Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Sprague, William Buel

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SPRAGUE, William Buel, clergyman, b. in Andover, Conn., 16 Oct., 1795; d. in Flushing, L. I.. 7 May, 1876. He was the son of Benjamin Spragne, a farmer. After graduation at Yale in 1815 he was a private tutor, studied two years at Princeton theological seminary, and in 1819 was ordained pastor of the 1st Congregational church in West Springfield, Mass., as a colleague of Rev. Joseph Lathrop, D. D., remaining there until 1829, when he was installed as pastor of the 2d Presbyterian church in Albany, N. Y. He held this charge till 1869, when he resigned and removed to Flushing. In 1828 and 1836 he visited Europe. He received the degrees of A. M. from Yale in 1819; S. T. D. from Columbia in 1828, and Harvard in 1848; and LL. D. from Princeton in 1869. Dr. Sprague made extensive collections of religious pamphlets and autographs, and presented the former to the state library at Albany, to which he also gave a manuscript volume of the “Letters of Gen. Sir Jeffrey Amherst.” Dr. Sprague also presented to the library of Harvard the papers of Gen. Thomas Gage. His autographs, numbering nearly 100,000, probably the largest private collection in the world, are now in the possession of his son. He was the author of more than 100 published sermons, memoirs, addresses, and essays, and wrote many introductions to books. His principal work is “Annals of the American Pulpit” (9 vols., New York, 1857-'69). His other books are “Letters to a Daughter” (1822); “Letters from Europe” (1828); “Letters to Young People” (1830); “Lectures on Revivals” (1832); “Hints designed to regulate the Intercourse of Christians” (1834); “Lectures illustrating the Contrast between True Christianity and various other Systems” (1837); “Life of Rev. Edward Dorr Griffin” (1838); “Letters to Young Men, founded on the Life of Joseph” (2d ed., 1845); “Aids to Early Religion” (1847); “Words to a Young Man's Conscience” (1848); “Women of the Bible” (1850); “Visits to European Celebrities” (1855); the life of Timothy Dwight in Sparks's “American Biography” (1845); and “Memoirs” of Rev. John and William A. McDowell” (1864).