Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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FITCH, Eleazar Thompson, educator, born in New Haven, Connecticut, 1 January 1791; died there, 31 January 1871. He was graduated at Yale in 1810, and afterward was a teacher at East Windsor Hill, and subsequently in the New Haven Hopkins grammar school. In 1812 he entered Andover theological seminary, where, after completing the regular course, he remained, pursuing advanced studies, giving assistance in instruction, and preaching, until his election, in 1817, to succeed President Dwight in the office of professor of divinity at Yale. One branch of his work was to teach theology to graduates, and in this his classes increased so that he was led to urge upon the corporation the founding of a theological department, which was organized in 1822. In this department he filled the chair of homiletics, at the same time being College preacher and pastor, and giving instruction in the academical department in natural theology and the evidences of Christianity. He delivered to successive classes a series of sermons in systematic theology, and some of his doctrinal views thus presented becoming publicly controverted, he was compelled to defend them as publicly. Impaired health compelled him to resign his office as professor, yet he retained his connection with the theological seminary as lecturer until 1861, and with the theological faculty as professor emeritus until his death. At his resignation he became a member of the " Circle of retired Clergymen and Laymen," in whose meetings he took an active part. He wrote theological reviews and other articles for periodicals, and a volume of his sermons was published in 1871.
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