Henry Jackson Van Dyke was born in Germantown, PA on November 10, 1852. He attended Princeton University for undergraduate, graduate, and seminary studies, completing his courses in 1877. He was ordained by the Presbytery of Brooklyn in 1879 and served as pastor at churches in Rhode Island and New York City until 1900, when he returned to Princeton as a professor of English literature. He held this post until 1923. From 1913-17 he served as U.S. minister to the Netherlands. After 1923 he enjoyed the status of Professor Emeritus at Princeton, where he died in 1933.
In 1902 Van Dyke served as moderator of the General Assembly, and he was also an author of several books.