History of Tufts College, 1854-1896Start, Alaric Bertrand
CHARLES H. LEONARD, D.D.
CHARLES H. LEONARD was born at Northwood, New Hampshire, September 16, 1822. During his childhood his parents removed to Haverhill, Massachusetts, where the boy's education began, first in the common schools, and later in the old Haverhill Academy, of which the famous Master Taggart then had charge. During his residence here he taught school, a part of the time in the school-house made famous by Whittier's "Snow-Bound," and here he first met and became acquainted with the poet. On leaving the Academy he took the classical course afforded by Bradford Seminary at Bradford, Massachusetts, whence he went to Atkinson Academy, where he pursued certain studies and acted as assistant teacher. After this he taught for four years at Bradford, continuing some advanced studies under Master Taggart and under a Mr. E. B. Morse, of Newburyport, who then stood high as a teacher of history and philosophy.
The determination to enter the ministry dates from an early age. The Congregational Church at first attracted him, but before formally beginning his theological studies he had become a convert to Universalism. At this time the only semblance of a theological school in connection with the Universalist Church was the class conducted by Dr. Sawyer at Clinton, New York. Here, in 1846, the young man went and remained two years, at the end of which time he accepted a call to the Universalist Society at Chelsea, Massachusetts.
For twenty-three years Mr. Leonard remained as pastor of the Chelsea parish, achieving the most marked success. Beginning with twenty families meeting for worship in an obscure hall up two flights of stairs, the parish grew under
|his care till at the close of his pastorate it numbered nearly four hundred, and owned the building which still stands at the corner of Chestnut and Fourth streets, unusually large and elegant for those days. A Sunday-school of six hundred members showed his success with the young people, and the beautiful observance known as Children's Sunday, instituted by him in 1856, has since been copied by societies of all denominations throughout the land.|
In the public affairs of the city Mr. Leonard always took an active interest, serving for twenty-two years on the School Board, and as Chairman of the Board of Supervisors largely influencing the founding of the Chelsea High School.
At the beginning of his pastorate in 1848 he was married to Miss Phebe Bassett, of Atkinson, New Hampshire. Mrs. Leonard died in 1872. Of three children, a son and a daughter are now living: a second son died in early manhood. Mr. Leonard spent the summer of 1858 travelling in Europe.
In 1869, with the opening of the Divinity School, Mr. Leonard was called to assist Dr. Sawyer in its conduct, assuming the chair of Sacred Rhetoric and Pastoral Theology, but still retaining for two or three years an oversight of the Chelsea society. In 1884 Dr. Sawyer retired from active service, and Dr. Leonard became the leader of the school, although not formally installed as Dean until Dr. Sawyer was made Emeritus in 1892. During his whole period of service in the school, Dr. Leonard has had charge of the departments of Homiletics and Pastoral Theology, as an instructor in which branches he has gained a wide and enviable reputation, many claiming for him the first place in order of merit among all the professors in the country.
But not merely in the class-room has Dr. Leonard worked to advance the welfare of the school. In countless ways his devotion to the institution which owes so much to him has found and is constantly finding expression. Raising funds, securing the establishment of professorships, promoting the
|growth of the library, conducting a large correspondence with ministers who constantly seek his counsel, devising means to assist needy students, -these indicate but a few of the directions in which his activities are constantly employed in unselfish service to the Divinity School.|
Dr. Leonard's exceptional ability has been recognized in many ways: under Presidents Felton and Hill he served on the Board of Examiners of Harvard College, and for many years he was a member of the Examiner Club. He has also long been a leader in the Minister's Club, an organization composed of ministers - principally those connected with educational institutions - living within a radius of ten miles of Boston. The degree of A. M. was conferred upon him by Tufts in 1869, and that of S. T. D. by St. Lawrence University in 1881.
Published by the Class of 1897. The original contains appendices with a directory of alumni, the college catalog, and the college charter. These were not included in this addition.
- This object is in collection:
- Digital Collections and Archives records
- Permanent URL