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Cyrus Hamlin

Hamlin was born in Waterford, Maine, son of Hannibal and Susanna Faulkner Hamlin. He graduated from Bridgeton Academy (1830), Bowdoin College (1834), and Bangor Theological Seminary (1837). He was appointed in 1837 by the American Board of Commissioner for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) to serve in the Near East. In September 1838 he married Henrietta Jackson, and the couple sailed for Constantinople in December of that year.

Hamlin directed Bebek Seminary, a mission school in Constantinople, from 1840 to 1860. He resigned from the mission in 1860 over disputes with fellow missionaries and the leadership of the ABCFM concerning his philosophy of education and highly successful “secular labors” to raise money for student support. With financial backing from American philanthropist Christopher Robert, he founded the college on the Bosphorus that bore Robert’s name. Hamlin served as its president from 1863 to 1873. He then returned to the United States, where he attempted for two years with limited success to secure endowment funds for Robert College.

Prevented by colleagues from returning to his work in Constantinople, Hamlin taught for three years at Bangor Seminary. In 1880 he became president of Middlebury College in Vermont, a position he held with distinction until he retired to Lexington, Massachusetts, in 1885.

Rainer Maria Rilke’s best poems are finally available in translations so faithful yet free flowing that a reader forgets they were not originally…