As is so often the case in the Commonwealth, it all started in a room full of clergy.
By the 1820s, the Methodist Episcopal Church had become the largest form of organized religion in the US 🇺🇸, and as they ironed out their many factions — old vs. new, pro-slavery vs. anti-slavery, “Star Wars” vs. “Star Trek” — they realized that they needed more academic alternatives to America’s many Calvinist colleges.
So, they got to it establishing over 200 by the time the first shots of the Civil War rang out.
That brings us to today in Boston, 1839, when a division of MEC delegates assembled to vote the Newbury Bible Seminary into existence to educate a new generation of Methodist leaders.
Newbury, Vermont housed the school until 1847, when it got too big and transferred to Concord, New Hampshire as the Methodist General Biblical Institute.
As you can tell, their marketing team was just #topnotch.
Another 20 years went by, a Civil War was fought and won #GoUnion, and the Institute moved again — this time to the dirty water, where it was rechartered as the Boston Theological Seminary in 1867.
That’s when the private sector did its thing by way of 3 Seminary trustees — Isaac Rich, Lee Claflin, and Jacob Sleeper.
Having run the table in their respective industries and been involved with academic ventures around the area, the trio was looking for a new endeavor and decided to leverage their Beacon Hill connections to make BTS an institution.
So, Lee Claflin called his son, Governor William Claflin, to get a college charter through the General Assembly and onto the Governor’s desk for a signature, which is basically the opposite of a permission slip.
Then, on May 26, 1869, Rich, Claflin, and Sleeper founded @BostonU.
Today, BU has long since gone sectarian and currently educates a whopping 33,000 students. It remains one of Boston's largest employers and an academic powerhouse.
Now the question is: @dirtyoldboston, what’s a guy gotta do to get a “Vote Clafflin” shirt on that there merch store?