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COLLECTION Identifier: bMS 85

Fenn, William Wallace. Papers, 1886-1932.


Papers of Unitarian minister William Wallace Fenn, containing sermons, worship and service material, correspondence, material related to his time at Harvard, and biographical information. The papers span 1886-1932.


  • 1886-1932.


There are no restrictions on access to this collection.


17 boxes

This collection is divided into five series. Series I consists of sermons, arranged chronologically with undated sermons at the end. Series II is comprised of worship and service materials, including prayers and information on funeral services. Series III contains material related to Harvard University such as a Dean's address, chapel services, and talks. Series IV consists of correspondence, arranged alphabetically by correspondent. Series V is biographical miscellany, including notes and clippings. 

Biographical / Historical

William Wallace Fenn (1862-1932) graduated from the Boston Latin School in 1881, Harvard College in 1884, and Harvard Divinity School in 1887. He was ordained at the Unity Church of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, in 1890. From 1891 to 1900, Rev. Fenn was the pastor of the First Unitarian Church of Chicago. While remaining pastor of First Unitarian in Chicago, Rev. Fenn also held the Shaw Lectureship in Biblical Literature at Meadville Theological School in Pennsylvania from 1892 to 1901, and again from 1905 to 1907. In addition to these duties, Rev. Fenn also served on the Harvard Board of Preachers from 1896 to 1898, and again from 1902 to 1905. In 1900 Rev. Fenn left Chicago to accept the Bussey Professorship of Theology at Harvard Divinity School. Rev. Fenn was named the Dean of Harvard Divinity School in 1906 and served in this capacity until 1922. Rev. Fenn did not publish extensively, but his Essex Hall Lectures in London were published in 1924 as The Christian Way of Life as Illustrated in the History of Religion in New England, and his Harvard Ingersoll Lectures were published as Immortality and Theism in 1921.


Organized into the following series:

  1. Series I. Sermons
  2. Series II. Worship and service material
  3. Series III. Harvard University
  4. Series IV. Correspondence
  5. Series V. Biographical information

Acquisition Information

Gift of Dan Huntington Fenn, 1962.

Fenn, William Wallace. Papers, 1886-1932: A Finding Aid.
Andover-Harvard Theological Library
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard Divinity School Library, Harvard University Repository

Special Collections at Harvard Divinity School Library preserves and makes accessible primary source materials documenting the history of religion and theology, with particular historical emphasis on American liberal religious traditions. Though the historical strengths of the collections have been in the field of Christianity, other religious traditions are increasingly reflected, in step with Harvard Divinity School's evolving focus on global religious studies. Known as Andover-Harvard Theological Library since 1911, it was renamed the Harvard Divinity School Library in 2021.

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