Silliman Memorial Lectures

The Silliman Memorial lectures series has been published by Yale University since 1901. The lectures were established by the University on the foundation of a bequest of $80,000, left in 1883 by Augustus Ely Silliman, in memory of his mother, Mrs. Hepsa Ely Silliman.[1] Hepsa Ely was the daughter of the Reverend David Ely, a member of the Yale College Class of 1769. She was married to Gold Selleck Silliman, brother of Professor Benjamin Silliman and a 1796 graduate of Yale College. She was the mother of two sons, August Ely Silliman and Benjamin Douglas Silliman. Benjamin graduated from Yale College in 1824.

The lectures are designed to illustrate the presence and providence, the wisdom and goodness of God, as manifested in the natural and moral world. The testator's belief was that any orderly presentation of the facts of nature or history contributed to the foundation's purpose more effectively than any attempt to emphasize the elements of doctrine or creed; and he therefore provided that lectures on dogmatic or polemical theology should be excluded from its scope, and that instead the subjects should be selected from the domains of natural science and history, with special prominence given to astronomy, chemistry, geology, and anatomy.[2]

Lecturers (partial list)

The year given is sometimes that of the publication of the book, rather than that in which the lectures were given.


This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: the preface to several books such as Max Verworn (1913). Irritability. Yale University Press.

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