Elihu Yale, benefactor of Yale University, was born in Boston in 1648. When he was four, his family moved to England, and he never returned to the United States.
For 20 years, Yale was part of the East India Company, and he became governor of a settlement at Madras. He was suspended from the post, however, in 1692 after arguements with his council and his superiors.
Yale amassed a fortune in his lifetime, and he was generous with the proceeds.
In 1718, Cotton Mather contacted Yale and asked for his help. He represented a small institution of learning. It was founded as the Collegiate School of Connecticut in 1701, and it needed money for a new building in New Haven.
Yale sent Mather a carton of goods that the school sold, earning them 560 pounds, which was a substantial sum in the early 1700s.
In gratitude, officials named the new building Yale, and eventually the entire institution became Yale College.
- "Born in America, in Europe bred,
- In Africa traveled, in Asia wed,
- Where long he lived and thrived, in London dead;
- Much good, some ill he did, so hope all's even,
- And that his soul through mercy's gone to heaven."