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Phelps, Austin

PHELPS, AUSTIN '(1820-1890), American Congregational minister and educationalist, was born on the 7th of January 1820 at West Brookfield, Massachusetts, son of Eliakim Phelps, 1 a clergyman, who, during the boyhood of his son was principal of a girls' school in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and later pastor of a Presbyterian church in Geneva, New York. The son studied at Hobart College in 1833-1835, then at Amherst for a year, and in 1837 graduated at the university of Pennsylvania. He studied theology at Union Theological Seminary, at the Yale Divinity School, and at Andover, and was licensed to preach in 1840 by the Third Presbytery of Philadelphia. He was pastor of the Pine Street (Congregational) Church in Boston in 1842-1848, and in 1848-1879 was professor of sacred rhetoric and homiletics at Andover Theological Seminary, of which he was president from 1869 to 1879, when his failing health forced him to resign. He died on the 13th of October 1890 at Bar Harbor, Maine. His Theory of Preaching (1881) and English 1 Eliakim Phelps afterwards lived in Stratford, Herkimer county, New York, where hig house was " possessed " and was long a place of curious interest to students of " spiritualism."

Style in Public Discourse (1883) became standard textbooks; and personally he was a brilliant preacher. He married in 1842 Elizabeth Stuart (1815-1852), eldest daughter of Moses Stuart, then president of Andover; she was the author of the popular story Sunny side (1851) and of other books. In 1854 he married her sister, who died only eighteen months later; and in 1858 he married Mary A. Johnson, of Boston.

With Professors E. A. Park and D. L. Furber he edited Hymns and Choirs (1860), and with Professor Park and Lowell Mason The Sabbath Hymn Book (1859). The Still Hour (1859), a summary of a series of sermons on prayer, is a devotional classic. His other works are: The New Birth (1867), portraying conversion (in some instances) as a gradual change; Sabbath Hours (1874); Studies of the Old Testament (1878) ; Men and Books (1882) ; My Portfolio (1882) ; My Study (1885); and My Note Book (1890).

See Austin P helps: A Memoir (New York, 1891), by his daughter, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps-Ward.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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