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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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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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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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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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Little, Charles Joseph (21 September 1840–11 March 1911), Methodist minister and seminary president, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Thomas Rowell and Ann Zimmermann. Raised in a bilingual family (German and English), Little developed an excellent facility for languages and eventually became proficient in Greek, Latin, Italian, and French. Following his graduation with a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1861, he joined the Philadelphia Conference of the Methodist church the next year. Prevented from serving in the Union army during the Civil War because of poor health, he served as pastor of Methodist congregations in Newark, Delaware (1862–1863), and Philadelphia (1863–1865); he also visited thousands of wounded and dying soldiers on battlefields and comforted many who lost loved ones in the war. In 1864 he completed an M.A. at the University of Pennsylvania. After serving Methodist parishes in Springfield, Pennsylvania (1865–1866), and Chestnut Hill in Philadelphia (1866–1867), he accepted a position as a professor of mathematics at Dickinson Seminary (later Lycoming College) in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, a decision prompted in part by his fear that he did not have the physical stamina the ministry required. While doing graduate study in Europe from 1869 to 1872 he met Anna Marina Schultze, whom he married in Berlin, Germany, in 1872; they had four children....

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McAvoy, Thomas Timothy (12 September 1903–05 July 1969), priest, archivist, and historian, was born in Tipton, Indiana, the son of Charles Edward McAvoy, a merchant, and Nora Bernardine Walsh. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1925, made final profession of vows in the Congregation of Holy Cross (C.S.C.) that same year, and was ordained a priest in 1929. He taught high school Latin and English from 1929 to 1932, offered courses in American history at Notre Dame from 1933 to 1935, and received a Ph.D. in history from Columbia University in 1940. He was appointed university archivist at Notre Dame in 1929, chairman of the department of history ten years later, and managing editor of the ...

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Morini, Austin M. (04 March 1826–29 July 1909), Catholic priest, philologist, and historian, was born John Morini in Florence, Italy, the son of Paul Morini, a goldsmith and designer, and Anna Bartolini, an embroiderer. He received his early education at the school of the Piarist Fathers in Florence; then in 1844, at the age of eighteen, he entered the novitiate of the Servite Friars (Servants of Mary) at SS. Annunziata church in Florence. At that time his name was changed to Austin. He completed his philosophical and theological training at SS. Annunziata and was ordained to the priesthood on 1 May 1850. He received the degree of master of theology in 1856....

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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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Perry, William Stevens (22 January 1832–13 May 1898), Episcopalian bishop and historiographer, was born in Providence, Rhode Island, the son of Stephen Perry and Katherine Whittemore Stevens. As a young man he served as parish clerk, Sunday school superintendent, and lay reader at Grace Church in Newton, Massachusetts. He studied at Brown University for a time and then graduated from Harvard University in 1854, where he received an A.B. He then studied at the Protestant Episcopal Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia, but never graduated. He read theology with the Reverend Alexander Hamilton Vinton of Boston, Massachusetts, a leader of the Episcopal church’s Broad Church party, which stressed ecumenical activity and inclusivity. He was ordained a deacon on 29 March 1857, at Grace Church in Newton. He was ordained a priest on 7 April 1858 at St. Paul’s Church in Boston, where he served as assistant minister (1857–1858). From 1858 until 1861 he was rector of St. Luke’s Church in Nashua, New Hampshire, and then from 1861 until 1863 he was rector of St. Stephen’s Church in Portland, Maine, where he married Sara Abbott Woods in 1862; they had no children. His last two parochial positions were as rector of St. Michael’s Church in Litchfield, Connecticut (1864–1869) and as rector of Trinity Church in Geneva, New York (1869–1876)....

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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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Shea, John Dawson Gilmary (22 July 1824–22 February 1892), historian of American Catholicism, was born in New York City, the son of James Shea, an educator, and Mary Ann Flannigan. Called by many the “father of American Catholic history,” Shea was educated first at the Sisters of Charity school, then at the Columbia Grammar School, graduating in 1837. After working in business, Shea studied law and was admitted to the New York bar in 1846. That same year he became a member of the New-York Historical Society, having written several articles about Catholic martyrs in the United States....