Birthplace: Northampton, MA
Location of death: New Haven, CT
Cause of death: Cancer - unspecified
Remains: Buried, Grove Street Cemetery, New Haven, CT
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: President of Yale, 1795-1817
Military service: Continental Army (Chaplain)
American divine, writer, and educator, was born at Northampton, Massachusetts, on the 14th of May 1752. His father, also Timothy Dwight, a graduate of Yale College (1744), was a merchant, and his mother was the third daughter of Jonathan Edwards. He was remarkably precocious, and is said to have learned the alphabet at a single lesson, and to have been able to read the Bible before he was four years old. In 1769 he graduated at Yale College, and then for two years taught in a grammar school at New Haven. He was a tutor in Yale College from 1771 to 1777; and then, having been licensed to preach, was a chaplain for a year in a regiment of troops engaged in the War of Independence, inspiring the troops both by his sermons and by several stirring war songs, the most famous of which is "Columbia." From 1778 until 1783 he lived at Northampton, studying, farming, preaching, and dabbling in politics. From 1783 until 1795 he was pastor of the Congregational church at Greenfield Hill, Connecticut, where he opened an academy which at once acquired a high reputation and attracted pupils from all parts of the Union.
From 1795 until his death at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on the 11th of January 1817, he was president of Yale College, and by his judicious management, by his remarkable ability as a teacher -- he taught a variety of subjects, including theology, metaphysics, logic, literature and oratory -- and by his force of character and magnetic personality, won great popularity and influence, and restored that institution to the high place from which it had fallen before his appointment.
President Dwight was also well known as an author. In verse he wrote an ambitious epic in eleven books, The Conquest of Canaan, finished in 1774, but not published until 1785; a somewhat ponderous and solemn satire, The Triumph of Infidelity (1788), directed against Hume, Voltaire and others; Greenfield Hill (1794), the suggestion for which seems to have been derived from John Denham's Cooper's Hill; and a number of minor poems and hymns, the best known of which is that beginning "I love thy kingdom, Lord." Many of his sermons were published posthumously under the titles Theology Explained and Defended (5 vols., 1818-19), to which a memoir of the author by his two sons, W. T. and Sereno E. Dwight, is prefixed, and Sermons by Timothy Dwight (2 vols., 1828), which had a large circulation both in the United States and in England. Probably his most important work, however, is his Travels in New England and New York (4 vols., 1821-22), which contains much material of value concerning social and economic New England and New York during the period 1796-1817.
Mother: (daughter of Jonathan Edwards)
Son: W. T. Dwight
Son: Sereno Edwards Dwight (b. 1786, d. 1850)
University: Yale University (1769)
Theological: Doctor of Divinity, Princeton University (1787)
Teacher: Tutor, Yale University (1771-77)
Administrator: President, Yale University (1795-1817)
Skull and Bones Society
Author of books:
The Conquest of Canaan (1785, poetry, 11 volumes)
Greenfield Hill (1794, history)
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