Jared Sparks collection
Jared Sparks was born in Willington, Connecticut, on May 10, 1789, the son of Eleanor Orcutt. His mother married Joseph Sparks soon after Jared's birth, and the boy spent much of his early life in the care of aunts and uncles in Camden, New York, and Tolland, Connecticut. Sparks attended Phillips Exeter Academy from 1809 to 1811. He received two degrees from Harvard: a bachelor's degree (1815) and a master's degree in theology (1819). In 1819, he became pastor of a Unitarian congregation in Baltimore, Maryland, and in 1821 he served as the chaplain of the United States Congress. He returned to Boston in 1823, where he bought and edited the North American Review. Sparks served as Harvard's president from 1849 to 1853, and edited and published several major works on American history including The Writings of George Washington. He had one child with his first wife, Frances Anne Allen (d. 1835), and five children with his second wife, Mary Crowninshield Silsbee. Jared Sparks died on March 14, 1866.