Austin Phelps

Austin Phelps

Austin Phelps (January 7, 1820 - 1890), American Congregational minister and educationalist, was born at West Brookfield, Massachusetts.


He was born to Eliakim Phelps, a clergyman, who, during Austin's childhood, was the principal of a girls school in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. He then after became pastor of a Presbyterian church in Geneva, New York. Mr. Phelps' son studied at Hobart College from 1833 to 1835, then at Amherst for a year, and later obtained a degree in 1837 from the University of Pennsylvania.

He studied theology at Union Theological Seminary, at the Yale Divinity School, and later at Andover. Circa 1840, he was licensed to preach by the Third Presbytery of Philadelphia. During the Autumn of 1842, he married Elizabeth Phelps (née Stuart, August 13, 1815 - December, 1852). Around the time he got married, he was pastor of the Pine Street (Congregational) Church in Boston. In the Spring of 1848 his family moved to Andover and from then till 1879 was professor of sacred rhetoric and homiletics at Andover Theological Seminary. Later to become president from 1869 to 1879, when his failing health forced him to resign. With his wife who died of brain fever in 1852, he had three children, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps (b. 1844), Moses Stuart (b. 1849) and Amos Lawrence (b. 1852).Stuart Phelps, Elizabeth. (1985) "The Story of Avis", Rutgers University Press. pp. ix-x. ISBN 0-8135-1099-6.]

His second wife is Elizabeth's sister, Mary Stuart (b. 1822), whom he married in 1854, but who would die eighteen months later. His last married partner was Mary Ann Johnson (1829 - 1918), a woman from Boston who gave him two children. He died on the 13th of October 1890 at Bar Harbor, Maine.


His "Theory of Preaching" (1881) and "English Style in Public Discourse" (1883) became standard textbooks. 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)
*"My Note Book" (1890).



* Phelps, Austin & H. Trusta. (1853) "The Last Leaf from Sunny Side", Phillips, Sampson, and company. 342 pp.
* Phelps-Ward, Elizabeth Stuart. (1891) "Austin Phelps: A Memoir", New York.

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