Edward Parmelee Smith papers
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Biographical / Historical
After graduation, he taught school for three years in Mobile, Ala., and then began the study of theology in the Yale Seminary. In March, 1853, he removed to N. Y. City, and studied in the Union Theol. Seminary, laboring also in connection with the Children's Aid Society, until the fall of 1854, when he went to Andover Seminary for the closing year of theological study. After another year spent in preaching in Rockville, Conn., and Pompey, N. Y., he was ordained pastor of the Congregational Church in Pepperell, Mass., June 11, 1856. In Jan., 1863, he offered his services to the U. S. Christian Commission, and was employed, at first as one of the General Field Agents and later as Field Secretary, until the closing of the work of the Commission, in January, 1866. He had, meantime, resigned his pastorate in 1864, and now entered the service of the American Missionary Association (devoted especially to educational work among the Freedmen) as District Secretary at Cincinnati. In 1867 he was called to N. Y. City as General Field Agent of the Association, and in that capacity performed a large share of the work of planting schools for freedmen in the South. When President Grant in 1871 invited cooperation in the work of Indian civilization, Mr. Smith resigned his position in New York, and offered his services as Indian Agent. He was appointed to the Chippewa Agency in Minnesota, and remained there until unexpectedly offered the position of Commissioner of Indian Affairs of the U. S. Government in April, 1873.
This position he resigned in 1875, and was immediately elected President of Howard University, in Washington. He accepted the Presidency, and in the spring of 1876 sailed for Africa, on invitation of the American Missionary Association, to survey and report on the work of their missions in that country. He left Sierra Leone in May in good health, but while on board the steamship Ambric on his way from Monrovia (in Liberia) was taken with the African fever, and was too ill to land at Accra, as he had intended. He died on shipboard, in the Gulf of Guinea, near the island of Fernando Po, on the night of June 15, and was buried on the 16th at the Presbyterian Mission Station, Old Calabar.
He was married, June 3, 1856, to Hannah C., daughter of Levi Bush, of Westfield, Mass., who survives him with one of their two children.
(Taken from Yale Obituaries, 1871-1880\).
- Guide to the Edward Parmelee Smith Papers
- compiled by Staff of Manuscripts and Archives
- June 1982
- Language of description
- Finding aid written in English.