Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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ELLIS, George Edward, clergyman, born in Boston, 8 August 1814. He was graduated at Harvard in 1833, and at the Divinity School in 1836, and after two years' travel in Europe was ordained, on 11 March 1840, as pastor of the Harvard Unitarian Church, Charlestown, Massachusetts. From 1857 till 1863 he was professor of systematic theology in Harvard Divinity School. In 1864 he delivered before the Lowell institute a course of lectures on the "Evidences of Christianity," in 1871 a course on the "Provincial History of Massachusetts," and in 1879 a course on "The Red Man and the White Man in North America" (1882). He resigned the pastorate of Harvard Church on 22 February 1869. Mr. Ellis was at one time sole editor of the "Christian Register," and afterward joint editor with Rev. Geo. Putnam, D. D. ; and subsequently conducted the " Christian Examiner" for several years. He has been vice president of the Massachusetts historical society and is now (1887) president, and was a member of the board of overseers of Harvard in 1850'4, serving for one year as its secretary. Harvard gave him the degree of D.D. in 1857, and that of LL.D. in 1883.
Mr. Ellis is the fourth person who has received both these degrees from Harvard. He has published lives of "John Mason" (1844), "Anne Hutchinson" (1845), and " William Penn" (1847), in Sparks's "American Biography"; "Half Century of the Unitarian Controversy" (Boston, 1857): "Memoir of Dr. Luther V. Bell" (1868); "The Aims and Purposes of the Founders of Massachusetts, and their Treatment of Intruders and Dissentients" (1869); "Memoir of Jared Sparks" (1869); "Life of Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford," in connection with an edition of Rumford's complete works, issued by the American academy of arts and sciences (1871); "History of the Massachusetts General Hospital" (1872); "History of the Battle of Bunker Hill" (1875); an "Address on the Centennial of the Evacuation by the British Army, with an Account of the Siege of Boston" (1876); "Memoir of Charles W. Upham" (1877); "Memoir of Jacob Bigelow" (1880); "Memoir of Nathaniel Thayer" (1885); and numerous sermons and addresses.
He also printed privately memoirs of Charles Wentworth Upham and Edward Wigglesworth (1877). Mr. Ellis wrote three historical chapters for the "Memorial History of Boston" (1880'1); "The Red Man and the White Nan in North America" (1882); an "Address on the 82d Anniversary of the New York Historical Society" (1886); "The Religious Element in New England" and other chapters in the "Narrative and Critical History of America" (1886)" and several articles for the ninth edition of the "Encyclopaedia Britannica," and has contributed to periodicals.
His brother, Rufus Ellis, clergyman, born in Boston, Massachusetts, 14 September 1819; died in Liverpool, England, 23 September 1885, was graduated with honor at Harvard in 1838, and at the Cambridge theological seminary in 1841. He preached at Northampton, Massachusetts, then became the first Unitarian pastor in Rochester, New York, returned to Northampton in 1843, and from 1853 till his death he was pastor of the 1st Church in Boston. He was also lecturer in the Harvard Divinity School in 1869 and 1871, and for several years before his death was editor of the "Religious Monthly Magazine." Many of his discourses were published, including a series of sermons commemorating the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the 1st Church, which were published in a volume (Boston, 1880).
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