Manuscripts Division William L. Clements Library University of Michigan
Finding aid for William Ellery Channing Collection, 1823-1842
Finding aid created by Meg Hixon, November 2011
Title: William Ellery Channing collection Creator: Channing, William Ellery, 1780-1842 Inclusive dates: 1823-1842 Extent: 8 items Abstract:
The William Ellery Channing collection contains eight personal letters written to Channing, a Unitarian preacher, by Andrews Norton and George Armstrong, who discussed a range of religious topics related to Unitarian theology and transatlantic cooperation between Unitarian societies.
Language: The material is in English Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave. The University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190 Phone: 734-764-2347 Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu
Access and Use
1998. M-3449.3; M-3449.4.
The collection is open for research.
Copyright status is unknown
Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.
William Ellery Channing Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan
The collection is arranged chronologically.
William Ellery Channing was born on April 7, 1780, in Newport, Rhode Island, and, following his father's death, was raised primarily by his grandfather, William Ellery, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Channing graduated from Harvard in 1798 and, after spending time in Richmond, Virginia, became a vocal opponent of slavery. Upon his return north, Channing settled in Boston, where he turned the Federal Street Church into a leading institution in the Unitarian movement and helped establish both the American Unitarian Association and the Harvard Divinity School. Channing married Ruth Gibbs in 1814, and they had four children. He died on October 2, 1842.
Collection Scope and Content Note
The William Ellery Channing collection contains eight personal letters written to Channing, a Unitarian preacher, by Andrews Norton in Cambridge, England, and George Armstrong in Crossdoney, Ireland, who discussed a range of religious topics related to Unitarian theology and transatlantic cooperation between Unitarian societies. In his two letters, Norton focused on the relationship between Unitarians in the United States and those in Great Britain and, to a lesser extent, throughout Europe. He encouraged cooperation with like-minded groups and wished to compile biographical information about local believers. George Armstrong, who later moved to Bristol, England, composed five letters, in which he shared his thoughts on Channing's writings and those of other Unitarians, and on many theological matters; he also remarked briefly about British politics. Less frequently, he expressed his opinions on Americans and on slavery, which he fervently opposed. In one 17-page letter, Armstrong responded directly to a discourse recently published by Channing, challenging some of his views and presenting detailed insight into Armstrong's religious philosophy (May 29, 1834).