Norris Galpin Osborn.

Men of mark in Connecticut; ideals of American life told in biographies and autobiographies of eminent living Americans (Volume 1) online

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to Tennyson," 1890; "Initial Studies in American Letters," 1891;
"Selections from Prose Writings of S. T. Coleridge," 1893; "A
Suburban Pastoral and Other Tales," 1894; "The Ways of Yale,"
1895; "A history of English Eomanticism in the Eighteenth Cen-
tury," 1899 ; "A History of English Eomanticism in the Nineteenth
Century," 1901, and "Points at Issue," 1904. In addition, he has
contributed a large number of short stories, poems and essays to the
leading periodicals, and articles to cyclopedias, dictionaries and other
books of reference. All of his works have received the commendation
of the reviewers, but by none is he known to Yale and college men in
general better than by "The Ways of Yale," which the critics declared
the best college book ever written in America.

In politics, the professor is true to the party of his father and
grandfather. He has held no public office and contents himself with
voting the Democratic ticket steadily and with doing what he can
to disseminate sound democracy by pen and word of mouth.

Burton J. Hendrick in his article on "Some Literary Instructors
at Yale" says : "Professor Beers prefers to surround himself with a
few choice spirits, men who are attracted purely by the love of
literature and who respond readily to the fine things of poetry and
art. With these recitations become, rather, informal discussions;
and to men of this kind, men whom — in a literary sense — he knows
that he can trust, the richness of his own nature readily unfolds
itself. He is one of the most approachable men on the Yale Faculty ;
in every way a congenial spirit and a hon enfant; one of the few
professors who can throw aside the conventional trappings of the
scholar and meet his undergraduate friends as man to man. It, there-
fore, happens that many of the finest young men at Yale, especially
those of literary bent, find their steps gravitating in the most natural
way toward his little unfurnished room in Farnam College."




EA RLY in the seventeenth century, an Englishman, John Luther,
emigrated to this country, and settled in Swansea, Massachu-
setts. He was killed by the Indians in 1644, leaving a son,
Hezekiah, the progenitor of the northern Luthers. This John Luther
was the second in descent from Johannes Luther, a German, a brother
of the great reformer, Martin Luther, who had settled in Sussex
County, England.

It may not be altogether fanciful to attribute the sterling quali-
ties of moral courage, fidelity to conviction, and directness of speech
which have marked the Massachusetts and Connecticut Luthers to the
sturdy, uncompromising temper of their remote German ancestors.
The subject of this sketch is, however, the ninth in descent from the
German settler. Captain John, and has in his veins numerous strains
of the best Puritan stock.

His father, Flavel S. Luther, Sr., was born in Providence, R. I.,
but settled in Brooklyn, Connecticut, where his son, Flavel S. Luther,
Jr., was born March 26th, 1850. Brooklyn is a typical farming town
of New England, and was the home of General Israel Putnam and
Godfrey Malbone, and the community is an admirable example of the
industrious, intelligent. God-fearing descendants of the Puritans.
Here the boy was subject to the educating influences of field and
stream and outdoor life, and household helpfulness, and social self-
respect which have made so many vigorous and able men. The relig-
ious atmosphere of Puritanism has been sometimes repressive, but the
social atmosphere of the old-time New England village has always been
bracing, natural, and conducive to manly vigor and independence.
Young Luther went to the schools which the village afforded, and was
noted as a good scholar especially in mathematics. His father was
engaged in mercantile business, and the acquaintanceship of the son
with the farmers in a circuit of four miles was large. Thus he came
to know American life and character from the foundation, even before
he went to college. This, of course, might be said of many American


country boys, but it is not every one that has the sensibility and the
judgment to build on early experience a full comprehension of
pational character as Abraham Lincoln, Whittier, Emerson, and a few
others of our eminent men have done.

His schooling finished, he went to Trinity College, Hartford,
where he entered as sophomore in his eighteenth year, and was grad-
uated at the age of twenty. He was, of course, too young to attain the
highest rank in college, but he was graduated third in his class and
took the first mathematical prize.

In the fall of 1870 he went to Troy, New York, and took charge
of a parish school of one hundred members. His success as a teacher
and disciplinarian was marked, though in addition to his duties he
studied theology under the Eev. Dr. Coit, and was ordained a deacon
in the Episcopal Church by Bishop Doane, as soon as he was of age.

In 1873, having previously married Isabel Blake Ely of Hart-
ford, he was appointed rector of the large Episcopal lichool in
Kacine, Wisconsin. He devoted himself assiduously to the study of
mathematics, and in 1876 was made professor of mathematics in
Eacine College, a position which he held till 1881, when he was elected
to the chair of mathematics in Kenyon College, Gambler, Ohio. He
remained in Gambler but two years, for in 1883 he was called to the
chair of mathematics and astronomy in Trinity College, Hartford,
thirteen years after his graduation. He filled this position very accept-
ably till he was elected president on the resignation of Dr. George W.
Smith in the summer of 1904, having been acting president for a year

While teaching mathematics and astronomy in Hartford, Pro-
fessor Luther acted as consulting engineer for the Pope Manufactur-
ing Company, in the development of the bicycle. One of his inven-
tions is used on every bicycle, and was of so much value that the
company voluntarily made him a handsome present in addition to his
salary. Like many Connecticut men, the inventive faculty is strongly
developed in Professor Luther. He is a member of the American
Society of Mechanical Engineers, and had he devoted himself to the
profession of mechanical engineering would no doubt have achieved a
marked success. As it is, practical knowledge of mechanics is only
one of the many sides in which his interest in modern life is mani-
fested. '


Professor Luther, or, as we must now call him. President Luther,
is in many ways peculiarly fitted for an educator. His life has been
spent in teaching, and the fact that he began with schoolboys widened
his experience, as did also the fact that he taught in the Middle
West as well as in New England. He was in his youth a noted athlete,
and his interest in outdoor sports helps to put him en rapport with
young men. The beautiful athletic field of Trinity is due almost
entirely to his exertions. Understanding students and sympathizing
with them as he does, he is still a stern disciplinarian whenever the
vital interests of the institution over which he presides are at stake,
and he possesses the power of discerning when a breach of discipline is
vital, and when it is venial. By nature genial and sympathetic, long
experience and natural common sense have made him a discerning
but lenient judge of human nature as manifested in American youth,
and an executive at once prompt and judicious. He joins to this a
theoretical knowledge of the science of education, and a practical
knowledge of the necessity of modifying the rigid laws under the limi-
tations of circumstances and of individual cases.

As a clergyman he is familiar with the best literature of our lan-
guage, and as a man of science he is in accord with the modern spirit.
This is a rare combination, more rare perhaps in our country than in
England — the combination of the technical man with the man of gen-
eral culture in the "humanities."

President Luther is an admirable speaker ; direct, simple and sin-
cere, always enforcing a comprehensible point, and rising at times to
forcible and eloquent presentation, or to some poetic illustration flow-
ing naturally from the subject. He speaks entirely without notes, and
in a conversational manner. He is an excellent preacher, and his
sermons to the students have not been equaled in appeal to the higher
natures of young men since Thomas Arnold preached to the boys at

President Luther received the well merited degree of LL.D.
from his alma mater in 1904, just previous to his formal inaugura-

Trinity is fortunate in finding one of her graduates so thoroughly
competent to assume the multifarious duties of the presidency, and
one so devoted to the profession of teaching that he has repeatedly
declined the pastorates of large churches, and one so devoted to her


that he refused the presidency of Kenyon while a professor in his own

A modern college president must possess some knowledge of the
general principles of modern education. He must not be exclusively
technical, but it is necessary that he understand the bearing of modem
science on modern training. He must be entirely devoid of the dis-
trust of scientific thought and scientific methods that mark many
clergymen. He must love teaching and have sympathy with youth
and a general comprehension of the way in which young men can be
developed. He must have had long experience in the profession of
teaching. He must possess executive ability and energy enough to
keep things moving, and tact enough to keep them moving in the right
direction. He must know when to be firm and when to yield slightly
in the interests of conciliation, and, when he is firm, he must be firm
without being brutal. He must be enthusiastically interested in the
college he serves, and not given to magnifying his office. He must be
able to discern among the many young recruits to the teaching pro-
fession, the ones who will second his efforts with zeal, and who are
likely to make their mark in science or learning. In addition to this
it is highly desirable that he possess the power of making brief ad-
dresses on all imaginable occasions, and of presenting succinctly all
college questions to the trustees and the alumni. In a word, he must
be a man of ability in several distinct lines ; a scholar, an administra-
tor, a man of affairs and a judge of human nature. President Luther
combines as many of these qualifications as any man in the country,
and is consequently entitled to be considered a man of mark, for
fifteen years hence he will have made his mark in the educational
world. In one respect he may not prove equal to the foremost
of his colleagues, and that is in the ability to persuade men of
wealth to interest themselves in his college. Our educational
institutions do not pay their way in dollars and cents. Every
year the income deficiency is made up by donations from friends.
A college with a surplus from invested funds at the end of
a fiscal year would be an anomaly in the educational world. But the
gifts to a college usually come in small sums, and President Luther
will attract these, for there are many who know that he is doing a good
work with insufficient means. If he should ever suggest to some very
rich man that a gift to Trinity College would serve the highest inter-


ests of society, such suggestion will be made in a frank, open manner,
and without any undignified solicitation. We are inclined to think,
however, that the rich man will be left to find out the situation for
himself, for there are rich men in our country who are ready to help an
institution which is helping the country, and are heartily sick of the
skillful cajoling and flattery to which they are subjected by applicants
for their bounty, and President Luther does not know how to flatter.
He does, however, seem to know how to excite the enthusiasm and in-
terest of the alumni, and the respect and regard of his students.


PEOFESSOE JOHNSON was bom May 8th, 1836, in the house
of his maternal grandfather, William W. Woolsey, at the comer
of Eector and Greenwich streets. New York. The lot is now
occupied by one of the tall office buildings which add to the conven-
ience as much as they detract from the beauty of the lower part of the
city. At that period Canal Street was the upper limit of the closely
built part of New York, and many of the old New Yorkers lived in
the lower part of Broadway. Through his maternal grandmother,
Elizabeth Dwight, daughter of Mary Edwards Dwight, Professor
Johnson is descended from Jonathan Edwards. His paternal grand-
mother was Katharine Livingston Bayard, daughter of Nicholas Bay-
ard. His grandfather on his father's side was William Samuel John-
son of Stratford, the president of King's College, now Columbia Uni-
versity. While he was still very young his parents moved to Owego,
Tioga County, New York, where he lived till he went to college. The
country was then undeveloped and the journey of nearly a week was
made in a carriage to Albany. Even when the road was made south-
west through Pennsylvania to the Hudson at Newburgh, the journey
by stage to New York occupied three days and two nights. The neigh-
borhood was much in the condition so well described by Cooper in the
"Pioneers." The facilities for education were very meager and con-
fined largely to the family. Professor Johnson's mother was a woman
of refined literary taste and taught her children French and Spanish
and read to them the English classics of the period, making them
learn much of Scott's poetry by heart. An English clergyman,
stranded by chance in the back country, taught Latin and Greek, pay-
ing more attention to the translation and scanning than to the gram-
mar. Euclid and algebra were taught largely by the father. At the
age of sixteen, however, the lad was able to enter the sophomore class
of Yale College and to maintain a fine standing, especially in mathe-
matics. After graduation he became an apprentice to a machine shop
in Detroit, Michigan, and reached the dignity of a journeyman. A


malarial fever injured his health so much that he returned and studied
law in an office in Owego. The practice of the profession was not
agreeable to him and, in 1865, he became assistant professor of mathe-
matics in the U. S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. Here he remained
for six years and then engaged in the manufacture of steam engines
and agricultural implements at Owego, In 1883 he became professor
of English literature at Trinity College, Hartford, where he has re-
mained ever since. For some time previous he had done considerable
literary work in the magazines of the day.

While living in Hartford Professor Johnson has published a
small volume of verse and a number of text-books and a volume of
literary essays. His "Outline History of English and American
Literature" has met with a large sale, especially in the West. For
some time he acted as literary editor on the Hartford Courant and
contributor to the editorial page. He also contributed for several
years, up to 1885, to the editoral page of the Hartford Times and
frequently to other journals. He is at present engaged on a history
of Shakesperian Criticism, though it may be considered doubtful if he
finishes it.

Professor Johnson married, in 1871, Elizabeth Jarvis McAlpine,
who died in 1881, leaving two children, Woolsey McAlpine and Jarvis
McAlpine, now of Hartford. Two years later he married Ellen Wads-
worth Terry of Cleveland, whose parents. Dr. Charles Terry and Julia
Woodbridge, both of Hartford, had gone to the Western Eeserve in
early life. She, too, died in 1896.


PEOFESSOE HENEY EEEGUSON was born in Stamford, of a
family long and honorably connected with business in New
York City. He was graduated from Trinity College with the
degree of A.B. in 1868. Soon after his graduation he went with his
brother Samuel on a sailing vessel in the Pacific. The ship was
burned and the crew and passengers took refuge in two boats. One of
these, under the command of the mate, was never heard from. The
other, in charge of the captain, laid a course for the Sandwich Islands
and after a voyage of forty days reached one of the smaller islands.
The sailors and the young Fergusons were so nearly exhausted that
they had to be carried through the surf by the natives. An account
of this remarkable experience published in Harper's Magazine was
written by Samuel Clemens, who was on the island at the time, and it
is one of the first, if not the very first occurrence of the signature,
"Mark Twain," in an Eastern magazine. Samuel Ferguson died in
California soon after and Henry studied theology in the Berkeley
Divinity School. In 1872 he was made rector of Christ Church in
Exeter, N. H., and in 1878 rector of Trinity Church, Claremont, in
the same state. In 1883 he became professor of history and political
economy in Trinity College, a position he filled with distinguished
credit until commencement in 1906, when he resigned to become
rector of St. Paul's School, Concord, N. H. In 1873 he married
Emma J, Gardiner, daughter of Professor Gardiner of the Berkeley
Divinity School.

Professor Ferguson is a man of broad interests and multifarious
learning. His original specialty was Hebrew, and his "Essay on the
Use of Hebrew Verbs" (1880) gave evidence of careful research. His
professorship compelled wide reading in history and his books "Four
Periods in the Life of the Church" and his "Essays in American
Histoi7" show accurate scholarship in a different field. He received
from his Alma Mater the degree of M.A., in 1875, and of LL.D.,
in 1902. He is a member of all the associations for political and


social science in our country and of the British Economic Association,
and also of the Century and University Clubs of New York. He has
travelled extensively in Egypt and Europe, and, indeed, has visited
every quarter of the globe. His time and ample means have been
devoted to two objects, scholarly culture and doing good to his fellow-

Besides his literary and academic activity Professor Ferguson has
always been ready to devote himself unselfishly to the service of the
community. He has been for several years an active and energetic
member of the Board of Park Commissioners of the City of Hartford,
and has held steadily in view the theory that the system of parks in a
modern city should be developed not solely with the idea of beautifying
the urban surroundings, but to furnish places of recreation to the chil-
dren of the city. The debt of the people of Hartford to him and to
several other public spirited citizens in this regard can hardly be over-
estimated. It is a service which is unpaid, except in the satisfaction
of having done good and by the recognition of the few who know how
important its future effects will be. Future generations will enjoy the
parks of Hartford without giving a thought to the names of the
men to whom it is due that they form a well connected whole, devel-
oped on a systematic plan and acquired at a comparatively small cost.
In taking the rectorship of St. Paul's School, Professor Ferguson is
actuated by the idea that he can be useful in moulding the character
of a large number of boys with whom he will come directly in contact.
The headship of a large and well established school offers a sphere of
even wider influence than the professorship in a college and involves
more constant labor. It is a sacrifice in a man of Professor Ferguson's
age to assume a new task, a sacrifice of comfort and ease to the desire
for usefulness.


PROFESSOR GENTHE was born at Leipzig, Germany, in
1871. His father was an officer of the University and the boy
enjoyed the excellent advantages of the German school system.
He early showed a bent towards natural science, to the developing of
which the influence of his mother contributed. Upon graduation
from St. Thomas's "Gymnasium," he made zoology his special study
in the University and received the degree of Ph.D., "summa cum
laude," in 1897. The following year he came to Boston, Massachu-
setts, where he acted as private tutor for a year, and then went to the
University of Michigan as instructor in zoology. There he remained
for two years and then came to Trinity College in 1901 as instructor.
In 1903 he was made assistant professor of natural history, a posi-
tion which he still holds. He has contributed to German and Amer-
ican scientific periodicals, is a fellow of the "American Association
for the Advancement of Science" and the "American Society of

Professor Genthe is recognized as an authority in his specialty
and an accomplished microscopist. At the same time he is a man of
multifarious acquirements, a type of the German "Gelehrte." He is
widely read in general literature and in philosophy, and an unusually
retentive memory enables him to acquire the substance of a book from
a single reading. He is hardly less a master of modern psychology
than of his own specialty. It can hardly be doubted that in ten years
he will rank among the best informed zoologists of the country and he
deserves to do so even now. His philosophical training enables him to
correlate his knowledge of the science of physical life with the
doctrines of the wider field of psychology and ontology, and prevents
him from narrowing his mind to the bare classification of facts with-
out regard to their bearing in the great questions of life. Although
a learned man in the fullest sense he is a patient and successful teacher
of beginners, capable at once of starting his pupils in the right path
and of accompanying them no matter how far they wish to go.

Early in 1901 Professor Genthe married Martha Krug, herself
one of the few German women who have earned the title of Ph.D. at


RAYMOND, BRADFORD PAUL, Ph.D., D.D., president of
Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, educator,
author, and preacher, was born in Stamford, Fairfield County,
Connecticut, April 22nd, 1846. He is of English descent and traces
his ancestry in this country to Richard Raymond, who came from Eng-
land to Salem, Massachusetts, and was a freeman there in May, 1634.
Dr. Raymond's father was Lewis Raymond, a farmer and a man of
strong personality and intense convictions. He was a man of social
inclinations, radical opinions, and democratic principles, and a firm
believer in the "brotherhood of man." He was selectman in Stamford
and otherwise active in town affairs. His wife. Dr. Raymond's
mother, whose maiden name was Sallie A. Jones, was a woman of
remarkably fine character and one who exerted a particularly strong
influence upon her son's moral and spiritual life.

The boy Bradford Raymond was blessed with a robust consti-
tution and health far above the average boy. He spent most of Ms
youth in the country and as the family was large there were plenty of
duties for him to perform on the farm and in the house. He was de-
termined to acquire an education, even though it must necessarily be
self-earned. From 1852 to 1861 he attended school in his native town,
Stamford, and in 1861, when he was but fifteen, he taught school
that he might earn the means of further education. Indeed he
"tried everything going" as a means to that worthy end and worked
at farming, teaching, singing-school teaching, basket making, and
preaching for the accomplishment of his purpose.

Dr. Raymond spent three years at Hamline University, Red Wing,
Minnesota, and subsequently took his academic degree at Lawrence
University, Appleton, Wisconsin. In 1873 he took his B.D. degree at
the Boston University after a three years' course there. He was
dominated by the conviction that he ought to preach and he was in
the pastorate of the Methodist Episcopal Church from 1871 to 1883.
From 3874, the year following his ordination, until 1877 he was


pastor of the Allen Street Church in New Bedford, Massachusetts,
and from 1887 to 1880 he preached in Providence, E. I. In 1880
and 1881 he studied in Germany, at Leipzig and Gottingen and upon
his return he received his Ph.D. degree at Boston University in 1881.
He was pastor of a church in Nashua, New Hampshire, from 1881
until 1883, when he was called back to his Alma Mater, Lawrence
University, to be its president and head. He served in that re-

Online LibraryNorris Galpin OsbornMen of mark in Connecticut; ideals of American life told in biographies and autobiographies of eminent living Americans (Volume 1) → online text (page 7 of 30)