Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History

Sauer, Anne
Branco, Jessica
Bennett, John
Crowley, Zachary
2000

Skinner, Rev. Otis Ainsworth (1807-61)

Skinner, Rev. Otis Ainsworth (1807-61)

Otis Ainsworth Skinner (1807-61) raised the $100,000 subscription which allowed for the chartering of Tufts College in 1852.A signer of the constitution of the Tufts College Educational Association in 1855, he was also the first Secretary of the Board of Trustees. He was deeply involved in choosing the site for the school's campus, as well as selecting Tufts' first President, Hosea Ballou 2nd. Furthermore, until his departure to Illinois in 1857, he served as General Agent of the College. And, from 1851 until his death a decade years later he sat as a member of the Board of Trustees. A memorial plaque, designed by Henry Hering, was placed in Ballou Hall in 1941.It reads:TO THE MEMORY OF OTIS AINSWORTH SKINNER D D 1807-1861 HE RAISED THE FUNDS TO ESTABLISH TUFTS COLLEGE AND SERVED AS THE FIRST SECRETARY OF THE TRUSTEES, WAS INFLUENTIAL IN CHOOSING THE SITE AND SELECTING A PRESIDENT, IN DEVISING A PLAN FOR COLLEGE BUILDINGS, AND WAS APPOINTED TO SUPERINTEND THE ERECTION OF THIS BUILDING AND TO PREPARE THE COLLEGE GROUNDS

Skinner was born on July 3, 1807, in Royalton, Vermont. Following his common-school education he taught as a teenager and became an itinerant preacher at nineteen. Age twenty-one found him transferred to New Hampshire and preaching part-time. From New Hampshire he moved among parishes: first to Woburn, Massachusetts, and then to Baltimore, Maryland where he edited the Southern Pioneer. In 1837 he became minister of the Fifth Universalist Society in Boston, and from 1846 to 1848 was minister of the Orchard Street Church in New York City. In 1848 he agreed to raise the subscription to fund Tufts College, and returned to the Fifth Universalist Church in Boston, where, as a contemporary describes, he "accomplished his life's work" and "developed a symmetry of character worthy of all acceptation."

In 1853 he received an honorary degree from Harvard. In 1857 he departed, with his brothers, to Elgin, Illinois, where he soon became president of Lombard College. Though he lacked a higher education, he overcame his lack of qualifications with spirit and drive. His contemporaries praised his work at Lombard: he "possessed an indomitable energy" and, "How inspiring his presence to teacher and pupil!"As can be deduced from the vast number of memorials, obituaries, and articles, Otis Ainsworth Skinner was one of the most prominent Universalist clergymen of his lifetime.

Several descendants of Otis Ainsworth Skinner are associated with the Tufts community. Otis Skinner H1895 was the first actor to receive an honorary degree from Tufts, while his daughter Cornelia Otis Skinner H1935 received the same honor forty years later. Clarence R. Skinner H1945 served as Dean of Crane Theological School from 1933 until 1945. Dorothy Durant Skinner attended Jackson from 1942 to 1943, Dorothy May Skinner J1952 graduated magna cum laude in Biology. Edna E. Skinner was a special medical student from 1899 to 1900, Eugene Carroll Skinner took classes from 1859 to 1861.George Donald Skinner attended the medical school from 1927 to 1928, as did Ralph Douglas Skinner from 1899 to 1903.Several others attended Tufts, but they are too many to list.

The Reverend Otis Ainsworth Skinner was an exceptionally active individual, and one writer strongly believed the Reverend literally wore himself out. He died on September 18, 1861, in Naperville, Illinois, while holding an exchange pastorate at the age of fifty-four.

Sources: VF; TW

Subject terms: Skinner, Otis A. Board of Trustees People

Otis Ainsworth Skinner (1807-61) raised the $100,000 subscription which allowed for the chartering of Tufts College in 1852.A signer of the constitution of the Tufts College Educational Association in 1855, he was also the first Secretary of the Board of Trustees. He was deeply involved in choosing the site for the school's campus, as well as selecting Tufts' first President, Hosea Ballou 2nd. Furthermore, until his departure to Illinois in 1857, he served as General Agent of the College. And, from 1851 until his death a decade years later he sat as a member of the Board of Trustees. A memorial plaque, designed by Henry Hering, was placed in Ballou Hall in 1941.It reads:

TO THE MEMORY OF OTIS AINSWORTH SKINNER D D 1807-1861 HE RAISED THE FUNDS TO ESTABLISH TUFTS COLLEGE AND SERVED AS THE FIRST SECRETARY OF THE TRUSTEES, WAS INFLUENTIAL IN CHOOSING THE SITE AND SELECTING A PRESIDENT, IN DEVISING A PLAN FOR COLLEGE BUILDINGS, AND WAS APPOINTED TO SUPERINTEND THE ERECTION OF THIS BUILDING AND TO PREPARE THE COLLEGE GROUNDS

Skinner was born on July 3, 1807, in Royalton, Vermont. Following his common-school education he taught as a teenager and became an itinerant preacher at nineteen. Age twenty-one found him transferred to New Hampshire and preaching part-time. From New Hampshire he moved among parishes: first to Woburn, Massachusetts, and then to Baltimore, Maryland where he edited the Southern Pioneer. In 1837 he became minister of the Fifth Universalist Society in Boston, and from 1846 to 1848 was minister of the Orchard Street Church in New York City. In 1848 he agreed to raise the subscription to fund Tufts College, and returned to the Fifth Universalist Church in Boston, where, as a contemporary describes, he "accomplished his life's work" and "developed a symmetry of character worthy of all acceptation."

In 1853 he received an honorary degree from Harvard. In 1857 he departed, with his brothers, to Elgin, Illinois, where he soon became president of Lombard College. Though he lacked a higher education, he overcame his lack of qualifications with spirit and drive. His contemporaries praised his work at Lombard: he "possessed an indomitable energy" and, "How inspiring his presence to teacher and pupil!"As can be deduced from the vast number of memorials, obituaries, and articles, Otis Ainsworth Skinner was one of the most prominent Universalist clergymen of his lifetime.

Several descendants of Otis Ainsworth Skinner are associated with the Tufts community. Otis Skinner H1895 was the first actor to receive an honorary degree from Tufts, while his daughter Cornelia Otis Skinner H1935 received the same honor forty years later. Clarence R. Skinner H1945 served as Dean of Crane Theological School from 1933 until 1945. Dorothy Durant Skinner attended Jackson from 1942 to 1943, Dorothy May Skinner J1952 graduated magna cum laude in Biology. Edna E. Skinner was a special medical student from 1899 to 1900, Eugene Carroll Skinner took classes from 1859 to 1861.George Donald Skinner attended the medical school from 1927 to 1928, as did Ralph Douglas Skinner from 1899 to 1903.Several others attended Tufts, but they are too many to list.

The Reverend Otis Ainsworth Skinner was an exceptionally active individual, and one writer strongly believed the Reverend literally wore himself out. He died on September 18, 1861, in Naperville, Illinois, while holding an exchange pastorate at the age of fifty-four.

Sources: VF; TW

 
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Dame, Lorin Low, 1838-1903
Dana, Charles A., 1881-1975
Dana Laboratory, 1963
Daniel Ounjian Prize in Economics,
Davies, Caroline Stodder, 1864-1939
Davies House, 1894
De Florez Prize in Human Engineering, 1964
de Pacheco, Kaye MacKinnon, ca. 1910-ca. 1985
Dean Hall, 1887-1963
Dean, Oliver, 1783-1871
Dearborn, Heman Allen, 1831-1897
Department of Anatomy and Cellular Biology, 1893
Department of Anesthesia, 1970
Department of Art and Art History, 1930
Department of Biochemistry, 1893
Department of Chemistry, 1882
Department of Community Health, 1930
Department of Dermatology, 1897
The Department of Economics, 1946
Department of Medicine, 1893
Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology
Department of Neurology, 1893
Department of Neuroscience, 1983
Department of Neurosurgery, 1951
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 1893
Department of Ophthamology, 1893
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, 1906
Department of Otolaryngology, 1895
Department of Pathology, 1893
Department of Pediatrics, 1930
Department of Pharmacology, 1915
Department of Physics and Astronomy, 1854
Department of Physiology, 1893
Department of Psychiatry, 1928
Department of Radiation Oncology, 1968
Department of Radiology, 1915
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, 1955
Department of Surgery, 1893
Department of Urban and Environmental Policy, 1973
Department of Urology, 1910
Dental Health Sciences Building, 1969
Dewick, Cora Alma (Polk), 1875-1977
Dewick/MacPhie Dining Hall, 1959
Dickson Professorship of English and American History, 1913
Dirlam, Arland A., 1905-1979
Dog Cart, 1900
Dolbear, Amos Emerson, 1837-1910
Donald A. Cowdery Memorial Scholarship, 1946
Dr. Benjamin Andrews Professorship of Surgery, 1987
Dr. Philip E. A. Sheridan Prize, 1977
The Drug Bust, 1970
Dudley, Henry Watson, 1831-1906
Dugger, Edward Jr., 1919-75
Durkee, Frank W., 1861-1939
Durkee, Henrietta Noble Brown, 1871-1946
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The encyclopedia seeks to capture more than 150 years of Tufts' achievements, societal contributions and outstanding alumni and faculty in concise entries. As a source of accurate factual information, the Encyclopedia can be used by anyone interested in the history of Tufts and of the people who have made it the unique institution it is.

This object is in collection:
Digital Collections and Archives Records
Subjects
Tufts University--History
Permanent URL
http://hdl.handle.net/10427/14829
ID: tufts:UA069.005.DO.00001
To Cite: DCA Citation Guide
Usage: Detailed Rights