Reverend Ray Palmer Speaks at Commencement

The Reverend Dr. Ray Palmer, pastor of the First Congregational Church and Society of Albany, NY, speaks at commencement. Palmer was a noted theologian, poet and scholar. He wrote his first hymn, “My Faith Looks Up to Thee,” in 1830, and at least sixty of Palmer’s hymns have been printed and are still in use.

Born 12 November 1808 in Little Compton, RI, Palmer spent his early life in Boston, where he clerked in a dry-goods store. After three years at Phillips Academy in Andover, MA, he entered Yale, graduating in 1830. After teaching for a year in New York City, he became an assistant professor at the Young Ladies’ Institute in New Haven, CT. He later became headmaster of the school but resigned in 1834 to enter the ministry.

Palmer married in 1832, and he and his wife had ten children. In 1835, he began his first pastorate at the Central Congregational Church of Bath, ME, and visited Europe in 1847. He resigned in 1850 to become the first pastor of the First Congregational Church in Albany, NY.

He died March 29, 1887.