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In 1861, Reverend Henry Kendall became secretary of the Board of Home Missions for the Presbyterian Church and served for over thirty years until his death in 1892. He also served as pastor of Presbyterian churches in East Bloomfield, New York, and Pittsburgh. Rev. Kendall was called the "missionary statesman" and wanted to spiritualize America's western frontier. He was instrumental in establishing schools for Native Americans throughout the west. Reverend Kendall was called "Great Chief" by thousands of Native Americans due to his efforts to develop a network of finishing schools for girls. 

John Greenleaf Whittier was an American Quaker poet and advocate of the abolition of slavery in the United States. Frequently listed as one of the Fireside Poets, he was influenced by the Scottish poet Robert Burns. Whittier is remembered particularly for his anti-slavery writings as well as his book Snow-Bound.

Key Contributions

Kendall College was founded in Muskogee, Oklahoma in 1894. The school was named after Rev. Kendall in consideration of his long-time Presbyterian missionary workings in Indian Territory from 1831. Kendall College was later moved to Tulsa and in 1921 merged with the proposed McFarlin College, eventually becoming the University of Tulsa. Reverend Kendall was instrumental in opening schools for Native Americans, especially finishing schools for girls, and providing equal education opportunities. The Presbyterian Church and many Native Americans look up to Rev. Kendall for his work in Indian Territory. 

In 1833, Whittier published the antislavery pamphlet Justice and Expediency, and from there dedicated the next twenty years of his life to the abolitionist cause. The controversial pamphlet destroyed all of his political hopes — as his demand for immediate emancipation alienated both northern businessmen and southern slaveholders — but it also sealed his commitment to a cause that he deemed morally correct and socially necessary. He was a founding member of the American Anti-Slavery Society and signed the Anti-Slavery Declaration of 1833, which he often considered the most significant action of his life.

Relevant Historical Context 

Henry Kendall opened in 1912. The community came together to create one school out of two. Although still in two schools (Kendall and Whittier) at the time, Kendall-Whittier was established in the fall of 1997 and the building construction began on the current site. The school moved into the current building in October of 1998. 


Goslin, T.S., II. (1949). Henry Kendall, Missionary Statesman. Journal of the Presbyterian Historical Society, 27 (2), 69-87. Retrieved from here

Presbyterian Historical Society. (n.d.). Presbyterian Historical Society. Retrieved from here.