Additional Sources

Kohr, Russell Vernon. Early History and Influence of Harvard College's Hollis Professorship of Divinity: (The First Endowed Professorial Chair in America). 1981. (Print Only)

Kohr's 1981 M.A. thesis, Western Michigan University.

Jensen, Timothy Ward. The Wares: Three Generations of American Unitarians. 2001. (Print Only)

Jensen's 2001 Ph.D. thesis (University of Oregon) includes discussion of the formation of Harvard Divinity School and the role of the Ware family in its history.

Primary Sources

1815: Channing, William Ellery. Observations on the Proposition for Increasing the Means of Theological Education at the University in Cambridge. Cambridge: Hilliard & Metcalf, 1815. [University of Minnesota Library digitized copy] [R. B. R. tract BV4033. H27 H3 1815; Tracts 566 no. 3; Pamph. v. 234; re-printed in 1816: Safe 870. 55 no. 10; Tracts 318 no. 8]

Channing's plea for the need for educated ministers and for theological education at Harvard was used as the preface for a plea for contributions and subscriptions for membership in a Society for the Promotion of Theological Education at Harvard University.

1825: Federal Street Society for Benevolent Purposes. Report of the Committee of the Association of the Members of the Federal Street Society for Benevolent Purposes, on the Application of the Directors of the Theological School in Cambridge. Cambridge : Printed by Hilliard and Metcalf, 1825. [Historical Collections - Pamphlets BX9861.Z95 (Print Only)]

An examination of the financial condition of the school and a resolution to solicit funds for the erection of Divinity Hall.

1825: West Church (Boston, Mass.) Report of the Committee of the West Parish Association on the State of Religion. Accepted October 10, 1825. Boston : Isaac R. Butts, 1825. [Harvard Depository Brittle Book BX9843 .B3 v. 4; Unit. 700 Reel 153, no. 26 (Print Only)]

The report examines the financial condition of the Theological School at Cambridge and recommends that the Association help in raising funds to aid the theological education at Harvard.

1826: Channing, William Ellery. "Discourse Delivered at the Dedication of Divinity Hall, Cambridge, 1826." Pp. 483-511 of his Discourses, Reviews, and Miscellanies. Boston: Carter & Hendee, 1830 [R.B.R. BX9815.C45 1830]. Also published: Boston: Gray & Bowen, 1830 [Andover-Harvard digitized copy] [BX9815.C45 1830b].

Channing's discourse, based on the text "His word was with power;" (Luke 4:32), declares that "this edifice is dedicated to the training of ministers, whose word, like their master's, shall be 'with power,' ... that strong action of the understanding, conscience, and heart, on moral and religious truth, through which the preacher is quickened and qualified to awaken the same strong actions in others."

1830: Greenwood, F. W. P. The Theology of the Cambridge Divinity School. . . . . Boston: Gray and Bowen, 1830. This was issued in several formats: (1830 Print Only). 1830 issued as a American Unitarian Association Tract (Print Only). 1833 (revised 3rd edition) (Print Only).

Greenwood's speech and plea for funding to the Society for the Promotion of Theological Education at Harvard University describes the Divinity School's theology as being liberal (that is, "a free and generous theology"), serious and practical, and charitable. Two pages give a brief description of the school in 1829/1830 academic year.

1830: Ware, Henry. The Connexion between the Duties of the Pulpit and the Pastoral Office: An Introductory Address Delivered to the Members of the Theological School in Cambridge, October 18 and 25, 1830. Cambridge: Hilliard and Brown, 1830. (Print Only))

1831: Codman, John. Dr. Codman's Speech in the Board of Overseers of Harvard College, Feb. 3, 1831. [Boston, Mass.: Pierce & Parker, 1831?] [Sprague Pamph. C; S.C.R. LD2111.R465 1824 no. 10; Tracts 58 no. 19 (Print Only)]

The reorganization of 1830 revived the controversy between the orthodox and Unitarians. On Feb. 3, 1831, a committee of the Board of Overseers (consisting of Dr. William Spooner, the Rev. John Codman, and the Rev. James Walker) appointed to review the statutes reported that a majority of the committee were in favor of "recommending a concurrence with the proceedings of the Corporation." Codman, who sided with the orthodox, dissented from the report, claiming that the school was Unitarian and, therefore, sectarian and not proper to be part of a state-supported university. He also objected that the head of the school was to be the President of the University, a layman, and that the school would have too great an influence on the rest of the University. Walker replied in an article in The Christian Examiner (v. 10, ns., v.5, no. 1, Mar. 1831, pp. 129-136 [Mflm. Period. 4236]) that, by questioning the validity of the school, Codman had missed the whole point of the review. Codman's other objections were countered in the next issue of The Christian Examiner (no. 44, n.s., no. 14, May 1831, pp. 137-160 [Mflm. Period. 4236]): that the faculty was Unitarian could not be denied, but "men are eligible as Professors, whatever may be the peculiarities of their opinion; and the pupils are free to examine and decide for themselves, as to the tenets they shall receive and admit as true."

1831: Palfrey, John Gorham. An Address Delivered before the Society for Promoting Theological Education, June 5, 1831. Boston: Gray and Bowen, 1831. [R.B.R. BX9843.P28 R44 1820; Sprague Pamph. P (Print Only)]

Palfrey's speech and plea for funding deals with the following questions: 1. Why should ministers be educated at all? 2. If educated, why at a public institution? 3. If at a public institution, why at Harvard University? 4. If at Harvard University, why at the public expense? It also includes some information about the state of the school in 1831. The content appeared also in The Christian Examiner (v. 44, n.s., no 16, Sept. 1831, pp. 84-99). [Mflm. Period. 4236; APS Online]

1835: Palfrey, John Gorham. A Letter to the Corporation and Overseers of Harvard College on the Proposed Change in the Constitution of that Seminary by an alumnus. Boston: Russell, Odiorne, and Metcalf, 1835. (Print Only)

1836: Palfrey, John Gorham. Divinity School of the University of Cambridge. Cambridge, Mass. Cambridge Press, Metcalf, Torry, and Ballou, 1836. [Pamph. BV 4022. Z91; R.B.R. BV4070.H442 D59 1836]

This is the first history of the Divinity School and lists those who had attended. The copy in R.B.R. has a handwritten copy of Dr. Palfrey's corrections as to names dated 16 July 1840.

1838: Ware, Henry. The Personality of the Deity: A Sermon Preached in the Chapel of Harvard University, September 23, 1838. Boston, J. Munroe, 1838. "Published at the request of the members of the Divinity School." (Print Only))

Other articles in The Christian Disciple [Mflm. Period. 318.5; Digital copies in Hathi Trust] about the Harvard Divinity School in the early period include:

  • "On the Requisite Qualifications of a Theological Instructor." v. 2, no 3 (Mar. 1814), p. 68-72.
  • "Theological Education in Cambridge University." v. 4, no. 1 (Jan. 1816), p. 23-30. A reprint of Channing's Observations 1815 work with a list of persons appointed by the Corporation "who would most conveniently cooperate in this interesting work."
  • "[Meeting of] the Society for the Promotion of Theological Education in Harvard University." v. 5, no. 9 (Sept. 1817), p. 286.
  • "Theological Education in Harvard University" [report of Aug. 24 meeting of the SPTE]. n.s., no. 4 (July/Aug. 1819) = no. 72, p. 333-335.
  • [Report of the Annual Visitation, Nov. 17]. n.s., v. 1, no. 6 (Nov./Dec. 1819) = no. 74, p. 485-86.
  • "[Meeting of] the Society for Promoting Theological Education at Harvard College" [Aug. 29, 1820] n.s., v. 2, (July/Aug. 1820) = no. 10, p. 336.
  • [Report of the Annual Visitation, July 15]. n.s., v. 3 (July/Aug. 1821) = no. 16, p. 316-317.
  • "[Meeting of the] Society for promoting Theological Education in Harvard University." n.s., v. 3 (July/Aug. 1821) = no. 16, p. 317.
  • [Report of the Annual Visitation, Aug.? 15]. n.s., v. 3 (Sept./Oct. 1821) = no. 17, p. 394-395.
  • "Theological Institution at Cambridge." n.s., no. 20 (Mar./April 1822), p. 145-152.
  • "Cambridge Theological School." n.s., no. 21 (May/June 1822), p. 216-217.
  • [Report of the Annual Examination]. n.s., no. 22 (July/Aug. 1822), p. 311-312.

Philanthropic Society

Records of the Philanthropic Society in the Theological School of Harvard University, 1831-1851.

"This volume was found among the papers of the late Mrs. Charles R. Whitcomb, of Winchendon, having come into her possession with the effects of her husband's brother, Mr. Christopher Channing Whitcomb, a student in Harvard Divinity School for three years with the class of 1863. (Died at Winchendon, Sept. 5, 1865). It was placed in the hands of the librarian, March 9 1917, by the executor of the estate of Mrs. Whitcomb, Dr. W.B. Bancroft, South Boston"--Typed note at end on the stationery of Owen H. Gates, Librarian.