Joseph Willard

For the New York state senator, see Joseph A. Willard. For the Virginia political figure, see Joseph Edward Willard.
Joseph Willard
11th President of
Harvard University
Preceded by Samuel Langdon
Succeeded by Eliphalet Pearson
Personal details
Born December 29, 1738
Biddeford, Maine
Died September 25, 1804(1804-09-25) (aged 65)
New Bedford, Massachusetts
Alma mater Dummer Academy
Religion Congregational

Joseph Willard (29 December 1738 – 25 September 1804) was an American Congregational clergyman and academic. He was president of Harvard from 1781 until 1804.


He was educated at the Dummer Academy (now known as The Governor's Academy). He was left fatherless at an early age, and made several coasting voyages. Through the generosity of friends he entered Harvard College, where he received a B.A. in 1765, and an M.A. in 1768. He was a tutor at Harvard until 1772, when he began serving as pastor at the First Congregational Church in Beverly, Massachusetts. In 1780 he was a charter member[1] and first corresponding secretary of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1781, he became president of Harvard, and served until his death.

Willard was the father of Cambridge Mayor Sidney Willard.[2]


He published a few sermons, a Latin address on the death of George Washington, prefixed to David Tappan's Discourse (Cambridge, 1800), and mathematical and astronomical papers in the Memoirs of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Transactions of the American Philosophical Society. He was a sound Greek scholar, and left a Greek grammar in manuscript.


  1. "Charter of Incorporation of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences". American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
  2. Palmer, Joseph (1864), Necrology of Alumni of Harvard College, 1851-52 to 1862-63, Boston, MA: Joseph Palmer; Printed by JOHN WILSON AND SON, p. 113.


Academic offices
Preceded by
Samuel Langdon
President of Harvard University
Succeeded by
Eliphalet Pearson
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