Edward Holyoke bigraphy, stories - Presidents

Edward Holyoke : biography

June 26, 1689 - June 1, 1769

Edward Holyoke (June 26, 1689 – June 1, 1769) was an early American clergyman, and the 9th President of Harvard College.


[1] John Adams, 1735 to 1784, Page Smith, Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, NY 1962, I, 14; 15; 16;18. [2] The Holyoke Dairies, 1709–1856, G.F. Dow, Library of Congress, and also the Los Angeles Public Library, 215 pages, 1911. [3] Biographical Sketches of Graduates of Harvard University .., John Langdon Sibley and Clifford K Shipton, Cambridge & Boston, 1873, V, 270. [4] “Holyoke, Edward, 1689-1789. Papers of Edward Holyoke: an Inventory,” Harvard University Archives, 2005, UAI 15.870. [5] Holyoke, A North American Family 1637 - 1992, John Gibbs Holyoke, Gateway Press, Inc. (Baltimore, 1993), First.

Category:1689 births Category:1769 deaths Category:Harvard University alumni Category:Presidents of Harvard University Category:Clergy in the American Revolution Category:Christian religious leaders Category:Massachusetts colonial people Category:American university and college presidents Category:Harvard University librarians


Edward Holyoke was the son of a wealthy and influential businessman, Elizur Holyoke Jr, who held several local town offices and served in the legislature. He is also the grandson of Elizur Holyoke Sr, of Springfield, MA - notable due to the fact Mount Holyoke and Holyoke, MA are attributed to him.

Edward was educated at North Grammar School, Boston, and then went directly to Harvard College, graduating in 1705 at age 16, he also gave the class' Bachelor's Oration. While at Harvard, Holyoke “had had the distinction, as an undergraduate, of having more fines and black marks recorded against his name for breaches of discipline than any student of his day. In 1708, he received his M.A from Harvard College. From 1709-1712 he was the Librarian at Harvard and between 1712-1716 he was a tutor (instructor), and (1713 - 1716) he was a Fellow of the Corporation (Harvard).

In 1714 he also became a candidate for colleague pastor with Rev. Samuel Cheever of Marblehead, but the majority of the church favored another candidate. The minority that favored Holyoke withdrew and formed a second church which Edward was ordained as pastor for the Second Church of Marblehead on April 25, 1716, and he served the Second Church of Marblehead for 21 years.

In 1736, he was appointed and then approved by Governor Belcher as the choice as President of Harvard College. The General Court agreed to pay Marblehead Society 140 pounds "to encourage and facilitate the settlement of a minister there ..." Holyoke became the 9th President of Harvard College (1737–1769), succeeding after Benjamin Wadsworth death. Holyoke's administration began during the religious revivals of the Great Awakening and lasted until the revolutionary controversy with England was entering its final phase. He immediately gained notoriety with his election-day sermon delivered before the Governor and General Court in which he boldly declared:

“All forms of government originate from the people . . . As these forms have originated from the people, doubtless they may be changed whensoever the body of them choose, to make such and alteration.”[1]

and as a liberal in politics, Holyoke was also an eloquent spokesman of new spirit of toleration that was softening the strict tenets of New England Calvinism. To minister or pastors, he had insisted on occasions, that governments ;

“should have no hand in making any laws with regard to the spiritual affairs of their people . . . [and] have no right to impose their interpretations of the laws of Christ upon their flocks . . . Every Man therefore is to judge for himself in these things.”[1]

At first, there were about 100 students at Harvard being taught by the president and four tutors. As president, Holyoke was essentially the chairman of the Harvard Corporation, for which he is responsible to the day-to-day operation of the college, but he was also expected to teach. During Holyoke's administration several reforms were undertaken to improve the intellectual climate at the College. The ancient system of each tutor taking a college class through all the subjects in a curriculum was ended, and by 1767 tutors had become specialists instructing students in particular subjects. Moreover, merit, rather than solely birth and social standing, became the criteria for entrance to Harvard College. College history prizes were offered for scholarships, and the custom of flogging students for college offenses was abandoned. Apparently, teaching was not limited to the college, but included studies at his home;

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Living octopus

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