Harvard College was created in the 17th c. to educate ministers in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. By the 19th c., the College was an undergraduate liberal arts institution, and the Divinity School had been chartered to prepare candidates for the ministry.

The founders of Harvard were Puritans, nominal members of the Church of England, who favored a congregational polity. By the 19th c., the HDS's predominant orientation was Unitarian. Now it has no official denominational affiliation.

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