Ephraim Emerton (February 18, 1851 – March 3, 1935) was an American
educator, author, translator, and historian prominent in his field of
European medieval history.
1 Early life and education
2 Academic career
3.2 Pamphlets, booklets, articles
5 Further reading
6 External links
Early life and education
Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Ephraim Emerton was born in Salem, Massachusetts, to James and Martha
West Emerton. His elder brother was James Henry Emerton
(1847–1930), naturalist and arachnologist.
At the age of twenty, Emerton graduated from Harvard College. He
continued his postgraduate education in
Germany and received his
doctorate from the
University of Leipzig
University of Leipzig in 1876. Returning to
Massachusetts the following year, he married Sybil M. Clark of
Cambridge and accepted a teaching position at Harvard.
Emerton served at first as an instructor in both
History and German
language. He eventually became Harvard's foremost professor of
Ecclesiastical History, and served on the faculty for forty-two years
(1876–1918). A devout Unitarian, he taught at the Harvard
Divinity School and most of his writings deal with religious figures
and issues. In 1882, he was appointed to a Harvard chair as Winn
Professor of Ecclesiastical History, the first such professorship
bestowed by the Winn financial endowment.
In 1884, Emerton became one of the founders of the oldest and largest
historians' society in the United States, the American Historical
Association. Throughout his life he was active in numerous academic
organizations including the New England
History Teachers' Association,
the Massachusetts Historical Society, the
Essex Institute and the
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
American Academy of Arts and Sciences of which he was a Fellow.
Emerton retired from teaching on September 1, 1918 and he was granted
the title of professor emeritus. In his retirement he continued his
historical research and translation work. He remained active with
academic groups and, in 1921, he accepted the position of president of
the Cambridge Historical Society. He died at his home in Cambridge
on March 3, 1935 at the age of eighty-four.
The Dutch theologian Erasmus (1466–1536) was the inspiration for
Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam, first published as one
section of a multi-author compilation called Heroes of the
Reformation. Published as a standalone book in 1899, it is regarded by
scholars as his greatest historical work.
Emerton frequently contributed to larger works, writing articles for
books, journals, and even the New York Evening Post. He was an
authoritative contributor to the New International Encyclopedia
(1914), and provided the full entries for Erasmus and the papacy.
Emerton also authored several widely read textbooks for high school
and college students, including Mediaeval Europe, 814–1300 and An
Introduction to the Study of the
Middle Ages (375-814), which were
highly acclaimed by his contemporaries. Professor Emerton's texts
were standard reading within the American educational system for
decades after their publication.
A facility for languages never left Emerton, and the translation of
medieval German and Latin texts to contemporary English language was
his special occupation. One of his most enduring efforts is a
translation of the letters of Saint Boniface, the last work published
before his death.
Emerton's body of work includes:
Synopsis of the history of continental Europe, 800-1250. Cambridge:
W.H. Wheeler. 1880. OCLC 19021084.
Mediaeval Europe, 814–1300. Boston: Ginn & Co. 1894.
OCLC 391878. Retrieved 2014-10-13.
An Introduction to the Study of the
Middle Ages (375-814). Boston:
Ginn & Co. 1899. OCLC 560266601. Retrieved 2014-10-13.
Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons. 1899.
OCLC 312661. Retrieved 2014-10-13.
Unitarian Thought. New York: Macmillan Co. 1911. OCLC 1403642.
Beginnings of Modern
Europe (1250–1450). Boston: Ginn & Co.
1917. OCLC 484803. Retrieved 2014-10-13.
The Defensor Pacis of Marsiglio of Padua: A Critical Study. Cambridge:
Harvard University Press. 1920. OCLC 257462319. Retrieved
Learning and Living:Academic Essays. Cambridge: Harvard University
Press. 1921. OCLC 697952360. Retrieved 2014-10-13.
Humanism and Tyranny, Studies in the Italian Trecento. Cambridge:
Harvard University Press. 1925. OCLC 1561687.
The correspondence of Pope Gregory VII: Selected letters from the
Registrum. New York: Columbia University Press. 1932.
OCLC 1471578. Retrieved 2014-10-13.
The letters of Saint Boniface. New York: Macmillan Co. 1934.
OCLC 499912626. Retrieved 2014-10-13.
Pamphlets, booklets, articles
"The Calvin celebration : Four hundredth anniversary of his
birth". The Evening Post.
New York Evening Post
New York Evening Post Co. (July 10). 1909.
"Fra Salimbene and the Franciscan Ideal". Harvard Theological Review.
8 (04): 480–503. 1915. doi:10.1017/s0017816000009196.
Diesterweg, Friedrich Adolph Wilhelm. "The Historical Seminary in
American Teaching". Methods of Teaching History. Boston: Ginn, Heath,
& Co. pp. 11–200.
Papers of Ephraim Emerton, 1891–1930, a collection of notes and
lectures including a sound recording, is in the permanent collection
Harvard University Library
Harvard University Library (
^ a b c d e f g "Ephraim Emerton, Historian, is Dead: Harvard
Emeritus Was an Authority on
Middle Ages and Reformation".
New York Times. New York. March 4, 1935. Retrieved 2014-10-13.
^ "J.H. Emerton Dies; Noted Naturalist;
Author and Entomologist Passes
Away in Boston at the Age of 83". New York Times. New York. December
7, 1930. Retrieved 2014-10-13.
^ a b c d e "
Ephraim Emerton (1851–1935)". Andover-Harvard
Theological Library, Harvard Divinity School. 2000. Retrieved
^ a b c "
Ephraim Emerton Resigned". The Harvard Crimson (20 May).
1918. Retrieved 2014-10-13.
^ Quinquennial catalogue of the officers and graduates of Harvard
university, 1636–1915. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
1915. p. 27. Retrieved 2014-10-13.
New International Encyclopedia
New International Encyclopedia (II ed.). Dodd, Mead & Co. 1914.
^ Paetow, L.J. (1918). "Reviews of Books: The Beginnings of Modern
Europe (1250–1450) by Ephraim Emerton". The American Historical
Review. American Historical Association. 23 (04): 842–844.
doi:10.2307/1836341. JSTOR 1836341.
Founding the Fathers: Early Church
History and Protestant Professors
in Nineteenth Century America, by Elizabeth A. Clark. Philadelphia:
University of Pennsylvania Press. 2011. ISBN 978-0-8122-4319-2
Works by or about
Ephraim Emerton at Internet Archive
"Emerton, Ephraim". Encyclopedia Americana. 1920.
Winn Professor of Ecclesiastical History
Winn Professorship of Ecclesiastical History
Ephraim Emerton (1882–1918)
Kirsopp Lake (1919–1932)
George Huntston Williams (1956–1963)
Heiko Oberman (1964–1966)
Helmut Koester (1968–1998)
Karen Leigh King (2003–2009)
Kevin J. Madigan (2009– )
ISNI: 0000 0001 1821 6596
BNF: cb150537863 (data)