Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Frothingham, Nathaniel Langdon

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

FROTHINGHAM, Nathaniel Langdon, clergyman, b. in Boston, Mass., 23 July, 1793; d. there, 3 April, 1870. He was graduated at Harvard in 1811, and, after teaching in the Boston Latin-school, became in 1812 instructor in rhetoric and oratory at Harvard, which office he was the first to hold. He also studied theology, and on 15 March, 1815, was ordained pastor of the 1st Congregational church (Unitarian) in Boston. He resigned his charge, on account of feeble health, in 1850. He contributed largely to religious periodicals, chiefly to the “Christian Examiner,” and published, besides nearly fifty occasional sermons, “Deism or Christianity,” in four discourses (Boston, 1845); “Sermons in the Order of a Twelve-month” (1852); and “Metrical Pieces, Translated and Original,” a collection of verses contributed to magazines (1855). These are distinguished, like his prose writings, for refinement and grace. His first notable poem was delivered at the installation of President Kirkland, of Harvard, while its author was a student there; his principal one is a version of the “Phenomena of the Stars,” from the Greek of Aratus. — His son, Octavius Brooks, author, b. in Boston, 26 Nov., 1822; d. there, 27 Nov., 1895, was graduated at Harvard, and, after three years in the divinity school, was ordained pastor of the North church (Unitarian) at Salem, in 10 March, 1847. He preached in Jersey City, N. J., in 1855-'9, then removed to New York, and became pastor of a congregation that in 1860 was organized as the “Third Unitarian Congregational church,” and represented the most radical branch of his denomination. He dissolved this society in 1879 and went to Europe, and on his return in 1881 formally withdrew from specific connection with any church, and devoted himself to literature in Boston. He was a leader in the movement that had for its object the promotion of rationalist ideas in theology, and contributed largely to various journals and reviews. In 1867 he became first president of the Free religious association. He was for a time art-critic of the “New York Tribune.” Mr. Frothingham published more than 150 sermons, and is the author of the following works: “Stories from the Lips of the Teacher” (Boston, 1863); “Stories from the Old Testament” (1864); “Child's Book of Religion” (1866); “The Religion of Humanity” (New York, 1873); “Life of Theodore Parker” (Boston, 1874); “Transcendentalism in New England” (New York, 1876); “The Cradle of the Christ” (1877); “Life of Gerrit Smith” (1878); “Life of George Ripley” (Boston, 1882); and “Memoir of William Henry Channing” (1886). — Nathaniel Langdon's daughter, Ellen, b. in Boston, 25 March, 1835, has devoted herself to German literature, and has translated Lessing's “Nathan der Weise” (1868); Goethe's “Hermann und Dorothea” (1870); Lessing's “Laokoon” (1874); and Grillparzer's “Sappho” (1876).