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Call No.: UAI 15.874
Repository: Harvard University Archives
Creator: Langdon, Samuel, 1723-1797.
Title: Papers of Samuel Langdon, 1745-1790, 1896.
Date(s): 1745-1790, 1896.
Quantity: 0.2 cubic feet (1 boxes)
Abstract: Samuel Langdon (1723-1797) was a schoolmaster, army chaplain, pastor of the First Church in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, from 1747 to 1774, and thirteenth president of Harvard College, serving from 1774 to 1780. This collection contains a small number of letters written by Langdon, a few of Langdon's sermons, and a few documents pertaining to other aspects of Langdon's life.
- Harvard University. Corporation. Harvard College Papers, 1st series, 1636-1825, 1831 (UAI 5.100): http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.ARCH:hua62011Search HOLLIS (Harvard's online library system) for works by and about Samuel Langdon.Citations to published versions of the documents in this collection are noted in the folder list.
Samuel Langdon (1723-1797) was the thirteenth president of Harvard College, serving from 1774 to 1780 and presiding over the College during the American Revolution.Langdon was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1723. The youngest of six children and of limited financial means, he worked his way through Harvard College as a waiter and as the recipient of several scholarships. He received his A.B. degree in 1740 and his A.M. degree in 1743.Langdon began his career as a schoolmaster in Ipswich, Massachusetts in 1741, accepting a teaching position in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, three years later. In 1745, he was named Chaplain of a New Hampshire regiment sent to Cape Breton Island to lay siege to the fortress of Louisbourg. Following his military service, Langdon married Elizabeth Whipple Brown in 1746 and was appointed Pastor of the First Church in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in 1747.For the next twenty five years, Langdon established his reputation as a man of learning and piety, promoting religious tolerance and education. As the colonies' dispute with England grew, Langdon worried that the Crown would establish Anglican control over the colonies, and he placed his support with the colonists.Chosen primarily for his political sympathies, Langdon was installed as President of Harvard College in 1774. The unfortunate combination of a smallpox epidemic in Cambridge, economic inflation, a decline in revenues, and the distractions of impending war left the College in a state of disarray and undercut Langdon's ability to effectively manage College affairs. Temporary evacuation of the College from 1775 to 1776 further hampered Langdon's administration. Ultimately, it was Langdon's attempts to impose a more religious character on College life that infuriated students and led to Langdon's resignation in 1780.Langdon returned to New Hampshire, where he served as pastor in Hampton Falls until his death in 1797.References:
- Morison, Samuel Eliot. Three Centuries of Harvard, 1636-1936. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1936.
- Peterson, Mark A. "Langdon, Samuel "; http://www.anb.org.ezp-prod1.hul.harvard.edu/articles/01/01-00492.html American National Biography Online February 2000.
- Quincy, Josiah. The History of Harvard University, Vol. II. Cambridge, Massachusetts: John Owen, 1840.
- "Samuel Langdon." Dictionary of American Biography Base Set. American Council of Learned Societies, 1928-1936. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington, Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2009: http://galenet.galegroup.com.ezp-prod1.hul.harvard.edu/servlet/BioRC
- Sanborn, Franklin B. "Reverend Samuel Langdon. "Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Second Series, Vol. XVIII, 1903, 1904. Boston: The Society, 1905. 192-232.
- Sanborn, Franklin B."Two New Hampshire Libraries in Hampton Falls, 1785." Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, October, 1909-June, 1910, Vol. XLIII. Boston: The Society, 1910. 33-45.
- Shipton, Clifford K.Biographical Sketches of Those Who Attended Harvard College in the Classes 1736-1740, Sibley's Harvard Graduate Series, Vol. X. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 1958.
This collection consists of five letters written by Langdon, seven of Langdon's sermons, including a sermon delivered by Langdon as chaplain to the Continental Army in Cambridge on May 21, 1775, and a small series of documents pertaining to other aspects of Langdon's life, including a summary of Langdon's activities as army chaplain during the Revolutionary War.
This document last updated 2016 November 3.