DUNSTER, HENRY: First president of Harvard College; b. probably at Bury (8 m. n.n.w. of Manchester), Lancashire, England, 1609 (said to have been baptized Nov. 26, 1609; cf. The Nation, lxxxiv., 1907, p. 9); d. at Scituate, Mass., Feb. 27, 1659. After studying at Magdalene College, Cambridge (B.A., 1630; M.A., 1634), he took orders; in 1640 he came to America to escape High-church tyranny. On Aug. 27 of the same year he was appointed president of Harvard, and held this position till Oct. 24, 1654, when he was forced to resign on account of his antipedobaptist views (see BAPTISTS, II., 1, § 4). He then removed to Scituate, where he was engaged in the ministry till his death. For the public proclamation regarding infant baptism, which had caused his retirement from Harvard, he was indicted by the grand jury and sentenced to a public admonition; and later he was presented to this body for failure to baptize one of his children. He did much to give standing to Harvard, and was greatly esteemed for his piety and learning. He had a good knowledge of Hebrew, and when Eliot, Welde, and Mather prepared the “Bay Psalm Book” (q.v.) they submitted the work to him for revision.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. Chaplin, Life of Henry Dunster, Boston, 1872; the histories of Harvard by B. Pierce, Cambridge, 1833, J. Quincy, Boston, 1840, and S. A. Eliot, ib. 1848; W. B. Sprague, Annals of the American Pulpit, i. 125-126, New York. 1859; DNB, xvi. 231-232.