Skip to main content

Yale, Elihu

Elihu Yale, 1649–1721, English merchant, an early benefactor of Yale Univ., b. Boston. The family moved to England c.1652, and Yale was educated in London. He went to Madras (now Chennai) in the service of the British East India Company c.1670 and rose in the ranks of the company. He was appointed governor of Fort St. George at Madras in 1687. Because of scandals concerning his administration, he was removed in 1692 and returned to London in 1699. While in the East he had amassed a large fortune through private trade. In 1718, Cotton Mather wrote Yale suggesting that the Collegiate School at Saybrook, Conn., might be named for him in return for financial support. Yale donated a parcel of goods, which when sold brought £562—the largest single gift to the college before 1837. The college, which had moved to New Haven, took the name of Yale.

See F. B. Dexter, A Selection from the Miscellaneous Historical Papers of Fifty Years (1918); biography by H. Bingham (1939, repr. 1968).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Yale, Elihu." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . 21 Feb. 2018 <>.

"Yale, Elihu." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . (February 21, 2018).

"Yale, Elihu." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved February 21, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.