Encyclopedia Brunoniana

Hopewell Academy

Hopewell Academy has often been called the forerunner of Brown University. It was the first educational institution sponsored by the Baptists in the American colonies, and was founded in 1756 by Rev. Isaac Eaton under the auspices of the Philadelphia and Charleston Association. Although the academy lasted only until 1767, many Baptist ministers, as well as some who entered other professions, received the rudiments of an education there. Of these, probably the most important was James Manning, who became the first president of Rhode Island College, later Brown University. David Howell, the first professor at Brown, also studied there. It was the success of Hopewell Academy that, only seven years after its beginning, encouraged the Philadelphia Association to decide to establish a college in Rhode Island.