Samuel Webber

Samuel Webber (1759 – July 17, 1810) was an American clergyman, mathematician, academic, and president of Harvard University from 1806 until his death in 1810.

Samuel Webber
President of Harvard University
In office
Preceded byEliphalet Pearson acting
Succeeded byJohn Thornton Kirkland
Personal details
Byfield, Massachusetts
DiedJuly 17, 1810 (aged 5051)
Cambridge, Massachusetts


Webber was educated at Dummer Academy (now known as The Governor's Academy) and Harvard College (B.A., 1784; M.A., 1787) where he distinguished himself in mathematics. He was a member of the Hasty Pudding. Webber was ordained as Congregational minister in 1787 and two years later became Hollis Professor of Mathematick and Natural Philosophy at Harvard.[1] He served in the commission that drew the boundaries, later recognized by the Treaty of Paris, between the new United States of America and the surrounding British provinces. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1789[2] and also served as vice-president of the Academy. He authored System of Mathematics, which for many years served as the only textbook on the subject in New England.[3]

Webber was appointed president of Harvard in 1806. That same year he received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from that institution. He led Harvard until his death in 1810.


Webber married Anna Winslow Green, a granddaughter of David Mathews, Loyalist Mayor of New York City under the British during the American Revolution. Webber's son, also named Samuel (September 15, 1797 Cambridge, Massachusetts – December 5, 1880 Charlestown, New Hampshire), was a distinguished physician, chemist and author.[3]


  • “Introduction” to Jedidiah Morse, American Universal Geography, 1796 (revision)
  • System of Mathematics, (2 vols.), 1801
  • Eulogy on President Willard, 1804


  1. Quinquennial catalogue of the officers and graduates of Harvard university, 1636–1915. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 1915. p. 21. Retrieved May 24, 2015.
  2. "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter W" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved August 7, 2014.
  3.  Wilson, J. G.; Fiske, J., eds. (1889). "Webber, Samuel" . Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton.
Academic offices
Preceded by
Eliphalet Pearson, acting
President of Harvard University
Succeeded by
John Thornton Kirkland
Preceded by
Samuel Williams
Hollis Chair of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy
Succeeded by
John Farrar
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