From English to Algonquian: Early New England Translations

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Indian College at Cambridge

Indian College at Harvard

The Indian College at Harvard, the second educational building erected at the school, and the first to be constructed of brick, stood in Harvard Yard by 1655. The Indian College was to house, educate, and Christianize New England Native Americans. This directive was spelled out in the Harvard Charter of 1650:

[M]any well devoted persons have been, and daily are moved, and stirred up, to give and bestow, sundry gifts, legacies, lands, and revenues for the advancement of all good literature, arts, and sciences in Harvard College, in Cambridge in the County of Middlesex, and to the maintenance of the President and Fellows, and for all accommodations of buildings, and all other necessary provisions, that may conduce to the education of the English and Indian youth of this country, in knowledge and godliness…

The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in New England, a missionary corporation based in London that supported the evangelical work of English colonists, financially backed the construction of this building on the emerging Harvard campus.

Despite the Harvard Charter’s lofty goals, only five native students attended the Indian College at Harvard, including John Sassamon and James Printer in the 1650s. The Indian College was disbanded and demolished in the 1690s. During its brief existence, it housed the printing press in Cambridge. Recent archaeology at the site has revealed some incredible finds, including the type likely used by Nipmuc printer James Printer to set the text of the Algonquian Bible.