Massachusetts, estate, the son of Levi Maxcy, a member of the colonial Massachusetts legislature, and Ruth Newell. The youngest of his three brothers was Virgil Maxcy, who would later serve as a member of both houses of the Maryland legislature; solicitor of the U.S. Treasury; and charge d’affaires to Belgium. Jonathan Maxcy prepared at Wrentham Academy and in 1783 entered Rhode Island College (renamed Brown University in 1804), where he studied the Scottish rhetoricians, whose writings the college president, ...

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Rhees, Rush (08 February 1860–05 January 1939), Baptist minister and university president, was born in Chicago, to John Evans Rhees, a merchant, and Annie Houghton McCutcheon. He was christened Benjamin Rush Rhees after the noted Dr. Benjamin Rush, whom his great grandfather had met in Philadelphia upon emigrating from Wales in 1794. Rhees dropped the “Benjamin” as a youth. His grandfather, Morgan John Rhees, Jr., was a Baptist minister and in 1852 received one of the first honorary degrees granted by the University of Rochester, where his grandson would later serve as president. His father died in 1862, and his mother eventually settled with the children in Plainfield, New Jersey. Upon graduating from Plainfield High School, Rhees studied for nearly two years to prepare for Amherst College, from which he received an A.B. in 1883. For the next two years he remained at Amherst teaching mathematics, though his focus of study had been Greek. He then enrolled in the Hartford Theological Seminary, where he made the New Testament his field of expertise and completed the ministerial course in 1888....

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Ryland, Robert (14 March 1805–23 April 1899), educator and Baptist minister, was born in King and Queen County, Virginia, the son of Josiah Ryland and Catharine Peachey, farmers. When the elder Ryland divided up his land to give to each of his sons, Robert requested money from his father instead, so that he could pursue an education. Ryland enrolled at Humanity Hall Academy in Hanover County, Virginia, one of the growing number of schools established by Baptist educators to prepare local Baptist boys for entrance to college. From there he went directly to Columbian College (now George Washington University) in Washington, D.C., where he graduated with the A.B., probably in 1826....

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William James Simmons. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-90544).

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Simmons, William James (26 June 1849–30 October 1890), Baptist leader, educator, and race advocate, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of enslaved parents, Edward Simmons and Esther (maiden name unknown). During his youth, Simmons’s mother escaped slavery with him and two of his siblings, relocating in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Simmons’s uncle, Alexander Tardieu (or Tardiff), a shoemaker, became a father for the children and a protector and provider for the fugitive slave family. He moved them among the cities of Philadelphia, Roxbury, Massachusetts, and Chester, Pennsylvania, constantly eluding persistent “slave catchers,” before permanently taking residence in Bordentown, New Jersey. While Simmons never received formal elementary or secondary school education, his uncle made a point of teaching the children to read and write. As a youth Simmons served as an assistant to a white dentist in Bordentown. At the age of fifteen he joined the Union army, participating in a number of major battles in Virginia and finding himself at Appomattox in 1865. After the war, Simmons once again worked briefly as a dental assistant. He converted and affiliated with the white Baptist church in Bordentown in 1867, announced his call to the ministry, and ventured to college with the financial support of church friends....

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Tichenor, Isaac Taylor (11 November 1825–02 December 1902), Baptist pastor and educator, was born in Spencer County, Kentucky, the son of James Taylor Tichenor and Margaret Bennett, farmers. After receiving his elementary education in rural schools, at age fifteen Tichenor entered high school in Taylorsville, Kentucky. Complications from a severe attack of measles forced him to leave school after two years and impaired his vocal cords, producing a permanent effect on his voice. By age nineteen he began teaching at Taylorsville Academy, as assistant to David Burbank, one of his early teachers. When he left three years later, he was principal of the school....