Henry Sloane Coffin

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Rev. Henry Sloane Coffin on the cover of Time magazine November 15, 1926

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 U.S. 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 between 1893 and 1897 obtaining a Bachelor of Arts. In 1896, he was one of fifteen juniors invited to join the Skull and Bones. He continued his Master's degree on Yale, graduating 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ O Come, O Come Emmanuel on HymnSite.org
  2. ^ O Come, O Come Emmanuel 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