Noah Porter

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Noah Porter
Noah Porter, Memories of Yale life and men, 1854-1899 (1903) (14766521311).jpg
11th President of Yale University
In office
Preceded by Theodore Dwight Woolsey
Succeeded by Timothy Dwight V
Personal details
Born Noah Porter, Jr.
(1811-12-14)December 14, 1811
Farmington, Connecticut
Died March 4, 1892(1892-03-04) (aged 80)
New Haven, Connecticut
Alma mater Yale College

Rev. Noah Thomas Porter, III (December 14, 1811 – March 4, 1892)[1] was an American academic, philosopher, author, lexicographer and President of Yale College (1871–1886).[2]


He was born to Rev. Noah Porter, Jr. (1781-1866) (one of the first ministers of First Church of Christ, Congregational in Farmington, Connecticut) and his wife, born Mehitable Meigs, in Farmington, Connecticut on December 14, 1811. His younger sister was Sarah Porter, founder of Miss Porter's School, a college preparatory school for girls.[3] He graduated in 1831 from Yale College, where he was a member of the Linonian Society. On April 13, 1836, in New Haven, he married Mary Taylor, daughter of Rev. Nathaniel Taylor[1] (who presided over the creation of the Yale Divinity School and created what came to be known as "New Haven theology") and his wife Rebecca Marie Hine. They had several children, and two daughters survived them.

He was ordained as a Congregational minister in New Milford, Connecticut from 1836 to 1843. He served as pastor at a Congregational Church in Springfield, Massachusetts from 1843 to 1846.[4] He was elected professor of moral philosophy and metaphysics at Yale in 1846.

Porter was inaugurated as President of Yale College on Wednesday, October 11, 1871.[5] He continued to serve as head of the college until 1886.

Porter edited several editions of Webster's Dictionary, and wrote on education.

Influenced by the German refugee writer and philosopher Francis Leiber, Porter opposed slavery and integrated an antislavery position with religious liberalism.

He was a frequent visitor to the Adirondack Mountains of New York, and in 1875 was among the first recorded to make an ascent of the peak later named Porter Mountain in his honor.

His best-known work is The Human Intellect, with an Introduction upon Psychology and the Human Soul (1868), comprehending a general history of philosophy, and following in part the "common-sense" philosophy of the Scottish school, while accepting the Kantian doctrine of intuition, and declaring the notion of design to be a priori. Of great importance were two other works, Elements of Intellectual Science (1871) and Elements of Moral Science (1885).

He died on March 4, 1892 in New Haven,[1] and was buried in the Grove Street Cemetery there.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Obituary Record of Graduates of Yale University, Yale University, 1891-2, New Haven, pp. 82-83.
  2. Welch, Lewis et al. (1899). Yale, Her Campus, Class-rooms, and Athletics, p. 445.
  3. [1]
  4. [2]
  5. Addresses at the Inauguration of Professor Noah Porter, D.D., LL.D., as President of Yale College,p. 3.


Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. Missing or empty |title= (help)CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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Academic offices
Preceded by
Theodore Dwight Woolsey
President of Yale College
Succeeded by
Timothy Dwight V