John Fletcher Hurst

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John Fletcher Hurst

John Fletcher Hurst (August 17, 1834 – May 4, 1903) was an American bishop in the Methodist Episcopal Church and first Chancellor of the American University in Washington, D.C.


Born on August 17, 1834, in Salem, Dorchester County, Maryland, Hurst graduated from Dickinson College in 1854, and in 1856 went to Germany to study at the University of Halle and the University of Heidelberg.

From 1858 to 1866 he was engaged in pastoral work in America, being ordained by Methodist Episcopal Bishop Thomas Asbury Morris in 1862. From 1866 to 1870 he filled a five-year appointment as Professor of Systematic Theology at the Martin Mission Institute in Bremen, Germany. In 1870, Hurst was chosen to teach Historical Theology at Drew Theological Seminary in Madison, New Jersey, where he was elected President in 1873, serving until elected to the Episcopacy in 1880.

Through his devotion, Hurst, recovered the endowment of Drew Theological Seminary, lost by the failure in 1876 of Daniel Drew, its founder; and with John McClintock and George Richard Crooks he improved the quality of Methodist scholarship.

As Bishop he was assigned to Des Moines, Iowa. He subsequently served as the first chancellor of the American University (Methodist Episcopal) in Washington, D.C., where through his work finances were secured and the university opened. He served as chancellor from 1891 until his death on May 4, 1903, in Bethesda, Maryland.


On the campus of American University, there is an academic building named after Hurst.


He published:

  • A History of Rationalism (1866)
  • Hagenbach's Church History of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries (2 vols., 1869), a translation
  • van Oosterzee's John's Gospel: Apologetical Lectures (1869), a translation
  • Lange's Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans (1869), a translation with additions
  • Martyrs to the Tract Cause: A Contribution to the History of the Reformation (1872), a translation and revision of Thelemann's Märtyrer der Traktatsache (1864)
  • Outlines of Bible History (1873)
  • Outlines of Church History (1874)
  • Life and Literature in the Fatherland: the Story of a Five Years' Residence in Germany (1875), sketches of Germany
  • Our Theological Century (1877), a brief pamphlet
  • Bibliotheca Theologica (1883), a compilation by his students, revised by G. W. Gillmore in 1895 under the title Literature of Theology
  • Indika: the Country and People of India and Ceylon (1891), the outgrowth of his travels in 1884-1885 when he held the conferences of India
  • A Short History of the Christian Church (1893), several church histories (Chautauqua text-books) published together

See also



  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). [ "Hurst, John Fletcher" ] Check |ws link in chapter= value (help). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • "Biographical Notes: Presidents and Key Figures in the History of Drew University". Drew Univ. Library.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Wikisource-logo.svg Ripley, George; Dana, Charles A., eds. (1879). [ "Hurst, John Fletcher" ] Check |ws link in chapter= value (help). The American Cyclopædia.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Preceded by
Chancellor, American University
Succeeded by
Charles Cardwell McCabe