The HENRY DUNSTER ASSOCIATION


The HENRY DUNSTER ASSOCIATION was founded in 2008 to honor the memory and legacy of Henry Dunster (1609-1659), the first President of Harvard College, by A. J. Melnick (USA), Charles Walker (UK) and Charles Allen (USA). All three men have taken a deep interest in commemorating Dunster's life and in honoring the enormous contributions that he made - both to our institutions, such as higher education and the creation of the first American corporation - as well as being as an enduring model for all generations of a man dedicated to honor, excellence and self-sacrifice for what he believed in.

ARSENY JAMES (JIM) MELNICK is the author of America's Oldest Corporation and First CEO: Harvard and Henry Dunster (2008), as well as a forthcoming modern biography of Dunster. He first became interested in Dunster and early Harvard College history while a graduate student at Harvard in the late 1970s. Melnick launched the Henry Dunster Association in 2008.

CHARLES WALKER, of Bury, UK, has devoted enormous time and energy to searching out various details of Dunster's birthplace and other historical issues of interest related to Henry's early life in Bury, Lancashire, UK. He has served as Vice Chairman of the Bury and District Local History Society and a council member of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society. He also lives not far from where he believes Dunster's actual birthplace is located.

CHARLES W. ALLEN (1942-2013), a tenth-generation descendant and seventh great grandson of Dunster, served as the earliest inspiration in these efforts. Charles authored a manuscript titled, I Spake the Truth: The Life and Times of Henry Dunster, which is in the Harvard University Archives. He made early visits to Cambridge (Mass.), Bury (U.K.), and Scituate (Mass.) to search out Dunster's roots. Charles died suddenly on April 14, 2013. His love and enthusiasm for "all things Henry Dunster" and for the history of the Puritans were a major part of his life. His passing leaves a large hole in our Association, but we are very thankful for all of his efforts on behalf of preserving Henry Dunster's legacy. Nearly all that we are doing is in some way following in his footsteps.

PLANS and PROJECTS of the ASSOCIATION. The Association is involved in projects from time to time that honor Henry Dunster's legacy, as well as in searching out little-known or previously unknown facts about his life and the history of that period. During 2009, the Association sought to promote celebrations of the 400th anniversary year (the Quatercentenary) of Dunster's birth in 1609.

The Association also welcomes the creation of a similar group carrying on Henry Dunster's name, the Henry Dunster Society, also founded in 2008. The Henry Dunster Society is dedicated to bringing together alumni/ae of the Bury Grammar Schools around the world and in supporting initiatives on behalf of those schools. Dunster himself is believed to have been a student at the Bury School (which was founded around 1570) and later served as either its third Master or Deputy Head Master before emigrating to America in 1640 and being asked to become the first President of the then infant and struggling Harvard College, which appeared at the time to be on the verge of extinction.

For more information, please contact the Association at: admin@henrydunster.org, or write to:

The Henry Dunster Association
PO Box 5501
Falmouth, VA 22403 USA


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This page was last updated on April 25, 2015