Charles Wesley Emerson

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Portrait of Charles Wesley Emerson, ca.1897

Charles Wesley Emerson (1837 - 1908) was the founder and first president of Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. Charles Emerson was also the author of a number of books dealing with oratory and a minister with the Unitarian Church.

Life and career[edit]

Prior to establishing the College, Emerson was a minister who preached in Congregational and Unitarian parishes until 1885. In 1877, Charles Emerson enrolled in Boston University's School of Oratory where he studied Delsarte and Swedenborg under the direction and guidance of Professor Lewis B. Monroe.

In 1879, Emerson studied medicine in Philadelphia and conducted courses in elocution, expression, voice culture, art, and topics related to oratory at the Unitarian Church of Vineland, New Jersey.

Shortly after the death of Lewis B. Monroe and the closure of the School of Oratory at Boston University, Emerson opened the Boston Conservatory of Elocution, Oratory, and Dramatic Art in 1880. A year later, the name was changed to the Monroe Conservatory of Oratory, in honor of Monroe (now Emerson College).

During his time as president of the Conservatory, Emerson published a number of books including four volumes of The Evolution of Expression which became the core text in the Conservatory's curriculum.

In 1900, Henry and Jessie Southwick purchased Emerson College. Emerson retired three years later and William James Rolfe took his place as president of the college.

Emerson believed that the ability to communicate was the key to achieving one's full potential. Emerson was confident that once a student completed his academic program, he would have future success, no matter what endeavor or profession they chose.

Emerson is buried in Prospect Hill Cemetery in Millis, Massachusetts.[1]

Books by Charles Wesley Emerson[edit]

Notes[edit]

Sources[edit]