An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

General Theological Seminary, The

The oldest seminary of the Episcopal Church, founded by the 1817 General Convention. By 1827 it was located at “Chelsea Square,” in New York City, part of the family estate of Clement Clarke Moore. He was the author of “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (“'Twas the night before Christmas”) and the seminary's first professor of biblical languages. Its first class graduated in 1822. It was an American center of the Oxford Movement. The General Seminary received authority to grant degrees in 1869 and conferred its first Bachelor of Sacred Theology in 1876. Under its third dean and “most munificent benefactor,” Eugene Augustus Hoffman, most of the seminary's present quadrangle and grounds, buildings, professorships, endowments, and customs were established. The first earned doctoral degree was awarded in 1881, the first honorary doctorate in 1885. By the end of Hoffman's tenure there were nearly 150 students and thirteen full-time faculty members. The Chapel of the Good Shepherd was consecrated in 1888 by Presiding Bishop John Williams and placed under the spiritual jurisdiction of the Bishops of the Episcopal Church. The St. Mark's Library, founded in 1820 by John Pintard, also the founder of the New York Historical Society, was from the later nineteenth to the later twentieth century regarded as the finest theological library in the Episcopal Church. Women were first admitted as regular full-time degree students in the fall of 1971. Students were first allowed to marry during the academic term in the fall of 1972.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.