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COLLECTION Identifier: HUG 1871

Papers of Henry Ware, Sr., 1783-1842

Henry Ware, Sr., a Unitarian minister and theologian, was the fourth Hollis Professor of Divinity at Harvard University from 1805 until 1837. Ware was instrumental in the creation of the Harvard Divinity School and the development of Unitarianism in New England. The papers of Henry Ware, Sr. contain materials he created over more than half a century beginning as a Harvard undergraduate in 1785, a minister in Hingham, Mass., and later as the Hollis Professor of Divinity. The collection includes two quarter bills from his undergraduate years, financial records and documents created during his Hingham pastorship, sermons, lectures delivered to students, teaching materials used for Divinity School courses, and a small collection of correspondence and records related to Harvard College administration. Ware's influence as a Unitarian theologian and educator can be researched in the sermons and lectures that form the bulk of this collection, and were delivered to Harvard undergraduates and Harvard Divinity School students regularly for more than two decades.

Dates

  • 1783-1842

Researcher Access

The Papers of Henry Ware, Sr. are open for research.

Copying Restriction

Copying of fragile materials may be limited.

Extent

2.72 cubic feet (5 document boxes, 2 half legal document boxes, and 1 legal document box)

The papers of Henry Ware, Sr. contain materials he created over more than half a century beginning as a Harvard undergraduate in 1785, a minister in Hingham, Mass., and later as the Hollis Professor of Divinity. The collection is comprised of two quarter bills from his undergraduate years, financial records and documents created during his Hingham pastorship, sermons, lectures delivered to students, teaching materials used for Divinity School courses, and a small collection of correspondence and records related to Harvard College administration. The collection also includes Ware's research materials, two documents related to the publication of Ware's monograph An Inquiry into the Foundation, Evidences, and Truths of Religion, and an undated library shelflist.

Ware's election as the Hollis Professor of Divinity is considered a foundational moment in the development of Unitarian thought in New England. The sermons and lectures that form the bulk of this collection were delivered to Harvard undergraduates and Harvard Divinity School students regularly for more than two decades and help trace Ware's influence as a Unitarian theologian and educator. Ware's lectures and sermons focused on careful study of the Bible and the training of a community-minded minister, and the collection provides a resource for studying the religious curriculum of Harvard in the early 19th century.

Biographical Note

Henry Ware, Sr., a Unitarian minister and theologian, was the fourth Hollis Professor of Divinity at Harvard University from 1805 until 1837. Ware was instrumental in the creation of the Harvard Divinity School and the development of Unitarianism in New England.

Henry Ware was born on April 1, 1764 in Sherborn, Massachusetts. He received an AB from Harvard in 1785, and delivered the valedictory oration at Commencement. After graduation, Ware taught at the Cambridge town school and studied for the ministry under Timothy Hilliard, pastor of the First Church in Cambridge. Ware received an AM from Harvard in 1788 and on October 24, 1787 was ordained as the minister of the First Church in Hingham, Mass. Ware served as minister until 1805, when he was elected as Harvard's fourth Hollis Professor of Divinity, following the death of Professor of David Tappan on August 27, 1803.

Efforts to appoint a successor to Tappan had been stalled by controversy between liberal and orthodox Calvinist members of the Harvard Corporation and Board of Overseers. Ware was a liberal Unitarian, and it was only after public and contentious debate among College governors that the Corporation elected him as the Hollis Professor of Divinity on February 5, 1805. In response, Overseer Jedediah Morse published The true reasons on which the election of a Hollis professor of divinity in Harvard College was opposed at the Board of Overseers, Feb. 14, 1805, and founded the conservative Andover Theological Seminary. Opposition to Ware's appointment also precipitated the resignation in 1807 of Eliphalet Pearson, a Corporation member and the Hancock Professor of Hebrew and Other Oriental Languages.

Ware preached his last sermon in Hingham on May 5, 1805 and was inaugurated at Harvard on May 14, 1805. In 1811, Ware began teaching a course for the resident divinity students at Harvard. Traditionally, Harvard graduates interested in joining the ministry studied theology with local ministers for three years before receiving a Master's degree from Harvard. Many of these students remained in Cambridge to make use of the University Library, and Ware's course was the first to regulate their studies. In July 1816, the Society for promoting Theological Education in Harvard University was formed to raise funds to establish the Divinity School, and the first class of the Divinity School graduated in December 1817.

As an educator, Ware delivered sermons every Sunday morning to the College on the "Evidences and truths of natural and revealed religion," and for the resident Divinity students, Ware provided a weekly seminar that included a lecture and class assignments. Ware served as the Acting President of Harvard in 1810 (following the death of President Samuel Webber) and in 1828 (following the resignation of President John Thornton Kirkland). Ware's principal focus was the education of future ministers, but he also published sermons and theological works periodically. In 1820, Ware defended Unitarian theology in a published response to Dr. Leonard Wood, of the Andover Theological Seminar, entitled, Letters to Trinitarians and Calvinists.

In 1840, Ware resigned from the College due to failing eyesight, and spent the next two years developing his lectures on natural and revealed religion into An Inquiry into the Foundation, Evidences, and Truths of Religion, which was published 1842. Ware died on July 12, 1845.

Ware married Mary Clarke (1762-1805) on March 31, 1789, and before Mary's death on July 13, 1805, the couple had nine children, of whom six survived to adulthood. In February 1807, Ware married Mary Otis Lincoln, who died eight days later. On September 18, 1807, Ware married Elizabeth Bowes (1776-1850), and together they had nine children. Six of Ware's sons graduated from Harvard: Henry Ware, Jr. (1794-1843; AB 1812), John Ware (1795-1864; AB 1813), William Ware (1797-1852; AB 1816), Charles Eliot Ware (1814-1887; AB 1834), George Frederick Ware (1820-1849; AB 1838), and Thornton Kirkland Ware (1826-1896; AB 1842). Henry Ware Jr. was a member of the Harvard Divinity School faculty from 1830 to 1842.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged in twelve series:
  1. I. Quarter bills, 1783
  2. II. Financial records, 1789-1808
  3. III. Sermons and ordination charges, 1793-1838, undated
  4. ___A. Sermons, 1793-1838
  5. ___B. Funeral sermons, 1813-1834
  6. ___C. Ordination charges, 1817-1826, undated
  7. ___D. Ordination sermons, 1818-1828
  8. IV. Lectures,1808-1838, undated
  9. ___A. Lectures on natural and revealed religion, 1808-1838
  10. ___B. Lectures on the New Testament, 1811-1837
  11. ___C. Lectures on pastoral care, 1827-1830
  12. ___D. [Lecture to the graduating class], 1831
  13. V. Unidentified fragments of sermons and lectures, 1816-1830, undated
  14. VI. Records relating to the First Church of Hingham pastorship, 1795-1805
  15. VII. Records relating to Harvard College administration, [1805]-1825
  16. VIII. Teaching materials, 1817-1839
  17. IX. Correspondence, 1821-1828
  18. X. Research materials, 1823-1837, undated
  19. XI. Publishing records, 1842
  20. XII. [Library shelflist], undated

Acquisition information

The complete provenance of the papers of Henry Ware is unknown. Some records were received on February 9, 1852 as the gift of Rev. William Ware. Additional records related to Ware's pastorship in Hingham, Mass. were received in January 1978 from the First Parish of Watertown, and appear to have been owned by the Watertown Historical Society. When available, specific acquisition information is noted at the item level.

Related Materials

In the Harvard University Archives
  1. May, Samuel, 1810-1899.Exercises with Dr. Ware. No. III.[Cambridge, 1833]. (HUC 8833.318)
  2. Phi Beta Kappa Register. (HUD 3684.775)
  3. Records relating to the Hollis Professorship of Divinity, 1804-1805. (UAI 15.955)
  4. Ware, Henry, 1764-1845.Dudleian lecture delivered in the chapel of H.C., May 8, 1811. (HUC 5340.111)
  5. Papers of Henry Ware, Jr., 1817-1859. (HUG 1872)
In the Massachusetts State Archives
  1. First Parish (Hingham, Mass.) records, 1635-1961. (Ms. N-1406)
  2. Allen-Ware family papers, 1782-1866. (Ms. N-1761)

References

  • Jensen, Timothy Ward. The Wares: Three generations of American Unitarians. Thesis (Ph. D.),University of Oregon, Department of History, 2001.
  • Palfrey, John Gorham. A discourse on the life and character of the Reverend Henry Ware, D. D., A. A. S., pronounced in the First Church in Cambridge, Sept. 28, 1845. Boston: Crosby and Nichols: printed for the American Unitarian Association, 1846.
  • Wright, Conrad. "The Election of Henry Ware: Two Contemporary Accounts Edited with Commentary" in the Harvard Library Bulletin 17 (July 1969): 245-278

General note

This document last updated 2018 February 12.

Processing Information

The material was first classified and described in the Harvard University Archives shelflist prior to 1980. The collection was re-processed in 2011. Re-processing involved a collection survey, re-housing in archival folders and boxes, and the creation of this finding aid. Typed transcriptions of the correspondence in the Records related to the Hingham pastorship series were moved to the control file for this collection.

This finding aid was created by Diann Benti in May 2011.

Preservation and description of the papers of Henry Ware, Sr. was supported by the Arcadia-funded project Harvard in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries.
Link to catalog
Title
Ware, Henry, 1764-1845. Papers of Henry Ware, Sr., 1783-1842: an inventory
EAD ID
hua17011

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard University Archives Repository

Holding nearly four centuries of materials, the Harvard University Archives is the principal repository for the institutional records of Harvard University and the personal archives of Harvard faculty, as well as collections related to students, alumni, Harvard-affiliates and other associated topics. The collections document the intellectual, cultural, administrative and social life of Harvard and the influence of the University as it emerged across the globe.

Contact:
Pusey Library
Cambridge MA 02138 USA
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