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Henry Clay Vedder

Henry Clay Vedder (February 26, 1853 – October 13, 1935)[1] was an American Baptist church historian, seminary professor, editor and theologian. Vedder authored numerous articles and twenty-seven books on church history and theology.


Early life and educationEdit

Vedder was born in De Ruyter, New York. He graduated from the University of Rochester with an A.B. in 1873, an A.M. in 1876 and a D.D. in 1897. He also graduated from the Rochester Theological Seminary in 1876.[2] In 1894, Vedder accepted ordination into the Baptist ministry.[3]


He was an editor at the New York Baptist newspaper Examiner from 1876 to 1894 and the Baptist Quarterly Review from 1929 to 1935.[4]

In 1894, he became professor of church history at Crozer Theological Seminary in Upland, Pennsylvania and served in that capacity until 1926.[5] After his retirement from the Crozer Theological Seminary, Vedder joined the editorial staff of the Chester Times newspaper in Chester, Pennsylvania. In addition to numerous articles, Vedder authored twenty-seven books.[6]

Vedder shifted from orthodoxy to evangelical liberalism and became the subject of criticism by fundamentalists in the 1920s. Between 1908 and 1912 Vedder began to embrace socialism, evolution and pragmatism, a new interpretation of the atonement, and salvation as both individual and social.[7] Vedder joined "social gospel" efforts with theologian Walter Rauschenbusch.[8]

Vedder was a member of the American Society of Church History.[2]

Personal lifeEdit

Vedder was married to Minnie Lingham Vedder and together they had a son Edward Bright Vedder who became a U.S. Army physician and noted researcher of beriberi.[9]

Vedder died in Chester Hospital[2] and is interred at the Chester Rural Cemetery in Chester, Pennsylvania.[10]

Four generations of Vedders have attended the University of Rochester including Henry Clay Vedder's son, Edward Bright Vedder who graduated in 1898, his grandson Henry Clay Vedder II attended the school before graduating from George Washington University and his great grandson, Henry Clay Vedder III graduated in 1998.[11]



  1. ^ "Subjects of Biographies". Dictionary of American Biography. Comprehensive Index. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 1990.
  2. ^ a b c Harkness, R.E.E. "Henry Clay Vedder". Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  3. ^ Straub, Jeffrey Paul (2018). The Making of a Battle Royal: The Rise of Liberalism in Northern Baptist Life 1870-1920. Eugene, Oregon: Pickwick Publications. pp. 257–258. ISBN 978-1-5326-1666-2. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  4. ^ Hughey, Sam (1999). "Henry C. Vedder". The Reformed Reader. Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  5. ^ Wills, George A. (2009). Southern Baptist Seminary 18559-2009. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-977412-8. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  6. ^ "Henry Clay Vedder: His Life & Thought". Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  7. ^ Garrett, James Leo (2009). Baptist Theology: A Four-century Study. Macon, Georgia: Mercer University Press. pp. 313–314. ISBN 978-0-88146-129-9. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  8. ^ Wilcox, Jeffrey A. (2013). Schleiermacher's Influences on American Thought and Religious Life, 1835-1920. Eugene, Oregon: Pickwick Publications. p. 139. ISBN 978-1-60608-005-4. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  9. ^ "Papers of Edward Bright Vedder". www.urmc.rochester,edu. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  10. ^ "Dr. Henry Clay Vedder". Retrieved 14 October 2018.
  11. ^ "Educational Tradition Passed Through Four Generations". Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  12. ^ "Historical Leaflets - Crozer theological seminary, Chester, Pa - Google Books". Retrieved 2013-06-16.
  13. ^ "The reformation in Germany - Henry Clay Vedder - Google Books". Retrieved 2013-06-16.