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G. Frederick Wright
(George Frederick Wright)
pages 110 - 111
THE men most influential in promoting the advancement of society and in giving character to the times in which they live are two classes—the men of study and the men of action. Whether we are more indebted for the improvement of the age to the one class or the other is a question of honest difference of opinion; neither class can be spared and both should be encouraged to occupy their several spheres of labor and influence, zealously and without mutual distrust. In the following paragraphs are briefly outlined the leading facts and characteristics in the career of a gentleman who combines in his makeup the elements of the scholar and the energy of the public-spirited man of affairs. Devoted to the noble and humane work of teaching, G. Frederick Wright has made his influence felt in the school life of the State of Ohio, and is not unknown to the wider educational circles of the nation, occupying as he does a prominent place in his profession and standing high in the esteem of educators in other than his own particular field of endeavor, especially that of literature.
Professor Wright was born in Whitehall, New York, January 22, 1838, a scion of a sterling old family of the Empire State, being the son of Walter and Mary Peabody (Colburn) Wright. After finishing the usual elementary courses in the schools of his native town, young Wright entered Oberlin College, at Oberlin, Ohio, where he made a brilliant record and from which institution he was graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1859, the same college conferring on him the degree of Master of Arts in 1862, in which year he was graduated from the Oberlin Theological Seminary. He was further honored in 1887 by Brown University conferring upon him the degree of Doctor of Divinity; also Drury College in 1887 conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Laws. He was made a Fellow of the Geological Society of America in 1890.
When the Civil War broke out in 1861, he enlisted in the Union army and served his country faithfully for a period of five months, during the first year of the war.
Professor Wright was twice married, first on August 28, 1862 to Huldah Marie Day, whose death occurred in 1899. He was united in marriage with Florence Eleanor Bedford in September 1904.
The career of Professor Wright has been a busy and successful one, as only a cursory glance at his record will Show. He was pastor of the Congregational Church at Bakersfield, Vermont, from 1861-1872; he was then pastor of the church of this denomination at Andover, Massachusetts, from 1872-1881. From 1881 to 1892 he was professor of New Testament language and literature in the Oberlin Theological Seminary, also taught the harmony of science and religion at Oberlin, from 1902 to 1907, when he was made professor emeritus and retired on a Carnegie pension. He was assistant geologist on the Pennsylvania Survey in 1881 and 1882, and on the United States Survey from 1884 to 1892. He has been president of the Ohio Historical and Archaeological Society since 1907, in which he is doing a most commendable work. In pursuit of his investigations he has visited every portion of the north temperate zone. He was a pioneer in the investigation of the glaciers of Alaska, in 1886. He spent a summer in Greenland in 1894. Besides seasons spent in Europe and the Rocky Mountains, for fourteen months he traveled through China, Mongolia, Manchuria, Siberia, Turkestan, and the Caucasus and Lebanon mountains, gathering original information for the books he has published. At three different times he was invited to give courses of Lowell Institute lectures in Boston, numbering twenty-eight in all.
Both as pastor and professor, Mr. Wright won a reputation second to none of his compeers, being both an instructor and entertainer at the same time, a vigorous and independent thinker, fearless in his researches, and ever having the courage of his convictions. As a speaker he is logical, convincing and, at times, truly eloquent. A man of profound scholarship, he is familiar with the world's best literature and useful sciences, leaving no field uninvestigated, no region unexplored in the realms of the mind, ever keeping fully abreast of the times in modern thought and invention, and ever striving to inculcate such principles as makes for the amelioration of humanity in any way possible, being broad minded and progressive, altruistic and humanitarian in all that the terms imply.
As an author, Professor Wright stands deservedly high among modern men of letters, the products of his versatile and graceful pen having reached a world-wide and highly appreciative audience, his style being that of the master—clear, forceful, elegant, never prolific or uninteresting. He is the author of the following publications: "Logic of Christian Evidences," 1880; "Studies in Science and Religion," 1882; "The Relation of Death to Probation," 1882; "The Divine Authority of the Bible," 1884; "Glacial Boundary in Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky"; "Ice Age in North America," 1889; "Charles Grandison Finney,"1891; "Man and the Glacial Period," 1892; "Greenland Ice Fields and Life in the North Atlantic," 1896; "Scientific Aspects of Christian Evidences," 1898; "Asiatic Russia" (two volumes), 1902; "Scientific Confirmations of Old Testament History," 1906; "Origin and Antiquity of Man," 1912. He has been editor of "Bibliotheca Sacre" since 1884; also editor of "Records of the Past," since 1905.
Professor Wright is essentially cosmopolitan in his ideas, a man of the people in the fullest sense, and a representative type of that strong American manhood which commands and retains respect by reason of inherent merit, sound sense and correct conduct. He has so impressed his individuality upon his fellow men wherever his lot has been cast as to win their highest esteem and become a strong and influential power in leading them to high and noble things. Measured by the accepted standard of excellence, he career has been eminently honorable and useful, and his life fraught with great good to humanity and to the world.
Transcriber's Note: George Frederick Wright died 20 Apr 1921 at Oberlin, Lorain County, Ohio (Ohio Death Certificate, Lorain County, volume 3662 certificate number 22650)
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