The grave of Henry Dunster, first president of Harvard College, is in the Old Burying Ground (adjacent to First Church, Unitarian) on Church Street. Harvard forced Dunster out of the presidency for his defense of believer’s baptism by immersion. Harvard never had a greater president. (See Chapter 13.).
copyrighted and used by permission from David Beale, Baptist History in England and America: Personalities, Positions, and Practices
In 1636 the General Court of Massachusetts voted to start a college. In 1638 classes began, and in 1639 the school was named Harvard.
Henry Dunster, a Cambridge University graduate, was the first president, starting in 1640. In 1643, Harvard was mentioned in New Englands First Fruits.
After God had carried us safely to New England, and we had builded our houses, provided necessaries for our livelihood, reared convenient places for God’s worship, and settled the city government; one of the next things we longed for and looked after was 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.
This quote is engraved in concrete on the Johnston Gate entrance to Harvard University.
The 1646 Rules and Precepts of Harvard included:
Let every Student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the maine end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life (John 17:3) and therefore to lay Christ in the bottome, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and Learning. And seeing the Lord only giveth wisedome, Let every one seriously set himself by prayer in secret to seeke it of him (Prov. 2:3).
The 1650 College Seal added a College Motto: In Christi Gloriam, (Glory in Christ).
The college charter was drafted in 1650 and is discussed in the Peabody Museum:
Whereas through the good hand of God many well devoted persons have been and daily are moved and stirred up to give and bestow sundry gifts legacies lands and revenues for the advancement of all good literature arts and sciences in Harvard College in Cambridge in the County of Middlesex and to the maintenance of the President and Fellows and for all accommodations of buildings and all other necessary provisions that may conduce to the education of the English and Indian youth of this country in knowledge and godliness.
Interestingly, the Peabody Museum also discusses the legacy of John Eliot:
John Eliot, Puritan missionary and member of the Harvard Corporation, was a strong poponent of these praying towns and the Indian College. Under Elliot, the first Bible in the British North American colonies was printed in 1663, in an Algonquin dialect.
In 1654, President Henry Dunster rejected pedobaptism (baptism of infants) in favor of credobaptism (baptism following confession of faith). This view put him at odds with the majority Puritan (Reformed) position, and with the minority Baptist position. Dunster is buried across the street from Harvard in the Old Burial Ground.
Sorry, no records were found. Please adjust your search criteria and try again.
Sorry, unable to load the Maps API.