Leonard, Charles H.

Leonard - full

Charles H. Leonard was born in Northwood, New Hampshire, on September 16, 1822. He was educated at the Haverhill Academy and Bradford Seminary in Massachusetts and the Atkinson Academy in New Hampshire. For several years, he taught at Bradford Seminary. Although raised in the Congregational Church, he became a Universalist and studied for the ministry with Thomas J. Sawyer at Clinton Liberal Institute in Canton, New York. He graduated and was ordained in 1848. Also in 1848, he was called to the Universalist Church in Chelsea, Massachusetts, which he served until 1871. During his ministry in Chelsea, he started an annual Children's Sunday—a practice which became popular in many churches in the Boston area and was later institutionalized in many denominations. In 1869, he was appointed Goddard Professor of Homiletics and Pastoral Theology at the newly created divinity school at Tufts, where his former mentor Sawyer had been appointed dean. When Sawyer retired from active service in 1884, Leonard became the leader of the school, although he was not formally installed as dean until 1892. He retired as dean in 1910 and died August 27, 1918.

Although the work was published anonymously, he was the compiler of A Book of Prayer for the Church and the Home, a hymnal and service book that was widely used in Universalist churches.

For more information, see History of Tufts College, ed. by Alaric Bertrand Start (Medford: Tufts College, 1896), p. 171-173; and his obituary in Universalist Leader, Sept. 7, 1918, p. 711-712. [Cabinet card photo dated 1887 (credit: Carl J. Horner, Boston): bMS 900/28 (2)]