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[October 5, 2000]
Papers; 1696-1747, 1806; n.d.
Permission to quote any document from this collection in full must be obtained in writing from the Massachusetts Historical Society. Citations must credit the Society as the repository of the originals. All correspondence concerning permissions should be sent to:
Massachusetts Historical Society
1154 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02215
Benjamin was born in Boston to William and Elizabeth Colman. He received his masters degree from Harvard in 1692 and his Doctor of Divinity in 1695. After graduation, he lived in England for four years and was ordained by the London Presbytery in 1699. He then returned to Massachusetts and the same year became pastor of the Brattle Street Church in Boston, where he served for the rest of his life. William Cooper became his assistant in that church in 1715 and continued in that post until his (Cooper's) death in 1743. In 1700 Colman married Jane Clark and they had three children, a son and two daughters. Also in that year he was a leader of the liberal Presbyterians in a dispute with the Congregationalists over the proper procedure of worship. He served as fellow of Harvard from 1717-1728 and an overseer from 1728 until his death. In 1724, he was selected as the president of Harvard but he had to decline because of opposition in the General Court, the legislature of the colony. After his first wife's death in 1731, he married Sarah (Crisp) Clark in 1732 and after Sarah's death in 1744 he married Mary Frost in 1745. From his marriages he had at least one son and one daughter. In 1731 he received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from the University of Glasgow. He was also active in the missionary work among the New England Indians by the Society for Propagating of Christian Knowledge and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. This included work at Fort Dummer and on the St. George's River. Colman died in 1747.
Scope and Content Note
This collection consists of a reel of purchased microfilm of originals at the Massachusetts Historical Society. Documents on the microfilm consist mainly letters to and from Colman about his work as: pastor of the Brattle Street Church in Boston; supporter of missionary work in the British North American colonies by the Society for Propagating the Gospel in New England and the Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge; official of Harvard; and active participant in the religious and political life of Massachusetts. Some material relates to the Great Awakening. Persons corresponded with or discussed include James Davenport, Cotton Mather, Increase Mather, William Shirley, George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, Samuel Sewall, and Issac Watts. The attached catalog guide supplied by the Massachusetts Historical Society describes the contents of the reel in more detail.
The materials for this collection were purchased by the Center in June, 1990 from University Microfilm International.
August 1, 1990
Type of Material: Microfilm
The following item is located in the MICROFILM ROOM OF THE BGC LIBRARY:
Reel #1 - Correspondence and other papers of Benjamin Colman, 1696-1747, 1806. 35mm