Howard Malcom (1799-1879)

Howard Malcom (1799-1879)

Howard Malcom was born on January 19, 1799 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to John J. and Deborah Howard Malcom. He entered DickinsonCollege in Carlisle, Pennsylvania in 1813 as a part of the class of 1816 but never graduated as the College suffered its first closing of its doors in 1816. Malcom's youthful interest in preaching the Baptist faith had grown in the meantime. He had already received his license to preach before he entered the Princeton Theological Seminary in 1818 and was ordained in April, 1820. He took up his first post in Hudson, New York that same year and served there until 1826 when took on the busy life of a general agent and later secretary of the American Baptist

Sunday School Union. At the same time, he was starting to become involved in missionary work further afield; he became a deputy of the Baptist Missionary Society and later, in 1835, embarked on his own missions to India, Burma, Siam, China, and Africa. Though he was already a well known religious author and speaker, Malcom wrote some of his most noteworthy literature about his missionary travels, notably, in 1839, Travels in South-Eastern Asia, embracing Hindustan, Malaya, Siam, and China, and in 1840, Travels in the Burman Empire. In 1843, largely due to these writings, he received Doctorates of Divinity from Union College and University of Vermont. The previous year, his alma mater, now operating again, had conferred on him the Master of Arts degree.

Now a leader in the Baptist movement in the United States, Malcom took the post of President of Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky. After an eventful nine years, which included his helping to found the first black Baptist church in the town and the opening of a female academy attached to the college, he was finally forced to resign after receiving death threats locally over his abolitionist views. After a time preaching in Philadelphia, he again became an educator, this time as the first permanent head of the new Lewisburg University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania between 1851 and 1857. Under his presidency, the first permanent buildings were completed and he instilled in the institution a regard for Burma that exists to this day. He returned to preaching and writing from churches in Philadelphia and Boston. Later, from 1874 to 1879, Malcom served as President of Hahnemann Medical College, founded famously as a homeopathic institution in Philadelphia and now the medical school of Drexel University.

Malcom’s first marriage in 1820 brought him a son, Thomas Shields, who also went on to become a clergyman. After the death of his first wife, Malcom married again in 1838 to Ruth Dyer and eventually had five more children. Howard Malcom died in Philadelphia on March 25th, 1879 at the age of eighty.

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Dickinson College Archives
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