Forman, Charles W

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Charles William Forman was born on March 3, 1821 in Washington, Kentucky. After entering the family business manufacturing hemp, he was converted at a revival meeting when he was twenty years old. He felt burdened for the salvation of slaves on Kentucky plantations and tried to establish a ministry for them, but without success. He attended Centre College in Kentucky and then Princeton Theological Seminary. He was ordained as a Presbyterian minister on July 7, 1847 and on the same day started his journey to India as a missionary under the Presbyterian Foreign Mission Board.

Charles William Forman arrived in India in 1847 and two years later settled in Lahore in north India (now Pakistan). He was the founder of the Rang Mahal School in Lahore, the first Anglo-vernacular school in north India. This school added a college department in 1865, which was later known as Forman Christian College. Forman was very influential in developing the educational system of the Punjab area. He served on nearly every committee on education appointed by the Punjab government during his lifetime. According to the Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, Forman was theologically conservative, but "favored adaptation of Christianity to Indian custom on matters such as polygamy and he wrote appreciatively of the Sikhs and their founder. He was a friend of all, walking the streets to and from school and talking with the people daily for forty years."

Charles William Forman's first wife was Margaret Newton, with whom he had seven children, including Henry. Following the death of Margaret, Charles married Georgina Lockhart, with whom he had three children, two surviving. Charles' children Henry, John, Charles, Mary, and Emily all became Presbyterian missionaries to India. Charles died on August 27, 1894 in Lahore.

Henry Forman, son of Charles William and Margaret Newton Forman was born in 1860 in Lahore. Following his college education at the College of Wooster in Ohio, he returned to India as a Presbyterian missionary, serving stations in north India from the 1880s through 1918. He was Principal of the Sardars' School in Gwalior from 1921 to 1924, when he retired and returned to Ohio. Henry's first wife was Alice Eliza Bird. Following her death, he married Constance Newton, with whom he had a son, John Newton Forman. Following her death, he married Sarah Taylor on December 30, 1915, and had three children with her: Charles, Mary, and Robert. Henry Forman died in 1946.

John Newton Forman (1863-1917) was a Presbyterian missionary in India and one of the founders of the Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions.

Mary P. Forman (1866-ca.1952) was the head of a Presbyterian girls' school in Uttar Pradesh. Emily Forman (1867-1931) also headed a girls' school in India.

Charles W. Forman, son of Henry and Sarah (Sallie) Taylor Forman, was born in Gwalior, India in 1916. He received his B.A. and M.A. from Ohio State University, a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, and a B.D. and S.T.M. from Union Theological Seminary in New York. Following his marriage to Helen Janice Mitchell, he went as a Presbyterian missionary to India and taught at North India United Theological College in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh from 1945 to 1950.

Charles W. Forman was the successor to Kenneth Scott Latourette as professor of missions at Yale Divinity School, serving on the faculty from 1953 until his retirement in 1987. He was Acting Dean of the Divinity School from 1961 to 1963. He was chairman of the Theological Education Fund of the World Council of Churches from 1965 to 1971, chairman of the Commission on Ecumenical Mission and Relations of the Presbyterian Church from 1965 to 1971, chairman of the Foundation for Theological Education in Southeast Asia from 1970 to 1989. Following his retirement from YDS served as visiting professor at seminaries in Egypt, and in the Pacific.

The March family represented in the Addendum were relatives of the Formans by marriage. Douglas N. Forman, Sr., son of Charles Forman and grandson of Charles William Forman, married Amy March. Douglas Forman was a medical missionary in India for twenty years and later was executive secretary of the Christian Medical Council for Overseas Work, Division of Foreign Missions of the National Council of Churches.. Frederick William March sailed for Syria as a Presbyterian missionary in October 1873, in company with Henry Harris Jessup, whose papers are held in YDSL Record Group No. 117. March and his wife Jennie served the Syria Mission and were stationed in Syria and Lebanon, including Zahleh [Zahle], Tripoli, and Beirut. March engaged in evangelistic tours and literary/translation work and was principal of the Near East School of Theology from 1921-1927. See his autobiographical writing in Series VIII for more information.

From the guide to the Forman Family Papers, 1808-2011, (Yale University Divinity School Library)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Paul Ramsey Papers, 1934-1984 and undated David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
referencedIn Forman, Charles William. Forman Family papers, 1808-2002 (inclusive) 1842-1987 (bulk). Yale University, Divinity School Library
creatorOf Forman Family Papers, 1808-2011 Yale University Divinity School Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Forman, Charles William. person
associatedWith Forman Christian College (Lahore, Pakistan) corporateBody
associatedWith Forman, Henry 1946. person
associatedWith Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. North India Mission. corporateBody
correspondedWith Ramsey, Paul person
associatedWith Yale University corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Communism and Christianity
Presbyterian Church--Missions--India




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