Newman, Albert Henry (1852-1933)

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Albert Newman (25 August 1852-1933) was an American church historian and one of a small group of Baptist scholars who have made a contribution to the history of Anabaptism in the Reformation time. Newman was born in Edgefield County, SC, the son of John Blackston and Harriet Whitaker Newman. After graduating from the Mercer University in Macon, GA in 1871, he acquired his theological education at the Baptist Rochester Theological Seminary in Rochester, NY, receiving his degree in 1875. Having chosen Semitic languages as his field of teaching, he studied for one year at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and in January 1877 was asked to take the post of professor of church history at this seminary. In 1881 he joined the group which at that time founded McMaster University in Toronto, ON (now located in Hamilton), at which place he taught for 20 years as professor of church history. He was called to the new Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1901 in connection with Baylor University in Waco, TX. In 1921 he was given the lectureship in church history in a newly founded theological school of Mercer University. Here in January 1927 he celebrated the 50th anniversary of his professorship of church history.

Of  Newman's writings the best known is the book published in Philadelphia in 1897, A History of Antipedobaptism from the Rise of Pedobaptism to A.D. 1609. Other publications include The Baptist Churches in the United States (2 vv., 1894); A Manual of Church History (2 vv., 1899 and 1903); "The Reformation from a Baptist Point of View," Baptist Theological Quarterly, 1880; "The Significance of the Anabaptist Movement in the History of the Christian Church," Review Supplement to the Goshen College Record (January 1926); Adam Pastor, Antitrinitarian Antipaedobaptist (a reprint from Papers of the American Society of Church History, Second Series V, 1914).

In the first of his books Newman gives a short survey of the struggle against infant baptism in the old church and a history of the struggle in the Middle Ages carried on by the Petrobrusians, Arnoldists, Waldenses, Taborites, and Bohemian Brethren. He goes on to describes the Anabaptist movement from its beginning in Zürich, Switzerland, with Grebel, Manz, and Hubmaier in Austria, Moravia, and Bohemia, and finally with Melchior Hoffman down the Rhine. The kingdom of Münster he sees in its true light as an aberration, not as a result of the movement. After a chapter on Menno Simons in the northern group of the Mennonites he turns his attention to the Anabaptists in Italy and Poland. Finally in three chapters the history of the Anabaptist movement in England and the rise of the Baptist Church in 1609 is described.

His presentation of history is characterized by thoroughness, impartiality, and a benevolent understanding. Newman is the first historian writing in the English language who assigned to the Anabaptist movement its proper position, free of doctrinaire distortion. Newman's work was probably the first satisfactory and complete scholarly history of the Anabaptist movement in the English language, unless Smithson's briefer discussion should be named. Of great value is the extensive bibliography at the end of the volume, which gives 400 titles of nothing but Anabaptist sources.


Eby, Frederick. Newman, The Church Historian. Nashville, 1946.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. III, 221 f.

Monatshefte der Comenius-Gesellschaft: 1897: 342-43.

Additional Information

Albert Henry Newman's article on "Baptists" in the Encyclopedia Britannica (1911 ed.).

Author(s) Harold S Bender
Date Published 1957

Cite This Article

MLA style

Bender, Harold S. "Newman, Albert Henry (1852-1933)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 1 Aug 2021.,_Albert_Henry_(1852-1933)&oldid=145939.

APA style

Bender, Harold S. (1957). Newman, Albert Henry (1852-1933). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 1 August 2021, from,_Albert_Henry_(1852-1933)&oldid=145939.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 866. All rights reserved.

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