Who in the Harvard Divinity School class of 1838 invited Ralph Waldo Emerson to address their class?
The invitation letter to Emerson was dated Mar. 21, 1838 and signed by "Geo: F. Simmons, H. G, O. Blake. W. D. Wilson". The senior class designated them to send the invitation. See The Letters of Ralph Waldo Emerson, volume 2, page 147.
The members of the senior class were:
Benjamin Fiske Barrett. Born Dresden, Me., June 24, 1808. A.B., Bowdoin, 1832 ; A.M., Bowdoin, 1835. While serving as a Unitarian preacher in East Bridgewater, Mass., Syracuse, N.Y., and other locations, he became convinced of the truth of New Church (Swedenborgian) doctrines and was ordained as a New Church minister (first degree, Philadelphia, Pa., June 7, 1840; second degree, New York, N.Y., Nov. 14, 1841; third degree, Boston, Mass., June 12, 1842). Served New Church societies in New York, N.Y., June 1840‑May 1848; Cincinnati, Ohio, Jan. 1848‑Oct. 7, 1850; and Philadelphia, Pa. .(First New Church Society), June 1864‑May 1, 1871. Founder of The American New-Church Tract and Publication Society. Died Philadelphia, Pa., Aug. 6, 1892. See: Barrett, Benjamin Fiske. Benjamin Fisk Barrett, an Autobiography. Revised and supplemented by his daughter, Gertrude A. Barrett. Philadelphia: Swedenborg Publishing Association, 1892.
Harrison Gray Otis Blake.Born Worcester, Mass., Apr. 10, 1816. A.B., Harvard, 1835. Teacher in Worcester, Mass. Died Worcester, Mass., Apr. 18, 1898.
Theodore Haskell Dorr. Born Boston, Mass., Aug. 13, 1815. A.B., Harvard, 1835. Ordained into the Unitarian ministry in Billerica, Mass., May 28, 1839 and served the First Parish there until May 1843; also served churches in East Lexington, Mass., May 1, 1845‑Aug. 1, 1849; Winchendon, Mass., June 2, 1852‑1853; and Sherborn, Mass., Dec. 3, 1854‑May 1863. Died Sherborn, Mass., Aug. 13, 1876.
Crawford Nightingale. Born Providence, R. I., Nov. 3, 1816. A.B., Brown, 1834; A.M., Brown, 1837. Ordained into the Unitarian ministry in Providence, R.I, Nov. 7; 1838. Served churches in Cabotville (now Chicopee), Mass., May 14, 1845‑June 1, 1851; Bridgeport, Conn., 1851‑1852; Groton, Mass., Jan. 26, 1853‑Aug. 18, 1866; Groton Junction (now Ayer), Mass., Apr. 8, 1868‑Apr. 1, 1878. Died Providence, R. I., Aug. 19, 1892.
George Frederick Simmons. Born Boston, Mass., Mar. 24, 1814. A.B.. Harvard, 1832 ; A.M., Harvard, 1835. Ordained into the Unitarian ministry in Boston, Mass., Oct. 9, 1838. Served churches in Mobile, Ala., Oct. 1838‑Aug. 17, 1840; Waltham, Mass., Oct. 27, 1841‑Apr. 1, 1843; Springfield, Mass., Feb. 9, 1848‑Oct. 12, 1851 ; Albany, N.Y., Jan. 1, 1854‑Sept. 5, 1855. Died Concord, Mass., Sept. 5, 1855.
Frederick Augustus Whitney. Born Quincy, Mass., Sept. 13, 1812. A.B., Harvard, 1833; A.M., Harvard, 1836. Ordained into the Unitarian ministry in Brighton, Mass., Feb. 21, 1844 and served the church there until June 1, 1858. Died Brighton, Mass., Oct. 21, 1880.
William Dexter Wilson. Born Stoddard, N. H., Feb. 28, 1816. A.M., Norwich (Vt.), 1844; S.T.D., Hobart Coll., N.Y., 1849; LL.D., Bedford (Tenn.), 1868; L.H.D., Univ. of State of New York, 1872. After four years as a Unitarian preacher, he became converted to Trinitarian principles and was ordained a Protestant Episcopal deacon, in Lowell, Mass., Apr. 7, 1842 and a priest in Rutland, Vt., Sept. 21, 1842. Rector of the Episcopal Church in Sherburne, N.Y., Sept. 1846‑May 1850. Professor of Moral and Intellectual Philosophy, Hobart College, 1850‑1868. Professor of Moral and Intellectual Philosophy, Cornell University, 1868 (emeritus after 1886)‑July 30, 1900. Dean, St. Andrew's Divinity School, Syracuse, N.Y., 1886‑Oct. 1, 1899. Died Syracuse, N.Y., July 30, 1900.
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