HENRY DUNSTER (1609-1659), HARVARD'S FIRST PRESIDENT

    Dunster's first biographer, Jeremiah Chaplin, wrote in 1872 that, in the more than two centuries that had then elapsed since Dunster's death, "no special effort [had] been made to gather the scattered materials of [Dunster's] life into a fitting memorial, that the world might know what he was, what part he acted in laying the foundations of our civil and religious institutions, and what he was willing to suffer, with singular patience and charity, for the sake of truth, as he understood it." (Life of Henry Dunster, 1872, p. iii).

    It is hoped that in the 21st century this website can play a substantive role in helping remedy, at least in part, that failure from the past. A. J. Melnick

    Areas of Interest:


  • Baptist Influence - the Reformed Baptist Heritage
  • The Biographies
  • Birthplace
  • Bury Grammar School - Dunster as Headmaster
  • Christian Roots of Harvard College
  • Education in America - Dunster's Influence
  • Freedom of Conscience - Harvard's First Dissenter
  • Genealogy and Family
  • Graduation Day! - Class of 1642 (Harvard's first graduating class)
  • The Gravesite
  • Indian College, Propagation of the Gospel to the Indians
  • Locations - Bury (Lancashire, UK), Cambridge (Mass.), Magdalene College (Cambridge University), Mason (N.H.), Scituate (Mass.)
  • News and Events about Dunster
  • Pastor Dunster - Bury (UK), Cambridge (Mass.), Scituate (Mass.)
  • President Dunster and the Office of President
  • Printing Press - First in America
  • Scholar - Foreign Languages
  • Teaching - The Master Teacher
  • "Translatio Studii" - Dunster's Primary Role

New Book on Harvard and Henry Dunster

A new book about Henry Dunster and early Harvard history is now available.
It is titled America's Oldest Corporation and First CEO:  Harvard and Henry Dunster (2008) and is available from Amazon, Buy Books on the Web, or by writing to: A. J. Melnick, PO Box 5501, Falmouth, VA 22403 U.S.A. The price is $15.00 postage paid and autographed if ordered directly from the author.

 

Besides being a fascinating review of early Harvard and American colonial history, this book looks at Henry Dunster's major contributions - not only to American higher education and freedom of conscience, but also his key role in establishing America's first corporation, the Harvard Corporation (otherwise known as "The President and Fellows of Harvard College," or, simply, "the Corporation"). Along with the Board of Overseers, it is the main body that still runs Harvard today. The essential corporate structure that Dunster set in place in 1650 has survived, more or less, to the present day. On December 6, 2010, Harvard announced plans to expand the Corporation - the first such change in more than 300 years.

Henry Dunster also brought Harvard through a period of great financial difficulty and hardship, providing lessons for us today on sacrificial leadership and how to creatively manage economic assets in less than ideal circumstances.

This book also looks at the enduring and highly successful principles of leadership and corporate governance that Dunster laid down, which helped establish a tradition of excellence at Harvard and can serve as a guide for those who govern corporations and other organizations today.