Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Alan S. Brown

Second Advisor

Dr. H. Nicholas Hamner

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The creation by Thomas Hollis of London of the Hollis Professorship of Divinity at Harvard College in 1721, the first endowed professorial chair in America, had three effects. First, it elevated to the chair a series of distinguished minister professors from whose classroom came most of the clergy of eighteenth century Massachusetts, to say nothing of those of the remainder of New England. Secondly, the establishment of the chair broke the lockstep of the practice inherited by Harvard College from Oxford and Cambridge Universities, by which a tutor taught all members of a class all subjects. Henceforth the divinity professor taught only divinity, and thus the vertical, or departmental, system of curricular organization was begun at the College. Thirdly, Harvard's gaining an endowed chair caused other colonial colleges-to accelerate their-quest to replicate. Harvard and gain similar endowed professorships.