Open main menu

The New York Times/Obituary; the Rev. Andrew P. Peabody

< The New York Times

THE REV. ANDREW P. PEABODY.Edit

The Rev. Dr. Andrew P. Peabody, of thirty-two years connected with the Faculty of Harvard College, died yesterday morning in Boston, after several weeks' illness, resulting from a fall. Dr. Peabody was probably more widely known and loved by graduates of Harvard than any other man connected with that institution. His dead will come as a shock to thousands of Harvard College graduates, in whose hearts he had held an affectionate place during the last thirty years. No man was more popular with the undergraduates than was he, and all who knew him regretted when he was compelled some years ago to retire from active participation in college work. No professor was more warmly cheered at the class-day gather of the graduating class about the old tree back of Hollis Hall than was Dr. Peabody. In the Harvard catalogue he is put down as "Preacher to the University and Plummer Professor of Christian Morals, Emeritus."

Dr. Peabody better represented the unifying element in Christianity than almost any New-England clergyman of his generation. Though in the dogmatic sense a Unitarian, he lived for interests which are common to the whole Christian Church. His influence was always more persuasive than person, always gentle, always manly, always rightly directed. From the first he was a literary man in the pulpit, and such he always remained, but this spirit only rendered more genial his ministration as a clergyman. Never controversial, never severely dogmatic, though his first published volume was a course of "Lectures on Christian Doctrine," his work was mainly ethical, and his principal books, like "Christianity the Religion of Nature," and "Christianity and Science," both of them attempts to state the evidences of Christianity in the terms of modern thought, are chiefly remarkable as a statement of the question at issue from the ethical point of view.

Dr. Peabody was born in Beverly, Mass., March 19, 1811. His father died when the son was only three years old, and, it is said, insisted on his deathbed that the boy should be educated for the ministry. His mother had this thought always in mind, and he was prepared for Harvard chiefly at Beverly under private teachers. He was graduated at Harvard in 1826, the youngest, with two exceptions, of any Harvard student at graduation, and after studying three years in the Divinity School and serving one year as a tutor in mathematics at the university, in 1833 he succeeded the Rev. Dr. Nathan Parker as paster of the South Parish Unitarian Church in Portsmouth, N. H. He held this pastorate until 1860, when he was appointed preacher to Harvard University and Professor of Christian Morals. This relation was maintained till the commencement season of 1881, when, resigning to give the whole time to the completion of literary work that had long been at hand, he was given an emeritus appointment. In 1862, and again during the academic year of 1868-9, he was Acting President of the University.

From his student days Dr. Peabody was always an active literary worker. He wrote sixty leading articles in the Whig Review from 1837 to 1859, was editor of the North American Review from 1852 to 1861, and contributed frequently to the Christian Examiner, the New-England Magazine, the American Monthly, and other religious and education publication. Besides more than a hundred special sermons, addresses, and orations, he published Lectures on Christian Doctrine in 1844, "Sermons of Consolation" in 1847, "Conversation-Its Faults and Its Graces," in 1856; "Christianity and the Religion of Nature" in 1864, "Sermons for Children" in 1866, "Reminiscences of Europeans Travel" in 1868, "Manual of Moral Philosophy," "Christianity and Science," in 1874; "Christian Belief and Life" in 1875, and "Harvard Reminiscences" in 1888. He also compiled a Sunday school hymn book in 1840, and edited, with memoirs, the writings of James Hennard, Jr., in 1847; the Rev. Jason Whitman in 1849, John W. Foster in 1852, Dr Charles A. Cheever in 1854, and William Plummer and William Plummer, Jr. in 1857. Dr Peabody received the degree of D.D. from Harvard in 1852 and of LL.D. from the University of Rochester in 1863.

In personal appearance Dr. Peabody was a strongly-marked man-stout, broad-shouldered, above the common height, his face full and closely shaven, his expression kindly, his almost white hair covering a well-proportioned, well-balanced head, and his air that of a man more intent upon his thought than his person.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1924. It may be copyrighted outside the U.S. (see Help:Public domain).