Timothy Dwight was a prominent New England theologian, educator, and poet. Born in Northampton, Massachusetts, in 1752, Dwight enrolled in Yale at age 13 and graduated in 1769. Among his many professional achievements was the founding of a successful school in Greenfield Hill, Connecticut, in 1783. He became pastor of the Congregational Church there and, two years later, published The Conquest of Canaan—believed to be the first epic poem produced in America. He became the eighth president of Yale in 1795, serving until 1817. While president, Dwight allowed for greater faculty participation in college government, a decision that ultimately helped modernize and enhance the relevancy of the curriculum offered to future generations of Yale students.
“Guide to the Dwight and Ferris Family Papers.” Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, 2013. Link.
Silliman, Benjamin. “A Sketch of the Life and Character of President Dwight, Delivered as an Eulogium, in New Haven, February 12th, 1817 Before the Academic Body, of Yale College, Composed of the Senatus Academicus, Faculty and Students,” 1817.
Berk, Stephen E. Calvinism Versus Democracy; Timothy Dwight and the Origins of American Evangelical Orthodoxy. Hamden, CT: Archon Books, 1974.
Dwight, Timothy. The Conquest of Canaan a Poem in Eleven Books. Hartford, CT: Elisha Babcock, 1785. Link.
Dwight, Timothy. Theology Explained and Defended in a Series of Sermons. Vol. 1. 5 vols. Middletown, CT: Clark and Lyman, 1818. Link.
Cuningham, Charles E. Timothy Dwight, 1752-1817, a Biography. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1942.
Hinks, Peter. “Timothy Dwight, Congregationalism, and Early Antislavery.” In The Problem of Evil: Slavery, Freedom, and the Ambiguities of American Reform. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 2007.