George Washington Burnap

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George Washington Burnap (November 30, 1802 in Merrimack, New Hampshire – September 8, 1859 in Baltimore) was a Unitarian clergyman of the United States.


His father was a Congregational minister in Merrimack. His mother died when he was seven, and a sister took care of him.[1] He graduated from Harvard College in 1824,[2] and then studied for three years at Harvard Divinity School. His studies of the Bible in college convinced him to become a Unitarian.[1] In 1828 he was ordained pastor of the First Independent Church in Baltimore, where Jared Sparks had preceded him, and which position he retained till his death.[2] He married Nancy Williams in 1831. Without neglecting his pastoral duties, Burnap devoted much of his career to studies, mostly oriented toward explaining Unitarianism to the public and justifying its doctrines in the face of its critics.[1] In 1849 he received the degree of D.D. from Harvard College.[2]


He was a voluminous writer, chiefly on theoloogical and controversial subjects. His principal works are:

  • Lectures on the Doctrines in Controversy between Unitarians and other Denominations of Christians (1835)
  • Lectures on the History of Christianity (1842)
  • Expository Lectures on the principal Texts of the Bible which relate to the Doctrine of the Trinity (1845)
  • Life of Leonard Calvert in Jared Sparks' The Library of American Biography, Volume IX (1846)
  • Lectures to Young Men on the Cultivation of the Mind, the Formation of Character, and the Conduct of Life (1848)
  • Lectures on the Sphere and Duties of Woman (1849)
  • Lectures on the Doctrines of Christianity (1850)
  • Christianity, its Essence and Evidence (1855)

Essentials of happiness quotation[edit]

Published in Burnap's The Sphere and Duties of Woman: A Course of Lectures (1848), Lecture IV: "The grand essentials of happiness in this life are: Something to do, something to love, and something to hope for."[3]


  1. ^ a b c Harris Elwood Starr (1929). "Burnap, George Washington". Dictionary of American Biography. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.
  2. ^ a b c One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainRipley, George; Dana, Charles A., eds. (1879). "Burnap, George Washington" . The American Cyclopædia.
  3. ^ Burnap, George Washington (1848). The Sphere and Duties of Woman: A Course of Lectures. J. Murphy. something to do.