Edward Duffield Neill

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Neill c1842

Edward Duffield Neill (1823–1893) was an American author and educator.

Neill was born in Philadelphia. After studying at the University of Pennsylvania for some time, he enrolled at Amherst College and graduated from Amherst in 1842, then studied theology at Andover. After ordination as a Presbyterian minister, he moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1848 where he became pastor of the First Presbyterian church. He also worked as Superintendent of Public Instruction for the Territory in 1851–53, and as chancellor of the State university in 1858–61.

During the Civil War he served as an army and a hospital chaplain from 1861–64. He worked for Presidents Lincoln and Johnson, who in 1869 nominated him United States Commissioner of Education to replace Henry Barnard, however, President Grant appointed him Consul to Dublin in 1869.

He returned to the United States in 1870, and served as the president of Macalester College in St. Paul in 1873–74, thenceforth as professor of history and literature.

He wrote a large number of historical books, mostly of the Colonial period. The most important are:

  • History of Minnesota (1858; fifth edition, 1883)
  • Terra Mariœ (1867), a history of early Maryland
  • History of the Virginia Company of London (1869)
  • English Colonization of America during the Seventeenth Century (1871)
  • Minnesota Explorers and Pioneers (1881)
  • Virginia Vetusta (1885)
  • Virginia Carolorum (1886)