Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com advises that these 19th Century
biographies, although edited, still contain period bias.
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ABBOTT, Gorham Dummer, educator, born in Hallowell, Maine, 3 September, 1807; died in South Natick, Massachusetts, 31 July, 1874. He was a son of Rev. Jacob Abbott, was graduated at Bowdoin College in 1826, and studied theology at Andover with the class of 1831. After receiving ordination as a Congregational minister in 1831, he became a teacher in New York City, and shortly afterward was settled at New Rochelle, New York, where he remained till 1845, doing at the same time literary work for the American Tract Society. On leaving New Rochelle he assisted his brothers in establishing a female seminary, the Abbott institute, in New York City. He founded in 1847 a young ladies' seminary, known as the Spingler institute, where he remained for thirteen years. The high reputation of this school necessitated an enlargement, and the Townsend mansion on Fifth Avenue was procured, remodelled, and converted into an annex. His seminary held a high rank, not only in New York but throughout the country, for more than thirty years. He was a successful teacher, and possessed of great executive ability. The title of LL. D. was conferred on him by Ingham University in 1860. He retired from the seminary in 1869 with a competence, but subsequent unfortunate investments caused a material diminution of his property. His researches as a biblical student displayed extreme thoroughness. He imported at his own expense a set of plates of the "Annotated Paragraph Bible" of the London Tract Society, and also published several editions of the work, which was issued at an extremely low price in order to facilitate biblical instruction. He was the author of several religious and didactic works, principal among which were the "Family at Home," "Nathan W. Dickerman," "Mexico and the United States," and "Pleasure and Profit."
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