The William Ellery Channing Collection

Collection Overview

This digitized collection brings together the work of William Ellery Channing (1780-1842), who graduated from Harvard College in 1798. As a member of the board of the Harvard Corporation from 1813 to 1826, he worked to establish the Divinity School, a goal that was realized in 1816.

A Unitarian minister, Channing served as the pastor of the Federal Street Church in Boston from 1803 until his death in 1842. In 1819 he gave the landmark Unitarian sermon “Unitarian Christianity.” The widely published sermon laid out Channing’s theological vision and spurred much debate. Its delivery stands as one of the defining moments in the history of Unitarianism in America.

In addition, Channing was an outspoken abolitionist, writing a rebuttal to Daniel Webster’s addresses on the national slave laws entitled The Duty of the Free States in 1842.

Harvard Divinity School Library also maintains a collection of books that belonged to William Ellery Channing. Explore the collection in the HOLLIS catalog.