Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Jared Sparks

TL;DR -- Jared Sparks was born right after the Revolution and later served as Head of Harvard as the western expansion was getting into full swing to be derailed by the Civil War. This is a sparse post to set the framework which will be filled in as we learn more about Sparks. 


This time in our look at the Heads of Harvard (Wikipedia), we go back in time which was prior to the Civil War but down the pike with respect to the western expansion of the U.S. 

Jared Sparks (Wikipedia) was in the photo with Cornelius Conway Felton of five Harvard presidents, which photo also included Quincy, Everett and Walker. With this post, all will have been covered in a post, except for Walker.  

As we look at the Heads, we have done some research related to their families (mostly using WikiTree). Sparks was born in Connecticut which might suggest a New England pedigree. But, he had not been added to WikiTree, as of yet. We will look into that. 

At least, Wikipedia mentions the town of birth (Willington, CT) and that he grew up on an impoverished farm. On a further look, we found a book by H. B. Adams which has some interesting titles for sections in Chapter 1: Boyhood, New England character, and Youth. It is nice to see scholars take an interest in the personal part of someone's life. We expect that to be a continuing (growing even) trend. 
Later, we will post more about Spark's life. For now, let's look at the above book as a proxy representing some of his New England heritage.   

Sparks died in 1866. More later (see following notes).



1. So, the book? Great. Names his mother (read Locke) and one of his grandmothers. Quotes Emerson. You know, we have written elsewhere (John Gardner and the Merrimac) about classroom life versus facing reality (a theme of extreme importance now, where Harvard can weigh in with more than a top-down hammer supposedly conveying veracity to the masses). Then, we learn this: he married a Crowninshield. Great. We're back to Essex County of MA. ...

2. Oh yes, hardship. Rose above it. Which quiets a person (I never met a braggart who really went, successfully, through this type of thing). But, a good woman. His maternal aunt. ... 

3. Finally, on page 7 (did I miss any earlier reference), his father was Joseph Sparks. Now, on page 1, we learned that his mother was Eleanor Orcutt. On a quick look at the trough provided by modern technology, those two raise a slew of nibbles to look at further. ... 

4. Forgot to mention, the most important thing. He was a carpenter. Went to school when he could. Studies with whatever material he could find. Autodidact, in other words. ..., Finally, a Harvardite of substance?, .., 

5. The Harvard Square Library has an extensive bio of Jared Sparks which information about his life and various roles. Looking at this got an awareness of the North American Review which started in 1815. Sparks was editor for a while. The earlier editions are available on-line (Hathi Trust); this is the modern web site for the publication. 

6. The combo of Sparks and the next Pres, Walker, was interesting, for several reasons. For one, lots of parallels of the families over the years (including, btw, collateral relationships); in some cases, almost diametrically different, but not. View deals with the American Dream(s) in all of its variety. 


N. ..., When we have sufficient notes, we'll see about how to create or update WikiTree profiles for all of those that we have found whose information has been less than sparsely considered. 
Remarks: Modified: 09/03/2022

09/01/2022 -- One comment, prior to proceeding, seems apropos. With regard to #4, in a variety of was, this is a story of great significance. For now, the reference to 'carpenter' ought to be reflected upon since we are dealing with an epitome of the Judeo-Christian cultural heritage in which Christ is said to have worked with his hands. A hint, if necessary? Head and heart. Many cultures have this. But, intellect goes with the first with all of its rational facilities. One theme? Divorced from reality. As evidenced by? The whole of the computationally-framed notions which is very much in need of some overview that is not related to power, money, fame, ... Wait, we did mention veracity. Now, the second? Heart. Large affair which really outweighs the intellect, always has. Oh, that would be amenable to thinking associated with Harvard and its efforts at glory? Oh yes, athletics was a lame substitution for real stuff. As in? More than mere playing where ego stroking is the deal, not substantive production. Like, food for people? Or, presentation of modern topics in a manner that can be grasped by the minds that are other than intellectual (some of these people surpass in intelligence those who score well on tests which we will look at further - courtesy of cousin Conant. 

09/03/2022 -- Reading that Sparks edited the NAR for a bit, went looking (wrote a post). Was done in Boston; now, done in Iowa. The archives are digitized. So, what a gem? 

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