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Abbott, Jacob (1803-1879), educator and author  

Edward L. Lach, Jr.

Abbott, Jacob (14 November 1803–31 October 1879), educator and author, was born in Hallowell, Maine, the son of Jacob Abbot II, a merchant, and Betsey Chandler. He attended school in Brunswick, Maine, and also at the Hallowell Academy. At the age of fourteen he passed an entrance examination and was admitted into the sophomore class at Bowdoin College, from which he received an A.B. in 1820 and an A.M. in 1823. It was at Bowdoin that Abbott added the extra ...


Adams, John (1772-1863), educator  

Frederick S. Allis

Adams, John (18 September 1772–24 April 1863), educator, was born in Canterbury, Connecticut, the son of Captain John Adams, a farmer and a veteran of the Revolution, and Mary Parker. As a boy Adams worked as a farmhand, and in his late teens his family decided, at great personal sacrifice, to send him to Yale, where he spent four years, graduating in 1795. On his return to Canterbury after graduation, Adams found his mother seriously ill and decided to teach school in town so that he could nurse her properly. During that period a woman named Elizabeth Ripley came to visit in Canterbury. Apparently it was love at first sight, and the two were married in 1798; they would have ten children. In the early 1800s he held positions at Plainfield Academy in Plainfield, Connecticut, and at Bacon Academy in Colchester, Connecticut, and successfully built up both schools. This was followed, in 1810, with his acceptance of the offer to become principal of Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts....


Adams, Numa Pompilius Garfield (1885-1940), physician and medical educator  

Shari Rudavsky

Adams, Numa Pompilius Garfield (26 February 1885–29 August 1940), physician and medical educator, was born in Delaplane, Virginia. Little is known about Adams’s family and early life. He attended a country school run by his uncle Robert Adams. Adams received additional instruction and inspiration from his grandmother Amanda, a midwife who shared with him the secrets of herbal medicine. When Adams was thirteen, his family moved to Steelton, Pennsylvania. Soon Adams taught himself how to read music and purchased a used cornet, which he taught himself to play, a skill that later helped him pay for his education....


Adams, William (1807-1880), minister and seminary president  

Gardiner H. Shattuck

Adams, William (25 January 1807–31 August 1880), minister and seminary president, was born in Colchester, Connecticut, the son of John Adams, an educator, and Elizabeth Ripley. Adams grew up in Andover, Massachusetts, where his father was the principal of Phillips Academy. He entered Yale College in 1824, where he received his A.B. in 1827. After college he returned home to study at Andover Theological Seminary and to assist his father in teaching. He completed his seminary training in 1830 and was ordained a Congregational minister. He began service as the pastor of a church in Brighton, Massachusetts, in 1831. He married Susan P. Magoun in July 1831. His wife’s illness forced him to resign from the Brighton pastorate in early 1834, but following her death in May, he accepted a ministerial call to the Broome Street (later Central) Presbyterian Church in New York City. Since the Congregational and Presbyterian denominations then enjoyed a spirit of mutual respect and cooperation, Adams switched denominations and was installed as pastor in November 1834. In August 1835 he married Martha B. Magoun, the sister of his first wife....


Adler, Cyrus (1863-1940), academic administrator and Jewish communal leader  

Ira Robinson

Adler, Cyrus (13 September 1863–07 April 1940), academic administrator and Jewish communal leader, was born in Van Buren, Arkansas, to Samuel Adler, a merchant and planter, and Sarah Sulzberger. At an early age Adler’s family moved to Philadelphia and then to New York, where his father died in 1867. The family returned to Philadelphia, where his mother’s brother, David Sulzberger, became head of the household and was a great influence on Adler’s upbringing. As a boy, Adler received an intensive education in Judaic subjects from a consortium of Philadelphia rabbis, headed by ...


Alden, Joseph (1807-1885), president of Jefferson College and of the New York State Normal School at Albany  

Bruce Leslie

Alden, Joseph (04 January 1807–30 August 1885), president of Jefferson College and of the New York State Normal School at Albany, was born in Cairo, New York, the son of Eliab Alden, an educator who helped shape New York State’s normal school system (forerunner of the State University of New York), and Mary Hathaway. Alden began teaching at age fourteen before enrolling at Brown College in 1825. He transferred to Union College and graduated in 1828. He spent the next four years in Princeton, New Jersey, first as a student at Princeton Theological Seminary, from which he received a doctor of divinity degree, and then as a tutor at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University)....


Alden, Timothy (1771-1839), clergyman and educator  

Charles D. Cashdollar

Alden, Timothy (28 August 1771–05 July 1839), clergyman and educator, was born in Yarmouth, Massachusetts, the son of Timothy Alden, a Congregational minister, and Sarah Weld. He was educated at Harvard College where he mastered Hebrew, Samaritan, Arabic, and Syriac. Following graduation in 1794, he taught in an academy at Marblehead, Massachusetts, while continuing to study theology at Harvard. In 1794 he married Elizabeth Shepherd Wormsted, the daughter of a prosperous Marblehead merchant family....


Alderman, Edwin Anderson (1861-1931), educational reformer and university president  

Jennings L. Wagoner

Alderman, Edwin Anderson (15 May 1861–29 April 1931), educational reformer and university president, was born in Wilmington, North Carolina, the son of James Alderman, a timber inspector, and Susan Jane Corbett. Alderman attended private schools in Wilmington before spending two years (1876–1878) at the Bethel Military Academy near Warrenton, Virginia. In 1878 he entered the University of North Carolina, from which he received a Ph.B. with honors in English and Latin. His developing mastery of the beauty and power of the spoken word was recognized when he won a medal for oratory at the 1882 commencement exercises. In 1885 he married Emma Graves; they had three children, all of whom died in early childhood....


Alison, Francis (1705-1779), Presbyterian minister and educator  

Elizabeth Nybakken

Alison, Francis (1705–28 November 1779), Presbyterian minister and educator, was born in the parish of Leck, County Donegal, in the province of Ulster in Ireland, the son of Robert Alison, a weaver. His mother’s name is not known. Circumstantial evidence suggests that he was educated at one of the clandestine Presbyterian academies, probably that of Francis Hutcheson in Dublin. He received the bulk of his collegiate instruction before attending the University of Edinburgh, where he was awarded an M.A. in January 1733. He then studied divinity for two years, probably at the University of Glasgow, which awarded him a doctor of divinity degree in 1756, an honor that was usually extended only to an alumnus. Alison returned to Ireland and was licensed by the presbytery of Letterkenny in June 1735. He immediately sailed to Pennsylvania....


Allen, William Henry (1808-1882), educator and college president  

Milton C. Sernett

Allen, William Henry (25 March 1808–29 August 1882), educator and college president, was born at Readfield (now Manchester), near Augusta, Maine, to Jonathan Allen and Thankful Longley, farmers. He went from his parents’ farm to district school, then attended Wesleyan Seminary in Maine in preparation for Bowdoin College. He graduated with an M.A. from Bowdoin in 1833. The same year Allen was appointed to teach Latin and Greek at the Oneida Methodist Conference Seminary in Cazenovia, Madison County, New York. In the spring of 1836 he became principal of the high school in Augusta, Maine, a post he held for six months....


Allyn, Robert (1817-1894), educator  

William E. Eaton

Allyn, Robert (25 January 1817–07 January 1894), educator, was born near Ledyard, Connecticut, the son of Charles Allyn and Lois Gallup, farmers. The family had been among the original settlers of the eastern Connecticut region. After receiving an education in the area’s district schools, Allyn attended Bacon Academy at nearby Colchester, Connecticut, in preparation for college. While a student at Bacon Academy, Allyn followed the common practice of teaching at a district school during the academy’s winter quarter, teaching first at Lynne and then at Bozrah. Allyn enjoyed teaching, and he was deemed successful by the parents of schoolchildren in those districts. His dilemma, which recurred throughout his early life, was whether to be a teacher or preacher....


Ames, James Barr (1846-1910), dean of Harvard Law School  

Kathleen A. Mahoney

Ames, James Barr (22 June 1846–08 January 1910), dean of Harvard Law School, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Samuel Tarbell Ames, a merchant, and Mary Hartwell Barr. Ames attended the Brimmer School and the Boston Latin School. He enrolled at Harvard College in 1863, receiving an A.B. in 1868. During the next two years he taught at a private school and toured Europe....


Anderson, David Lawrence (1850-1911), China missionary and first president of Suzhou University  

Jessie Gregory Lutz

Anderson, David Lawrence (04 February 1850–16 March 1911), China missionary and first president of Suzhou University, was born in Summerhill, South Carolina, the son of James Harkins Anderson and Mary Margaret Adams. For two years he attended Washington and Lee University, at that time under the presidency of ...


Anderson, Martin Brewer (1815-1890), college president  

Bruce A. Kimball

Anderson, Martin Brewer (12 February 1815–26 February 1890), college president, was born in Brunswick, Maine, the son of Martin Anderson, a shipwright and schoolteacher, and Jane Brewer. During his youth, Anderson labored in a shipyard to augment the small family income and to save money for his education. His mother infused him with Baptist piety. Inspired by personal religious experience at age eighteen, Anderson went to the Baptist college in Waterville (now Colby College) in 1836, where he worked in various jobs to pay his way while studying the conventional, antebellum curriculum to prepare for the ministry. Upon graduating in 1840 with an A.B., he entered Newton Theological Institution in Massachusetts, but finding it a “dull, lonesome” place, he left after a year. Returning to his alma mater, Anderson served as an instructor from 1841 to 1843 and professor of rhetoric until 1850. Meanwhile, he met Elizabeth Gilbert, a woman from a prominent family in New York, and the two were married in 1848. They had no children....


Anderson, Matthew (1845-1928), Presbyterian pastor, educator, and social reformer  

C. James Trotman

Anderson, Matthew (25 January 1845–11 January 1928), Presbyterian pastor, educator, and social reformer, was born in Greencastle, Pennsylvania, the son of Timothy Anderson and Mary Croog. One of fourteen children, he was raised in the comforts of a rural, middle-class home, less than thirty miles from historic Gettysburg. On a typical day of his youth, he faced the physical demands of farm life and experienced the movement back and forth between two cultures. One, dominated by commerce and materialism, was uncharacteristically open to the Andersons, who owned lumber mills and real estate at a time when most black Americans were dehumanized and disenfranchised by chattel slavery. The other was a culture defined by close family ties and Presbyterian piety. At home Matthew heard Bible stories and dramatic tales of runaway slaves; indeed, religious piety and the pursuit of racial freedom were dominant themes in his life. These early experiences inspired Anderson so deeply that, by the time he left Greencastle in 1863, he had decided on the ministry as his vocation. Study at Oberlin College was the first step toward serving his religious faith, his racial group, and his vision of social justice....


Andrews, Elisha Benjamin (1844-1917), clergyman and college president  

Edward L. Lach, Jr.

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....


Andrews, Lorin (1819-1861), educator  

Edward W. Stevens

Andrews, Lorin (01 April 1819–18 September 1861), educator, was born in Uniontown (now Ashland), Ohio, the son of Alanson Andrews and Sally Needham, farmers. Little is known about Andrews’s early life except that at age seventeen his July Fourth speech was recorded in a local newspaper. The next year he attended a preparatory grammar school for Kenyon College. Enrollment in the college followed, but in 1840 he withdrew, apparently for lack of funds....


Angell, James Rowland (1869-1949), academic psychologist and fourteenth president of Yale University  

Dan A. Oren

Angell, James Rowland (08 May 1869–04 March 1949), academic psychologist and fourteenth president of Yale University, was born in Burlington, Vermont, the son of James Burrill Angell, president of the University of Vermont and later the president of the University of Michigan, and Sarah Swope Caswell, daughter of ...


Armstrong, Samuel Chapman (1839-1893), educator  

J. M. Heffron

Armstrong, Samuel Chapman (30 January 1839–11 May 1893), educator, was born in East Wailuku on the island of Maui, Hawaii, the son of Richard Armstrong and Clarissa Chapman, Protestant missionaries in the Hawaiian Islands. As a boy Armstrong attended Punahou, a combined high school and experimental two-year college (Oahu College) established for the sons of the Hawaiian missionaries. In 1857, when he was eighteen, he helped found the Hawaiian Mission Children’s Society, otherwise known as the “Cousins’ Society,” becoming its first president and in later years its most faithful foreign correspondent. When he was a sophomore at Oahu College in 1859–1860, Armstrong served as chief clerk in the Office of Public Instruction of the Royal Hawaiian Government; his father had been minister of public instruction since 1847....


Atherton, George Washington (1837-1906), college president  

Roger L. Williams

Atherton, George Washington (20 June 1837–24 July 1906), college president, was born in Boxford, Massachusetts, the son of Hiram Atherton and Almira Gardner. Atherton endured a Spartan childhood. His father died in 1849, and the twelve-year-old boy went to work in a cotton mill and on a farm to support his mother and two sisters. He also managed to secure an education sufficient for teaching and tutoring and in 1855 left home for his first teaching post. In 1856 he enrolled in Philips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire, graduating with the class of 1858. He then worked as a teacher of Latin and Greek at the Albany (N.Y.) Boys’ Academy until 1860, when, at age twenty-three, he enrolled in the sophomore class at Yale....