Ware, Henry, 1764-1845

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Ware (Harvard, A.B., 1785) taught theology at Harvard.

From the description of Papers of Henry Ware, Sr., 1793-1842 (inclusive). (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 76972914

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.

From the guide to the Papers of Henry Ware, Sr., 1783-1842, (Harvard University Archives)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Vaughan, John, 1755-1841. Papers, 1768 - ca. 1936 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf First Church (Hingham, Mass.). Records, 1635-1961. Massachusetts Historical Society
creatorOf Eliot, Richard R. (Richard Rosewell), 1752-1818. Sermons (1810-1834) / collected by: R. Eliot. Minuteman Library Network
referencedIn Henry Ware [photograph], [ca. 1845-1850]. Massachusetts Historical Society
referencedIn Peabody, Ephraim, 1807-1856. Autograph book, 1717-1849 (bulk). Harvard University, Divinity School Library
creatorOf Topical pamphlet collection, <1741>-<1996>. Concord Free Public Library, Special Collection
creatorOf Papers of Henry Ware, Sr., 1783-1842 Harvard University Archives.
creatorOf Ware, Henry, 1764-1845. Letters, 1831 January 30 and 1834 October 6, Cambridge, to George Ticknor, Boston. Dartmouth College Library
referencedIn James Freeman Clarke correspondence, 1845-1872. Houghton Library
creatorOf Second Church (Boston, Mass.). Second Church (Boston, Mass.) records, 1650-1970. Massachusetts Historical Society
referencedIn Palfrey family papers, 1713-1915 Houghton Library
referencedIn Sumner, Charles, 1811-1874. Correspondence, 1829-1874 Houghton Library
creatorOf Ware, Henry, 1764-1845. Papers of Henry Ware, Sr., 1793-1842 (inclusive). Harvard University Archives.
creatorOf Parkman, George, 1790-1849. Letters received, ca. 1826-1847. Boston Athenaeum
creatorOf Zeuner, Charles, 1795-1857. The feast of the tabernacles : an oratorio in two parts Morning & evening sacrifice / the words by Revd. Henry Ware of Cambridge ; the music by Chs. Zeuner, Boston. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Ware, Henry, 1764-1845. Dudleian lecture delivered in the chapel of H.C., May 8, 1811. Harvard University Archives.
creatorOf Allen, Edward A. H., 1828-1898. Allen-Ware family papers, 1782-1866. Massachusetts Historical Society
creatorOf Ware, Henry, 1764-1845. Notes of Dr. Ware's lectures on the interpretation of the New Testament, 2nd term, Sen[ior] Year, 1823, Cambridge, Mass. Brown University Archives, John Hay Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
correspondedWith Clarke, James Freeman, 1810-1888 person
associatedWith First Church (Hingham, Mass.) corporateBody
associatedWith Harvard Divinity School corporateBody
associatedWith Harvard University corporateBody
correspondedWith Palfrey family. family
associatedWith Parkman, George, 1790-1849. person
associatedWith Peabody, Ephraim, 1807-1856. person
associatedWith Second Church (Boston, Mass.) corporateBody
correspondedWith Sumner, Charles, 1811-1874 person
associatedWith Ticknor, George, 1791-1871. person
associatedWith Vaughan, John, 1756-1841 person
associatedWith Zeuner, Charles, 1795-1857. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Hingham (Mass.)


Birth 1764-04-01

Death 1845-07-12


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