Edward Hale, son of William Bainbridge Hale and Harriett Amelia Porter Hale, was born in Northampton, Massachusetts, on February 22, 1858. He studied at Phillips Exeter and Harvard, where he wrote for the Advocate and the Lampoon. After receiving an AB from Harvard in 1879, he lived in Rome, Italy, for two years and then returned to Boston to study architecture in the office of H.H. Richardson. He studied at Harvard Divinity School and received an STB in 1886. He was ordained on October 14, 1886, as associate minister of the South Congregational Church in Boston, which he served until April 1, 1891. He became the first minister of First Unitarian Church in Orange, New Jersey, which he served until July 1, 1897. From October 3, 1897, until his death on March 27, 1918, he served the First Church of Chestnut Hill in Newton, Massachusetts.
He was the architect of the first building for his church in Orange. In Chestnut Hill, he worked closely with the architect J. Lovell Little in designing a new church building, and he also designed his own residence there. During his active ministry, he also taught homiletics part-time at HDS as Assistant (1886-96), Instructor (1896-97), and Assistant Professor (1897-1906). On June 19, 1889, he married Emily Jose Milliken; they were the parents of Emily Hale (known as T.S. Eliot's muse) and William Peabody Hale.
For more information, see Heralds of a Liberal Faith, ed. by Samuel A. Eliot. Boston: American Unitarian Association, 1952. Vol. 4, p. 154-155. [Cabinet card photo (credit: Pach Brothers, Cambridge): bMS 1446/80]