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19th Century University of Georgia Presidential Papers-The Papers and Administrations of Josiah Meigs, John Brown, Robert Finley, Moses Waddel, Alonzo Church, Andrew A. Lipscomb, Henry H. Tucker, Patrick H. Mell and William E. Boggs

RG 1

One Bankers Box (1 linear ft.)

Josiah Meigs

Presidential Tenure: 1801-1810


Born August 21, 1757, Middletown, CT; Died September 4, 1822, Washington D.C.; B.A. Yale (1778).

Meigs was a tutor at Yale University in 1781. He was also the first city clerk of New Haven, Connecticut. From 1785-88, he published New Haven Gazette. He practiced law in Bermuda from 1789-94 until he was arrested for treason. Meigs returned to Yale as a math professor and Jeffersonian defender.

Accomplishments at the University of Georgia:

Meigs planned the curriculum and proposed the first 50 books for the library, 33 of which were in the sciences. He was a scientist and radical thinker (for his time). Meigs was unsure that the University of Georgia would be viable in what was then the upstate wilderness. By 1804, he had to deal with increasing religious and political factionalism with both academic governance bodies and the State Legislature. Matters finally reached the point where he referred in writing to the Board of Trustees as a "damned pack of Tories & speculators." This would eventually lead to Meigs’ resignation in 1810.

Buildings completed at the University during his tenure:

The original collegiate building, 1801-1802 (no longer extant). The Grammar School, 1802-1804 (no longer extant). Old College (based on the plans of Connecticut Hall at Yale) 1805.

File Inventory: [edit. 5.21.2010]

1. Letter: G. Walton to J. Meigs. Re: recent Presidential Election. January 20, 1801 [w/ transcription]
2. Letter: J. Meigs to Yale College. Re: resignation. February 4, 1801 [copy & transcription]
3. Letter: J. Meigs to J. Morse. Re: Impending Completion of College Building. December 25, 1802 [w/ transcription]
4. Letter: J. Meigs to “My Dear Friend”. Re: “Crown of Thorns”. October 27, 1803 [w/ transcription]

Consult also in Hargrett Manuscripts Collections: MS 302; MS 686; MS 2066.

John Brown

Presidential Tenure: 1811-16


Born June 15, 1763, County Antrim, Ireland; Died December 11, 1842, Ft. Gaines, GA; c.1782.

Brown first attended school to begin preparation to enter either the ministry or the teaching profession. In 1809, he was elected Professor of Logic and Moral Philosophy at South Carolina College and later Presbyterian chaplain. He was elected President of Franklin College (the University of Georgia) in 1811. Brown was one of the first to initiate Camp Meetings in the South and served as a minister of the Gospels for 55 years.

Accomplishments at the University of Georgia:

Brown led a school for six years staffed with only a Math professor, a French instructor, and two tutors. The attendance situation only worsened during the War of 1812, and ultimately, Brown’s frustration over the lack of State commitment to the University would lead to his resignation in July of 1816.

File Inventory: [edit. 5.21.2010]

1. Letter: J. Brown to Gov. P. Early. Re: militia training at the University. May 12, 1814 [typescript copy]

Robert Finley

Presidential Tenure: 1817


Born 1772, Princeton, NJ; Died October 3, 1817, Athens, GA; B.A. College of New Jersey, (1787).

Robert Finley was instrumental in the growth of the Basking Ridge (New Jersey) Classical School (Brick Academy), serving there from 1795 (as an outgrowth of his ministry at the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church) until 1817, when he accepted the Presidency at Franklin College (University of Georgia). He was one of the founders of the American Colonization Society, an organization dedicated to the establishment of a homeland in Africa for freed American slaves.

Accomplishments at the University of Georgia:

When Finley came to the University of Georgia from Basking Ridge, New Jersey, he conducted a whirlwind three-month tour of the state to garner support for the institution. Upon his return to Athens from this trip, he died of fever. He was supposedly buried in what is today the Old Athens Cemetery on Jackson Street in Athens.

File Inventory: [edit. 5.21.2010]

1. Letter: R. Finley to Geo. Woodhull. Re: impending move to Georgia. March 27, 1817 [w/ transcription]

Consult also in Hargrett Manuscripts Collections: MS 257 (oversized; silhouette of Finley); MS 302

Moses Waddel

Presidential Tenure: 1819-29


Born June 20, 1770, Rowan County, NC; Died July 21, 1840, Athens, GA; B.A. Hampden Sidney College (1791).

Moses Waddel became a schoolmaster in Iredell Co., North Carolina at the age of fourteen. In 1788, he relocated to Georgia where he ran a school near Greensboro. He attended Hampden Sidney College in 1790-91 and was ordained as a Presbyterian minister upon graduation. Several years of preaching and teaching (pupils including John C. Calhoun) led to the establishment of Willington Academy in South Carolina, where he was headmaster when offered the Presidency of Franklin College. After leaving the University of Georgia, he returned to Willington.

Accomplishments at the University of Georgia:

When Waddel started his career at the University of Georgia, there was a faculty of one and student body of seven. He worked to regularize state funding, gaining solvency for the school in 1823. He brought a new climate of religious scholarship to campus and recruited zealously, raising attendance to 100 and garnering $2,000 for library improvements. Waddel resigned in August of 1829 after a prolonged feud with the Baptist faction on the Board of Trustees and at the University.

Buildings completed at the University during his tenure:

Philosophical Hall (1821); New College (1823); Demosthenian Hall (1824).

File Inventory: The University of Georgia Archives has no Moses Waddel papers.

Consult also in Hargrett Manuscripts Collections: MS 302; MS 884; MS 2345; MS 2940.

Alonzo S. Church

Presidential Tenure: 1829-59


Born April 9, 1793, Brattleboro, VT; Died May 18, 1862, Athens, GA. B.A. Middlebury College (1816).

Alonzo Church came to Putnam Co., Georgia as a schoolmaster. While a Presbyterian minister, he joined the faculty at the University of Georgia as a Professor of Mathematics. Following his resignation in 1859, he retired to the country.

Accomplishments at the University of Georgia:

A stern disciplinarian, Church's puritanical ethos clashed with the student body, resulting in periods of campus unrest in each decade of his tenure. Additionally, he found himself at odds with Joseph and John LeConte, who refused to serve as disciplinarians of the student body. This series of confrontations led to an erosion of attendance. As a result of the crisis, a commission was formed which produced the Mitchell Report of November, 1855. They advocated the creation of a school of science, law, teacher education, and agriculture as well as the addition of a professor of modern languages to the faculty. Irrespective of these problems, Church’s thirty-year tenure was a time of eventual growth in the student body, and progressive growth of the physical holdings of the campus in Athens.

Buildings completed at the University during his tenure:

Classroom/Library (southern half of current Holmes-Hunter Building, 1831); Chapel (1832); Phi Kappa Hall (1836); Lumpkin House (Rock House, 1844); Lustrat House (1847); Garden Club House (1857); The Arch (c. 1858) (funded through sale of the University Botanical Garden for $1,000).

File Inventory: [edit. 5.21.2010]

1. Letter: A. Church to Prof. Cleveland. Re: position, Prof. of Natural History. May 3, 1831 [w/ transcription]
2. Miscellaneous Stock Share Certificates: Georgia Bank & RailRoad Co. 1842-1857 [9 sheets]
3. Deed: University of Georgia to John A. Martin, Lot #113, 2 Roads & 24 Poles, August 30, 1850 4. Church Family American Genealogy, British-American Record Society, New York [copy, Donated by Ms. Christy Bond, 1985]

Consult also in Hargrett Manuscripts Collections: MS 686; MS 1051.

Andrew A. Lipscomb

Presidential Tenure (As Chancellor): 1860-74


Born September 5, 1816, Georgetown, DC; Died November 23, 1890, Athens, GA. Hon. D.D., University of Alabama (1851); Hon. LL.D., Emory University (1853).

Andrew Adgate Lipscomb became a minister in the Methodist Protestant Church. In 1849, he founded the Metropolitan Institute for Young Ladies in Montgomery, Alabama, and in 1856, he became President of Tuskegee Female College. He accepted President's post (position re-designated as Chancellor) at the University of Georgia in 1860. After leaving the University in 1874, he taught briefly at Vanderbilt and later returned to Athens, where he wrote and lectured for the rest of his life.

Accomplishments at the University of Georgia:

The University closed in the fall of 1863 and reopened after the conclusion of the war on January 5, 1866. Lipscomb proposed six divisions to reorganize the university; these were: University High School, Franklin College (Arts and Sciences), School of Agriculture, School of Engineering, Law Department, and Elective Department. He was a progressive leader who attempted a utilitarian approach to higher education at the University, with a new emphasis on public service. The State Agricultural College was sited in Athens by the Trustees and the State Legislature during his tenure, said action coming to fruition on May 1, 1872.

Buildings completed at the University during his tenure:

Library (northern half of present Holmes-Hunter Building, 1862); Moore College (1874).

File Inventory: [edit. 5.22.2010]

1. Letter: A. Lipscomb to G. Rush. Re: Lipscomb as new Chancellor. December 10, 1860 [w/ transcription]
2. Extracts from letters: Lipscomb to Senior Class, Univ. of Ga., 1868. January 8, 1868 [w/ transcription]
3. Certificate for Commencement attendance, August 2, 1871
4. Letter: A. Lipscomb to Gov. Smith. Re: introduction, E. Hunter & D.C. Barrow. May 13, 1876 [w/ transcription]
5. A.A. Lipscomb: autograph plate (from book). n.d.

Consult also in Hargrett Manuscripts Collections: MS 371; MS 549; MS 802; MS 1117; MS 1216; MS 1220; MS 2969.

Henry H. Tucker

Presidential Tenure (As Chancellor): 1874-78


Born May 10, 1819, Near Camak, GA; Died September 9, 1889. B.A. Columbian College (1838), Hon. D.D. Columbian College (1860), Hon. LL.D. Mercer College (1876).

Henry Holcombe Tucker came to Georgia in 1842. In 1846, he was admitted to the state bar, but turned to religion when his new wife died. After study at Mercer, he was ordained a Baptist minister. After the war, Tucker edited the Christian Index, and was then was elected president of Mercer University (1866-71). During his tenure at Mercer, the school moved from Penfield to Macon. After several years in Europe, Tucker returned to accept the President's/Chancellor’s post at the University of Georgia. After leaving the University, Tucker became owner and editor of the Christian Index.

Accomplishments at the University of Georgia:

Tucker built a case for a move away from the suggested "University" model of Lipscomb, towards a more traditional model, emphasizing fundamentals of liberal arts education and religious training. He also banned fraternities from campus during his administration.

File Inventory: [edit. 5.25.2010]

1. Letter: A.B. Thrasher to H. Tucker. Re: Agriculture scholarship recommendation. October 4, 1875 [w/ transcription]
2. Letter: J.F. Thornton to H. Tucker. Re Agriculture scholarship recommendation. October 5, 1875
3. Letters: Requests for Admission (5) 1875-1876
4. Diary: H.H. Tucker, for 1870 [photocopy, donated 6/20/1967 by Dr. Shelton Sanford]
5. Diary: H.H. Tucker, for 1877 [photocopy, donated 6/20/1967 by Dr. Shelton Sanford]-

Consult also in Hargrett Manuscripts Collections: MS 1620; MS 2135; MS 3121.

Patrick H. Mell

Presidential Tenure (As Chancellor): 1878-88


Born July 19, 1814, Liberty Co., GA; Died January 26, 1888, Athens, GA. Hon. D.D., Furman University (1858); Hon. LL.D., Howard College (1869).

Patrick Hues Mell taught school in central Georgia in the late 1830s. In 1842 he was ordained a Baptist minister and rode the circuit around Greensboro for a number of years. That same year, he joined the faculty of Mercer University and taught there until 1855. In 1856, he came to the University of Georgia as Professor of Ancient Languages and became vice-chancellor in the University reorganization of 1860. In 1857, Mell was elected President of the Georgia Baptist Convention and in 1863 President of the Southern Baptist Convention. He held both posts until his death in 1888.

Accomplishments at the University of Georgia:

Both Mell and Boggs were adherents of the "Classical" model of education and believed in a more conservative agenda, away from the "New South" proposed by Henry Woodfin Grady. During Mell’s tenure, an early experiment with branch colleges located at Dahlonega, Cuthbert, Milledgeville, and Thomasville was largely a failure, with only Dahlonega's North Georgia College succeeding. There was also a successful move to locate the State Technical School in Atlanta. These attempts to wean state support away from the University and towards state-supported campuses elsewhere in Georgia marked a clash between competing interests, as agriculturists, politicians, regionalists, and religious denominationalists, a fight which would continue well into the 20th century.

File Inventory: The University of Georgia Archives has no Patrick H. Mell papers.

Consult also in Hargrett Manuscripts Collections: MS 59-61; MS 1231; MS 1312.

William E. Boggs

Presidential Tenure (As Chancellor): 1889-98


Born May 12, 1838, Ahmedunggar, Hindustan; d. August 20, 1920, Baltimore, MD. B.A. South Carolina College (1859); D.D. Columbia Theological Seminary (1862).

Following service as a Chaplain in the Civil War (with the Sixth South Carolina Infantry), William Ellison Boggs served at Presbyterian Churches in South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee. His tenure in Memphis, Tennessee was marked by a yellow fever plague in 1872. He taught at Columbia Theological Seminary for three years and returned to Memphis for several years until he accepted the President/Chancellor's post at the University of Georgia in 1889. After leaving the University, he served as pastor in Missouri and Florida and worked as the Secretary of Schools and Colleges in Savannah, Georgia for several years beginning in 1909. His last years were spent in ministry at Confederate Veterans' Homes.

Accomplishments at the University of Georgia:

The Peabody Education Fund was the largest of several private funding sources which provided the impetus for the location of the State Normal School in Athens on the site of the Rock College (completed in 1862), a building which had served as the University High School to prepare Confederate veterans for entry into the University proper. The State Normal School was located in Athens in 1891. Boggs spent great time and energy fighting for the University with state officials who were being courted at the same time by effective spokesmen for both agricultural and private denominational college interest groups, but he was ultimately forced to resign in 1898 in the power struggle between agriculturists and religious denominationalists.

Buildings begun at the University during his tenure:

Science Hall (foundation laid, 1897). This four-story building would be destroyed by fire in 1903, and replaced by a three story Terrell Hall in 1904.

File Inventory: [edit. 5.25.2010]

1. Letter: W. Boggs to H. Erwin. Re: unexcused student absences. May 7, 1894 [w/ cover & transcription]
2. Letters: Multiple letters of recommendation, 1896-1905
3. Faculty Minutes: extract, May/June, 1898
4. Letter: A.H. Patterson to C.M. Nix. Re: University catalogue. Oct. 20, 1898
5. Ledger Pages (7): University of Georgia to City of Athens. Re: curbing and brickwork expenses. November 1, 1898
6. Letter: E.A. Brown to W. Boggs. Re: scholarship transfer. November 19, 1898 [w/ transcription]
7. Memos: W.D. Hooper to W. Boggs. Re: degree conferrals. June 20-21, 1899.

Processed/Prepared by Gilbert Head-May, 2010.