Biography and History

Church historian James Clement Moffat, son of David Douglas Moffat and Margaret Clement, was born in Glencree, Scotland, on May 30, 1811. He studied Latin, Greek, French, German, and Hebrew while he worked at a printing shop. He came to the United States in 1832 with the intention of following his trade as a printer, but a chance meeting with Professor (afterward President) John Maclean of the College of New Jersey (Princeton University) led to his entering the junior class of that college, where he graduated in 1835. He studied and tutored at Yale and also at Princeton, and in 1839 he went to Lafayette College as professor of Latin and Greek. The Presbytery of Oxford, Ohio, licensed him to preach in 1851, and later ordained him, without his having taken a theological course. In 1852 he returned to the College of New Jersey as professor of Latin, history, and then of Greek. He became professor of church history in Princeton Theological Seminary in 1861, a position he held for seventeen years. Moffat published a long poem Alwyn: A Romance of Study (1875), which is known to be autobiographical.

Source: From the finding aid for C1128