Henry Fowle Durant

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For the founder of the University of California, see Henry Durant.

Henry Fowle Durant (originally Henry Welles Smith) (February 22, 1822 – October 3, 1881) was an American lawyer and philanthropist.

Early life and career[edit]

Durant was born in Hanover, New Hampshire[1] and graduated from Harvard in 1841. He studied law and subsequently practiced in Boston. He underwent a religious conversion and became a lay preacher in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, practicing from 1864 to 1875.

Durant contributed between one and two million dollars to found Wellesley College, in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

He died from Bright's Disease at the age of 59.[2]


  1. ^ "HANOVER HISTORICAL SOCIETY". Town of Hanover New Hampshire. Archived from the original on December 17, 2013. Retrieved December 14, 2013. 
  2. ^ Kingsley, Florence Morse (2004). The Life of Henry Fowle Durant Founder of Wellesley College. Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 0766199533.