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George Park Fisher

Professor of Ecclesiastical History

Centurion, 1897–1909

Born 10 August 1827 in Wrentham, Massachusetts

Died 20 December 1909 in Litchfield, Connecticut

Buried Grove Street Cemetery, New Haven, Connecticut

Proposed by Seth Low and James C. Carter

Elected 5 June 1897 at age sixty-nine

Proposer of:

Century Memorial

George Park Fisher was a scholar of the highest order, a theologian, philosopher and historian. He was born in Massachusetts, educated at Brown University, Andover Seminary, and in Germany, but he lived his long life of distinguished service as a professor at Yale. He was already seventy years old [sic: sixty-nine] when elected to our membership in 1897, and, delighting in its privileges, it was only in his latest years that his presence became unfamiliar to us. He was gathered to his fathers, full of years and of honors at eighty-two.

His academic life was a continuous growth to its close; beginning with the struggles of a college pastor for undergraduate righteousness, it passed into the phase of a professorship in divinity, and closed in the triumphs of a great reform accomplished by many associates but with his efficient aid. The religious radicals of his time, an era of upheaval and readjustment, found little sympathy in him, as likewise did the ultra-conservative dogmatists. But he was ardent for progress along the line of traditional change, and he saw his preferred method prevail in the end.

He was a voluminous writer; sixteen books and several score of articles or pamphlets bear his name.

Some of his volumes are critical and discursive, but in the main they are historical, and the solid basis of his fame is in his lucid work as a secular historian. For this he was honored by the presidency of the American Historical Association. For his work as a theologian he was honored by degrees from great universities at home and abroad.

From his college days he was a careful student of contemporary politics; the great issues of his own day he thoroughly understood, and his influence was everywhere felt among the wide circle of his important acquaintance. Eager and curious, judicious and fearless, his mind was not only active but stimulating. Learned, witty, wise and polished, his capacious and retentive memory gave him a store of instance and anecdote which was phenomenal. In his person, therefore, he had the charm of that companionship which so subtly flatters the other man by keeping both at their best. In all the finer relations of life he was so genuine and tender that even here the mention of the fact suffices.

William Milligan Sloane
1910 Century Association Yearbook