The Rev. John Heyl Vincent, S.T.D., LL.D. (1832–1920), was a noted minister, author, educator, and public speaker. He was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on February 23, 1832, to John Himrod Vincent (1798–1873) and Mary Raser Vincent (1803–1852).
As a young adult, John Heyl Vincent worked as a school teacher and as a circuit riding Methodist preacher. He was licensed to preach and became a local pastor in 1850. After completing studies at the Newark Wesleyan Institute, Vincent was ordained in the New Jersey Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1857. He served in several Methodist churches in Illinois, then traveled to Europe and Palestine.
Upon returning from his travels, Rev. John H. Vincent founded two successful religious periodicals: Northwestern Sunday School Quarterly (1865) and Sunday School Teacher (1866). The Methodist Episcopal Church General Conference of 1868 affirmed his work in religious education by naming him editor of the Sunday-School Journal, Corresponding Secretary of the Sunday-School Union, and Superintendent of the Department of Sunday-School Instruction.
Believing that a large-scale, interdenominational, religious educators’ training event could strengthen the Sunday School movement, Rev. Vincent and Akron, Ohio, businessman Lewis Miller (1829–1899) organized a Sunday School Assembly at Lake Chautauqua, New York, in 1874. The Chautauqua Assembly became the Chautauqua Institution under the long-term guidance of President Miller and Chancellor Vincent.
Rev. Vincent was elected Bishop in the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1888. He was named Resident Bishop Abroad in 1900, charged with overseeing Methodist conferences in Europe. Bishop Vincent retired in 1904 and died in 1920.
Included are Vincent family and Chautauqua-related documents and images from the John Heyl Vincent Papers. A finding aid is available at Texas Archival Resources Online. For more information about the John Heyl Vincent Documents and Images at Bridwell Library, please contact Bridwell Library Special Collections.