Henry Sloane Coffin

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Henry Sloane Coffin
HenrySloaneCoffin-TIMEcover 400.jpg
The Rev. Henry Sloane Coffin on the cover of Time magazine November 15, 1926
Born(1877-01-05)January 5, 1877
DiedNovember 25, 1954(1954-11-25) (aged 77)
TitlePresident of the Union Theological Seminary
Spouse(s)Dorothy (nee Eells)
Academic background
EducationYale College, Union Theological Seminary

Henry Sloane Coffin (January 5, 1877, in New York City – November 25, 1954, in Lakeville, Connecticut) was president of the Union Theological Seminary, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, and one of the most famous ministers in the United States. He was also one of the translators of the popular hymn "O Come, O Come Emmanuel", along with John Mason Neale.[1][2]


Coffin was the son of Edmund Coffin and Euphemia Sloane. He was an heir to the fortune of the furniture firm of W. and J. Sloane & Co. His brother was William Sloane Coffin, who was later the president of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Coffin attended Yale College and obtained a Bachelor of Arts in 1897. In 1896, he was one of fifteen juniors invited to join the Skull and Bones. He then received his master's degree from Yale in 1900.

The gravesite of Henry Sloane Coffin

During his time at Yale, Coffin was on friendly terms with evangelist Dwight L. Moody, who devoted considerable attention to Coffin during his famous Northfield Conferences in Massachusetts. In spite of Moody's influence, Coffin would emerge as a leading theological liberal.

Coffin also obtained his Bachelor of Divinity from the Union Theological Seminary in 1900. He then became pastor of Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City in 1910. He declined an offer to become president of Union Theological Seminary in 1916. In 1917, he became Chairman of the Committee of the Board of Home Missions. In 1926, offered the presidency of Union a second time, he accepted and retained the post until 1945.

Coffin was married to Dorothy Eells. He was the uncle of William Sloane Coffin, and a member of the Yale Corporation (1921–45).

Henry Sloane Coffin died in 1954 at age 77 and was interred at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, NY.



  • Coffin, Henry Sloane; Vernon, Ambrose White (1910). Hymns of the Kingdom of God, with tunes. New York: Barnes. OCLC 816788.


Articles and chapters[edit]

  • ——— (1939). "Religion in the last hundred years". A Century of Social Thought: a series of lectures delivered at Duke University during the academic year 1938-1939 as a part of the centennial celebration of that institution. Duke University Publications. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. OCLC 3370775.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ O Come, O Come Emmanuel on HymnSite.org
  2. ^ O Come, O Come Emmanuel Archived 2010-11-04 at the Wayback Machine on WorshipTutorials

External links[edit]

Religious titles
Preceded by
The Rev. Stuart Nye Hutchison
Moderator of the 155th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America
Succeeded by
The Rev. Roy Ewing Vale