George Washington Burnap
His father was a Congregational minister in Merrimack. His mother died when he was seven, and a sister took care of him. He graduated from Harvard College in 1824, and then studied for three years at Harvard Divinity School. His studies of the Bible in college convinced him to become a Unitarian. 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. 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. In 1849 he received the degree of D.D. from Harvard College.
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)
- Lectures to Young Men on the Cultivation of the Mind, &c. (1848)
- Lectures on the Sphere and Duties of Woman (1849)
- Lectures on the Doctrines of Christianity (1850)
- Christianity, its Essence and Evidence (1855)
- a life of Leonard Calvert, the first governor of Maryland, in Sparks's American Biography.
Essentials of happiness quotation
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."
- Harris Elwood Starr (1929). "Burnap, George Washington". Dictionary of American Biography. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.
- One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Ripley, George; Dana, Charles A., eds. (1879). "Burnap, George Washington". The American Cyclopædia.