The Divinity School was founded in Parsonsfield, Maine in 1840 as a graduate school of the Parsonsfield Seminary. From 1842-1844, the divinty school moved to Dracut, Massachusetts. In 1844-1854 the divinity school went to Whitestown, New York and became part of the Whitestown Seminary where it was known as the Free Baptist Biblical School. Then, from 1854-1870, the divinity school went to New Hampton, New Hampshire where it was affiliated with the New Hampton Institute.
The school and its library were removed to Lewiston in 1870 and became a graduate school (known as Bates Theological Seminary until 1888) of Bates College. In 1888 it was renamed Cobb Divinity School after J.L.H Cobb, a prominent businessman who had risen from millhand to management at the Bates Mill in Lewiston. (He later owned the Cumberland Mill.) Mr. Cobb had donated $25,000 to the Divinity School at Bates and the school was renamed in his honor. Cobb Divinity School was disbanded in 1908, with much of its curricula and faculty becoming the Bates College religion department. The Divinity School was affiliated with the Freewill Baptist Church. In 1911 when the Northern Free Will Baptist Conference merged with the Northern Baptist Conference, which later became the American Baptists. Bates remained nominally affiliated with the Baptists until 1970 when the College catalogue stopped using the words "Christian college" to describe the school.