Samuel Harris (theologian)

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For other people named Samuel Harris, see Samuel Harris (disambiguation).
Samuel Harris
Samuel Harris Yale Divinity School.jpg
5th President of Bowdoin College
In office
Preceded by Leonard Woods
Succeeded by Joshua Chamberlain
Personal details
Born (1814-06-14)June 14, 1814
East Machias, Maine
Died June 25, 1899(1899-06-25) (aged 85)
Litchfield, Connecticut
Education Bowdoin College
Andover Theological Seminary

Samuel Harris (June 6, 1814–June 25, 1899) was the fifth president of Bowdoin College and the first to be an alumnus. After having left Bowdoin in 1871, he went on to teach at Yale Divinity School for 25 years.


Harris was born in East Machias, Maine on Jun 14, 1814 and attended Washington Academy in the same town.[1] After having graduated from Bowdoin in 1833, he attended Andover Theological Seminary in Massachusetts.[1] Harris had been a pastor in Conway, Massachusetts and Pittsfield, Massachusetts from 1841 to 1855 and had taught at the Divinity School in Bangor, Maine before becoming president of Bowdoin in 1867.[2] Having lived in Maine throughout the American Civil War, he was considered by many as a candidate for the United States Senate. Nevertheless, Harris resigned from his position at Bowdoin in 1871 after having grown tired of such activities as fund-raising.

In the same year, he began working at Yale as the Dwight Professor of Systematic Theology. There, he wrote much more often, especially in the 1880s when he published his first major work, The Philosophical Basis of Theism, which received notice from England to Japan. Additionally, God the Creator and Lord of All explained his doctrinal system and he had been writing an unfinished book at the time of his death. When he resigned in 1895, he was given the title of Professor Emeritus.[2] He continued to lecture at the school for an additional two years before permanently retiring.

Published works[edit]


The Kingdom of Christ on Earth (1875)

The Philosophical Basis of Theism (1888)

The Self-Revelation of God

God the Creator and Lord of All


  1. ^ a b Maine Missionary Society (1899). Minutes of the General Conference of the Congregatonal Churches in Maine. Portland, ME: The Thurston Print. p. 651. Retrieved 18 November 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Dwight, Timothy (1903). Memories of Yale Life and Men, 1854–1899. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company. pp. 294_300. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Leonard Woods
President of Bowdoin College
Succeeded by
Joshua Chamberlain