Rev. Samuel Webber, DD
When the names of our founders were recorded on July 6, 1809, Rev. Webber’s name headed the list. Himself a 1784 Harvard graduate, he was ordained a Congregational minister in 1787. In 1806 he was selected as the thirteenth President of Harvard College, thrown into the conflict between founders Eliphalet Pearson and Henry Ware and their various supporters.
Before ascending to the presidency of the college, Rev. Webber had been the Hollis Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy, writing a book on mathematics that served for many years as the only textbook on the subject in New England. He also had served on the commission that drew the boundaries between the U.S. and the surrounding British Provinces, boundaries that were later recognized by the Treaty of Paris. He was the Vice President of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Rev. Webber was born in Byfield, Mass. Jan. 13, 1760 and died suddenly on July 17, 1810 at just 51 years of age, after which fellow founder John Thornton Kirkland succeeded him as Harvard’s President. Founder Henry Ware gave his eulogy.