John Harvard (clergyman)

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John Harvard
John Harvard statue.jpg
Born(1607-11-29)29 November 1607 (baptised)[1]
Southwark, Surrey, England
Died14 September 1638(1638-09-14) (aged 30)
Cause of deathTuberculosis
Alma materEmmanuel College, Cambridge
OccupationPastor
Known forA founder of Harvard College
Spouse(s)Ann Sadler
ChildrenNone
Signature
JohnHarvard Signature.jpg

John Harvard (1607–1638) was an English minister in Colonial America and the eponym of Harvard University. Called "a godly gentleman and a lover of learning,"[2] his deathbed[3] bequest to the "schoale or Colledge" founded two years earlier by the Massachusetts Bay Colony was so gratefully received that it was consequently ordered "that the Colledge agreed upon formerly to bee built at Cambridg shalbee called Harvard Colledge."[4] Harvard considers him the most honored of its founders—those whose efforts and contributions in its early days "ensure[d] its permanence"—and a statue in his honor is a prominent feature of Harvard Yard.

Life[edit]

Early life[edit]

Harvard House in Stratford-upon-Avon; the childhood home of John Harvard's mother Katherine Rogers

Harvard was born and raised in Southwark, Surrey, England, (now part of London), the fourth of nine children of Robert Harvard (1562–1625), a butcher and tavern owner, and his wife Katherine Rogers (1584–1635), a native of Stratford-upon-Avon. Her father, Thomas Rogers (1540–1611), served on the borough corporation's council with John Shakespeare.[citation needed] Harvard was baptised in St Saviour's Church (now Southwark Cathedral)[5] and attended St Saviour's Grammar School, where his father was a member of the governing body and a warden of the parish church. His grandparents' house in Stratford-upon-Avon, largely rebuilt after a fire of 1595, survives as 'Harvard House'.[6]

In 1625, bubonic plague reduced the immediate family to only John, his brother Thomas, and their mother. Katherine was soon remarried‍—‌firstly in 1626 to John Elletson (1580–1626), who died within a few months, then (1627) to Richard Yearwood8度彩票官网 (1580–1632). She died in 1635, Thomas in 1637.

Left with some property, Harvard's mother was able to send him to the University of Cambridge,[7] He was admitted as a pensioner to Emmanuel College, Cambridge on 19 December 1627; he was awarded his B.A. in 1632 and M.A. in 1635.[8] He was subsequently ordained a dissenting minister.[9][better source needed]

Marriage and career[edit]

On 19 April 1636,[8] Harvard married Ann Sadler (1614–55) of Ringmer in Sussex, sister of his college contemporary John Sadler, at St Michael the Archangel Church, in the parish of South Malling, Lewes.[citation needed]

In the spring or summer of 1637, the couple emigrated to New England, where Harvard became a freeman of Massachusetts[7] and, settling in Charlestown, a teaching elder of the First Church there[10] and an assistant preacher.[9] In 1638, a tract of land was deeded[clarification needed] to him there, and he was appointed that same year to a committee "to consider of some things tending toward a body of laws."[7][clarification needed]

He built his house on Country Road (later Market Street and now Main Street), next to Gravel Lane, a site that is now John Harvard Mall. His orchard extended up the hill behind his house.[11]

Death[edit]

On 14 September 1638, Harvard died of tuberculosis and was buried at Charlestown's Phipps Street Burying Ground. In 1828, Harvard University alumni erected a granite monument to his memory there,[7][12] his original stone having disappeared during the American Revolution.[10]

Harvard's widow, Ann, is supposed to have married Thomas Allen, his successor as the teacher of the Charlestown church. Allen acted as administrator in the execution of Harvard's estate and paid his bequests.[13] On 3 May 1639 Allen received the large grant of 500 acres of land from the General Court, "in regard to Mr. Harvard's gift".[14]

Founder of Harvard College[edit]

Tablets outside Harvard Yard's Johnston Gate. The tablet on the left quotes from a longer history which continues, "And as we were thinking and consulting how to effect this great work, it pleased God to stir up the heart of one Mr. Harvard (a godly gentleman and a lover of learning, there living among us) to give the one-half of his estate (it being in all about 1700 £) toward the erecting of a college, and all his library. After him, another gave 300 £; others after them cast in more; and the public hand of the state added the rest." [15]
Emmanuel College window (1884) depicting John Harvard on left
Tablets, Emmanuel College chapel

Two years before Harvard's death the Great and General Court of the Massachu­setts Bay Colony‍—‌desiring to "advance learning and perpetuate it to posterity: dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches, when our present ministers shall lie in the dust"‍—‌appropriated 400 toward a "schoale or colledge"[4] at what was then called Newtowne.[15] In an oral will spoken to his wife[16] the childless Harvard, who had inherited considerable sums from his father, mother, and brother,[17] bequeathed to the school 780‍—‌half of his monetary estate‍—‌with the remainder to his wife;[5] perhaps more importantly[18] he also gave his scholar's library comprising some 329 titles (totaling 400 volumes, some titles being multivolume works).[19]:192 In gratitude, it was subsequently ordered "that the Colledge agreed upon formerly to bee built at Cambridg shalbee called Harvard Colledge." [4] (Even before Harvard's death, Newtowne had been renamed[4] Cambridge, after the English university attended by many early colonists, including Harvard himself.)[20]

Founding "myth"[edit]

"Smartass" tourguides[21][22] and the Harvard College undergraduate newspaper, The Harvard Crimson[23] commonly assert that John Harvard does not merit the honorific founder, because the Colony's vote had come two years prior to Harvard's bequest. But as detailed in a 1934 letter by Jerome Davis Greene, Secretary of the Harvard Corporation, the founding of Harvard College was not the act of one but the work of many; John Harvard is therefore consid­ered not the founder, but rather a founder,[24][25]8度彩票官网 of the school‍—‌though the timeliness and generosity of his contribu­tion have made him the most honored of these:

8度彩票官网The quibble over the question whether John Harvard was entitled to be called the Founder of Harvard College seems to me one of the least profitable. The destruc­tion of myths is a legiti­mate sport, but its only justifica­tion is the establish­ment of truth in place of error.

If the founding of a universi­ty must be dated to a split second of time, then the founding of Harvard should perhaps be fixed by the fall of the presi­dent's gavel in announc­ing the passage of the vote of 28 October, 1636. But if the founding is to be regarded as a process rather than as a single event [then John Harvard, by virtue of his bequest "at the very threshold of the College's existence and going further than any other contribu­tion made up to that time to ensure its permanence"] is clearly entitled to be consid­ered a founder. The General Court 8度彩票官网... acknowl­edged the fact by bestowing his name on the College. This was almost two years before the first President took office and four years before the first students were graduated.

These are all familiar facts and it is well that they should be understood by the sons of Harvard. There is no myth to be destroyed.[26]

Memorials and tributes[edit]

A statue in Harvard's honor—not, however, a 'likeness' of him, there being nothing to indicate what he had looked like[9]—is a prominent feature of Harvard Yard (see John Harvard statue) and was featured on a 1986 stamp, part of the United States Postal Service's Great Americans series.[27] A figure representing him also appears in a stained-glass window in the chapel of Emmanuel College, Cambridge.[9][7]

The John Harvard Library in Southwark, London, is named in Harvard's honor, as is the Harvard Bridge that connects Boston to Cambridge.[28] There is a memorial window in his honor in Southwark Cathedral.[29]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tedder, Henry Richard (1891). . In Stephen, Leslie; Lee, Sidney (eds.). Dictionary of National Biography. 25. London: Smith, Elder & Co. pp. 77–78.
  2. ^ Samuel Eliot Morison, The founding of Harvard College (1936) Appendix D, and pp 304-5
  3. ^ Conrad Edick Wright, Harvard Magazine. January–February 2000. "By the time the Harvards settled in Charlestown John must already have been in failing health ... Consumption kills slowly. By the time Harvard died, he knew what he wanted to do with his estate."
  4. ^ a b c d
  5. ^ a b Rowston, Guy (2006). Southwark Cathedral – The authorised Guide.
  6. ^ Historic England. . National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  7. ^ a b c d e Wikisource-logo.svg Wilson, J. G.; Fiske, J., eds. (1892). . Appletons' Cyclop?dia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton.
  8. ^ a b . A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  9. ^ a b c d Retrieved 2012-05-01
  10. ^ a b Melnick, Arseny James. . Retrieved 20 September 2011.
  11. ^
  12. ^ Edward Everett (1850). . I. Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown. pp. 185–189.
  13. ^ J. Savage, A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, 4 Vols. (Little, Brown & Co., Boston 1860), I, (Internet Archive).
  14. ^ R. Frothingham, The History of Charlestown, Massachusetts (Charles C. Little & James Brown, Boston 1845), (Internet Archive).
  15. ^ a b
  16. ^ Callan, Richard L. . The Harvard Crimson. 28 April 1984. Retrieved 13 October 2012
  17. ^ . 16. Harvard Graduates' Magazine Association. 1908. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
  18. ^ Alfred C. Potter, Harvard Illustrated Magazine, vol. IV no. 6, March 1903, pp. 105–112.
  19. ^ Potter, Alfred Claghorn (1913). . Cambridge: J. Wilson.
  20. ^ Degler, Carl Neumann (1984). . New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-131985-3. Retrieved 20 September 2011.
  21. ^ Shand-Tucci, Douglas (2001). . Princeton Architectural Press. pp. 46–&#x200B, 51. ISBN 9781568982809.
  22. ^ Primus V (May–June 1999). . Harvard Magazine. open access
  23. ^ . Harvard Crimson. 26 November 1934. When the members of the Memorial Society place a wreath on the statue of John Harvard today, expecting to honor the memory and the image of the founder of Harvard College, they will be honoring the likeness of another man and the name of a man who was not the legal founder of the college. open access
  24. ^ Morison, Samuel Eliot (1935). . p. . John Harvard cannot rightly be called the founder of Harvard College...
  25. ^ Mather, Cotton (1853). Robbins, Thomas (ed.). 2. Hartford: S. Andrus & Son. p. 10. But that which laid the most significant stone in the foundation, was the last will of Mr. John Harvard ...
  26. ^ Excerpted from Greene, Jerome Davis (11 December 1934). . Harvard Crimson. ("Don't quibble, Sybil" is a line from No?l Coward's 1930 Private Lives.)
  27. ^
  28. ^ Alger, Alpheus B.; Matthews, Nathan Jr. (1892). . Boston, Massachusetts: Rockwell and Churchill. p. 14. Retrieved 20 September 2011.
  29. ^ . library.bc.edu.

Further reading[edit]

  • Rendle, William (1885). John Harvard, St. Saviour's, Southwark, and Harvard University, U.S.A. London: J.C. Francis.
  • Shelley, Henry C. (1907). . Boston, MA: Little, Brown, and Co.

External links[edit]

  • Potter, Alfred Claghorn (1913). . Cambridge: J. Wilson.