Peloubet of the Famous Notes

Dan Graves, MSL

Peloubet of the Famous Notes

Jesus went away not only to prepare a place for us so that it will be ready for us as one by one we go home, but to prepare us for the place, to fit us for heavenly employments and heavenly service."

This comment was typical of Francis Nathan Peloubet. The mission field lost a good worker but the Sunday school movement gained a masterful champion when Peloubet decided to become a Congregational minister in the United States rather than a worker in foreign lands. Born on this day, December 2, 1831 in New York City, Peloubet was reared in New Jersey. He graduated from William's College, Massachusetts, taught for a year, and then took his bachelor of divinity degree from Bangor Theological Seminary, Maine. At that time he was contemplating service in India. In fact, he even studied the Tamil language for several months.

Having changed his mind and decided to pastor in the United States, he held pulpits over the span of 26 years taking time out only to serve with the Civil War Commission (which aided soldiers on the battlefields). While serving at his first pastorate, he married Mary Abby Thaxter whom he had known in Maine. They had five daughters.

Peloubet grew enthusiastic about the potential of the Sunday school to educate a new generation of Christians. Around 1872, he began to write quarterly Sunday school lessons. In 1875 this resulted in his issuing the first of an annual series of Select Notes on the International Sabbath School Lessons. These enjoyed a circulation of over 150,000 among Protestants, influencing millions of teachers and students. They were popularly known as Peloubet's Notes.

Altogether by his death in 1920, he had issued 44 volumes of these Sunday school notes and numerous other books, including a Sunday school hymnal and a revision of William Smith's Bible Dictionary.

Bibliography:

  1. "Peloubet, Francis Nathan." American National Biography. Oxford University Press, 1999.
  2. "Peloubet, Francis Nathan." Chicago: Encyclopedia Americana, 1957.
  3. Peloubet, Francis Nathan. Select Notes on the International Sabbath School Lessons 1875-1918.
  4. Various short notices on the internet, including http://famousamericans.net/francisnathanpelovbet/

Last updated June, 2007

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