Thomas Hill (clergyman)

Thomas Hill (January 7, 1818[2] – November 21, 1891[3]) was an American Unitarian clergyman, mathematician, scientist, philosopher, and educator.

Thomas Hill
Thomas Hill 1818-1891.jpg
20th President of Harvard University
In office
Preceded byCornelius Conway Felton
Succeeded byCharles William Eliot
2nd President of Antioch College
In office
Preceded byHorace Mann
Succeeded byAustin Craig
Personal details
Born(1818-01-07)January 7, 1818
New Brunswick, New Jersey
DiedNovember 21, 1891(1891-11-21) (aged 73)
Waltham, Massachusetts
ProfessionClergyman and educator


Taught to read at an early age, Hill read voraciously and was well regarded for his capacious and accurate memory. His father taught him botany, and he took a delight in nature and devised scientific instruments, one that calculated eclipses and was subsequently awarded the Scott Medal by the Franklin Institute.

Though not formally educated in his youth, Hill briefly attended the Lower Dublin Academy in Holmesburg, Pennsylvania and the Leicester Academy in Massachusetts, now the Leicester campus of Becker College, leaving in 1837.

He earned his A.B. and D.Div. from Harvard University in 1843 and 1845 respectively. He was later made an honorary member of the Hasty Pudding. Hill was president of Antioch College from 1860 to 1862 until the Civil War forced the college to shut down; he then held the presidency of Harvard University from 1862 to 1868. Ill health caused his retirement from Harvard, and from 1873, he was head of the Unitarian parish in Portland, Maine.

In 1863, he was elected as a member of the American Philosophical Society.[4] Hill claimed to have injured his testicle while gardening, an incident that made him wary of laboratory instruction at Harvard, warning students not to exert themselves too much in their studies.[5]

Hill's home in Waltham, Massachusetts, where he began his career, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


  1. ^ Chiddister, Diane (2005), Two hundred years of Yellow Springs: a collection of articles first Printed in the Yellow Springs News For the 2003 Bicentennial of Yellow Springs, Ohio, Yellow Springs OH: The Yellow Springs News, p. 23, ISBN 0-9769158-0-4
  2. ^ Hill, Thomas. "Papers of Thomas Hill: an inventory". Retrieved September 18, 2011.
  3. ^ "Harvard University". The New York Times. November 29, 1891. p. 11. Retrieved April 21, 2022 – via
  4. ^ "APS Member History". Retrieved April 16, 2021.
  5. ^ A. J. Angulo (2009). William Barton Rogers and the Idea of MIT. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins. p. 115.

External linksEdit

Academic offices
Preceded by President of Harvard University
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of Antioch College
Succeeded by
Austin Craig