J. Seymour (Josiah Seymour) Currey.

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cation of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions in life,'
has turned out to be, in the course of time, the greatest endowment of higher edu-
cation ever made at one time by the act of any legislature."

At its session in 1863, the Illinois legislature accepted a grant of 480,000
acres of public lands granted to the state under the act, and in 1867 the "Illinois
Industrial University" at Champaign was established. This name was changed,
in 1885, to "University of Illinois." In later years Congress added largely to the
endowments of the several state universities. Under the terms of the Hatch act
of March 2nd, 1887, a permanent appropriation to each state was made of $15,000
per year, "for the purpose of establishing an agricultural experiment station in
each state." Subsequent acts made increased appropriations for the same general
purposes, though the full amounts are not yet available. "Thus ere long," says
President James, "the sum of $80,000 per year will be appropriated by the Fed-
eral government to each state in the Union, in addition to the proceeds of the orig-
inal Land Grant of 1862, for the endowment of these institutions which have been
created in the different states."

The total number of acres of land granted to the states under the Act of
1862 was 10,578,529; of which 1,026,847 acres still remain unsold. The num-
ber of professors and teachers in colleges of agriculture and mechanic arts, whicli


have received the benefit of the Land Grant Act of 1862, is 5,618, and the en-
rollment of students in 1909 was 72,865, one fourth of which number were women.

In some cases the benefits flowing from the Land Grant Act of 1862, and the
various appropriations since, were bestowed upon institutions previously in exist-
ence on condition that they should provide for instruction in the new subjects.
Some of these were state institutions and some private. Thus in Massachusetts
the money was partly given to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and
partly to a department of Amherst College. In Wisconsin and Minnesota the
money was given to their state universities, which had already been formed. In
other states institutions were organized upon the basis of the Land Grant, and
they have grown to be great state universities, extending their scope to all the
subjects usually found in American universities. This was the case of the Uni-
versity of Illinois, which has become the largest, richest and most comprehensive
of those institutions which owe their origin to the Act of 1862. State appropria-
tions have supplemented these unprecedently generous gifts of the national gov-
ernment. The Federal grants have clearly proved a great stimulus to the indi-
vidual states and to private citizens in giving toward the support of these institu-
tions. In giving an account of the origin of the Land Grant Act President James
writes: "With the growth of these Federal and state appropriations for the sup-
port of this great chain of institutions extending from Maine through California
to Hawaii, and from the state of Washington through Florida to Porto Rico, and
with the increasing size and importance of these institutions, it is natural that
people should become interested in the history of this great movement, which has
resulted almost over night in this great creation. The great German thinker
Lessing says in one place that 'that which you do not see growing, you ma}' find
after a time grown ;' and so this great undertaking for the purpose of promoting
higher education has gone on from increase, to increase, unconsciously in large
part, without attracting general attention, without the knowledge of the average
voter whose interests were certainly deeply concerned in this development."

"It is not too much to claim, then, that the Federal land grant of 1862 marks
the beginning of one of the most comprehensive far-reaching, and one might almost
say, grandiose, schemes for the endowment of higher education ever adopted by
any civilized nation."

Readers who may be interested in pursuing further this episode of history,
in connection with the great educational institutions of our city and state, should
read the treatise by the President of the University of Illinois, enitled "Origin of
the Land Grant Act of 1862," (No. 1, Vol. IV, in the series of "University Studies,"
issued in November, 1910,) printed by the University Press at Urbana, Illinois.


There are several branches of the University's work carried on in Chicago,
under the control of the University. The College of Physicians and Surgeons,
otherwise known as the College of Medicine of the University of Illinois, is lo-
cated at the corner of Congress and Honore streets. This college was founded in
1882, and fifteen years later, namely in 1897, it became the medical department
of the University. The circular announcement for the vear 1910 states that "Chi-


cago is the center of medical study in the United States. For many years it has
contained a larger number of medical students than any other city in the Western
hemisphere." The college buildings of the medical department occupy three-fourths
of a city block, and are provided with every facility for the purposes of the insti-
tution. There was an attendance in 1909-10 of five hundred and twenty-six stu-
dents. The teaching faculty is composed of one hundred and thirty-seven professors
and instructors.

The School of Pharmacy of the University of Illinois is situated at the corner
of Michigan Boulevard and Twelfth street. This institution is equipped with ap-
pliances and laboratory apparatus necessary for its purposes. In the year 1910
there was an attendance of one hundred and seventy-four students, with a staff
of professors and instructors. The School of Pharmacy was originally the Chicago
College of Pharmacy, and was incorporated September 5th, 1859. A course of
lectures was instituted. The war interrupted the work of the college and it was
suspended until 1870. In this year it was reopened only to be broken up again
by the great fire, which destroyed its equipment. Friends of the college came to
the rescue and it was furnished with new apparatus and a working library, which
became the nucleus of its present complete equipment. In 1872 instruction was
resumed, and has since continued without interruption. The College was formally
united with the University of Illinois on May 1st, 189C.

The College of Dentistry of the University of Illinois occupies a building ad-
joining the College of Medicine. It has a faculty of thirty-one professors and
demonstrators, and it had an attendance in 1910 of one hundred artd eight students.

Its building is a five-story stone and brick structure, constructed at a cost of
$100jOOO. The laboratories are supplied with all necessary apparatus, and the
institution is well fitted to prepare students for the profession of dentistry.


It is of interest to every resident of Illinois to contemplate in a brief review
the great institution which stands in the front rank of State Universities among
all the states of the Union. When the University began, in 1867, with a faculty of
four professors and seventy-seven students, it is doubtful if any of those who were
instrumental in the work of establishing it had any idea that, within a space of
forty-three years, this institution would have an attendance of 5,118 students and
a faculty of 538, but such is the case. Few of the hundreds of thousands of tax
payers in Illinois, who annually contribute to its support, have any conception of
its great extent. There are now seven colleges and six schools conducted under
the general auspices and authority of the University of Illinois. Ten of these col-
leges and schools are located at Urbana, and three in Chicago, besides an Agricul-
tural station, an Engineering station, an Entomologist station, a State Laboratory
of Natural History, and the departments of the Geological Survey and the State
Water Survey.

The range of subjects within the scope of these various branches of the Uni-
versity's work is very wide. "In the College of Literature and Arts," says the
writer of a recent descriptive article on the subject, "besides the usual subjects of
language and history there are business courses, commercial courses, and courses


in journalism. In the College of Science, besides the ordinary sciences, as biologv,
botany and mathematics, there is also included the study of ceramics, which carries
along with it a great deal of investigative work. Nearly every field of agriculture
is now being developed in connection with the College and Experiment Station,
and the same is true of the Engineering College and Station. A recent movement
has been made, urged along by the railway officials of the state, to develop at the
University of Illinois a great railway school, in which men shall be trained in the
practical affairs of a railway, not only in engineering, but in the administration
of railways."


The duties of the head of a great institution like the University of Illinois are
multifarious and exacting, requiring a man of first rate ability, and boundless en-
ergy to discharge them in a satisfactory manner. An institution that has the dis-
tribution of a million and a half dollars annually is a great business organization
and with a faculty of between five and six hundred professors and instructors whose
various duties and departments must be kept in co-ordination, the task devolving
upon such a man is a very great one. President Edmund J. James has filled this
post since 1904, and under his control the prosperity of the institution has greatly

No account of the University would be complete without mention of the "Uni-
versity Regiment." This organization is composed of 1,450 cadets and officers,
the military instruction being, supplied by a regular United States army officer
detailed for the purpose. This is said to be the largest university regiment in the
United States, and is also one of the most proficient.


Within twenty years there has grown up in Chicago an institution of learning
that ranks as an equal among the great universities of this country. Its begin-
nings were such as to promise the rapidity of its development and the width of
its scope, for no small number of the great educators of the country were active in
planning its foundation, and an initial endowment fund of one million dollars, soon
followed by other moneys, formed the basis of its material resources. 1 The pro-
ject of founding a college, conceived by the Baptist Education Society, was recom-
mended by the Society for discussion to nine prominent educators of broad views,
who began their investigations in 1889, and made a report thereon to the society.
The further history of the movement we shall follow after a glimpse into the

The present University of Chicago is not the first to be so named. In 1855
a number of Chicago citizens visited Stephen A. Douglas to ask him to assist in
the establishment in that city of an institution for higher education. As a result
of this visit, Mr. Douglas gave a tract of ten acres for a campus, at Thirty-fourth
street, bordering on Cottage Grove avenue; upon this ground a stone building was
erected, and the University opened for work in 1857, with Reverend John C. Bur-
roughs, a Baptist minister, as its first president. The financial history of the in-

1 University of Chicago: An Historical Sketch, by William R. Harper.


stitution was always troublous, and finally, in 1886, the property was seized- by
an insurance company under foreclosure proceedings. When this event was im-
minent, the board of trustees of the University had asked the advice of the associ-
ation of Baptist ministers in Chicago; these men, at their regular weekly meeting
on February 8, 1886, discussed the financial condition of the university, and it
was then agreed by various speakers that there seemed no way to relieve the in-
debtedness ; that the attempt should be abandoned, and that a fresh start should
be made. It was hoped that the interest of wealthy Baptists would be aroused, and
the foundations laid for a prosperous institution. During the next two years there
was much consultation and correspondence among prominent Baptists of Chicago
and other parts of the country. The time seemed ripe for a great educational
movement, and the denomination under whose auspices the early enterprise had
been directed made efforts to enlist the interest of those who would forward their
plans. Happily for the practical outcome of this interest, it was felt by men
whose means were commensurate with their views and sympathies.


In the fall of 1888 Mr. John D. Rockefeller, after consulting with Dr. Will-
iam Rainey Harper, then professor of Semitic and Biblical literature at Yale
University, said to Dr. Harper and to Dr. Thomas W. Goodspeed, of Chicago, "I
am prepared to say that I am ready to put several hundred thousand dollars into
an 'institution in Chicago." Mr. Rockefeller communicated with the American
Baptist Education Society, as a result of which they appointed nine able men,
before referred to, who made an elaborate report on the scope of the institution,
the location, the funds required for a substantial foundation, the extent to which
the Education Society could wisely cooperate in the undertaking, and other points.
These nine men were Dr. William R. Harper, Dr. Samuel W. Duncan, Dr. Henry
L. Morehouse, Dr. Alvah Hovey, president of Newton Theological Institution; Dr.
James M. Taylor, president of Vassar College; Dr. H. G. Weston, president of
Crozier Theological Seminary; Dr. E. Benjamin Andrews, professor of history in
Cornell University; Reverend J. F. Elder, and Hon. C. L. Colby.

In May, 1889, after the board of the Education Society had formally decided
to enter on the undertaking, the pledge of Mr. Rockefeller was announced, as
made in the following letter from him:

"26 Broadway, New York, May 15, 1889.

Corresponding Secretary American Baptist Education Society.

My Dear Sir:

I will contribute six hundred thousand dollars ($600,000) toward an endow-
ment fund for a college to be established at Chicago, the income only of which
may be used for current expenses, but not for land, buildings, or repairs, provid-
ing four hundred thousand dollars ($400,000) more be pledged by good and re-
sponsible parties, satisfactory to the Board of the American Baptist Education
Society and myself, on or before June 1, 1890, said four hundred thousand dol-
lars, or as much of it as shall be required, to be used for the purpose of purchasing


land and erecting buildings, the remainder of the same to be added to the above
six hundred thousand dollars as endowment.

"I will pay the same to the American Baptist Education Society in five years,
beginning within ninety days after the completion of the subscription as above,
and pay five per cent, each ninety days thereafter until all is paid, providing not
less than a proportionate amount is so paid by the other subscribers to the four
hundred thousand dollars ; otherwise this pledge to be null and void.

Yours very truly,


A meeting of the board of the Education Society was then held in Chicago in
June, 1889, and a college committee of thirty-six was appointed, with E. Nelson
Blake as chairman, to cooperate with the Society in the effort to fulfill the con-
ditions proposed in this letter. This work was successfully accomplished, and at
the annual meeting of the board, held on May 23, 1890, the committee appointed to
examine the subscriptions made a report, which is embodied in the following
telegram :

"Chicago, May 23, 1890.
John D. Rockefeller, No. 26 Broadway, New York:

We are directed by the Executive Board of the Education Society to wire you
as follows: The Board, through a committee consisting of E. Nelson Blake, C.
C. Bowen, and J. A. Hoyt, have personally examined every pledge of the $400,000
and find what they believe to be good and satisfactory pledges amounting to $402,-
083. Further funds are promised and are coming in at the rate of $1,000 per day.
The Board find that in addition to the above sum gifts of libraries and apparatus
have been made valued at $15,000. Mr. Marshall Field's pledge is not included
in the above. The Board certify that your terms are fulfilled to their satisfaction.
Your certificate that pledges are satisfactory is desired at once to announce here
to subscribers and to secure a site. Shall we send a messenger to you with pledges
for examination? Please wire your wishes to the Auditorium Hotel.

F. T. GATES, Secretary.


ALBERT G. LAWSON, Recording Secretary."


The pledge of Mr. Field which is referred to was that for a site for the uni-
versity, on condition that the four hundred thousand dollars be secured. The rais-
ing of this money, as well as the gifts dependent on it, secured to the university
an endowment fund, a site for a campus, and the means to erect on it the first
buildings. With the interest that was aroused by these initial gifts and the pride
that the citizens already felt in the new enterprise, one might have forseen, even
in those early years, the present magnitude and scope of the university.

Resolutions based on the report of the committee of nine, and approved by
Mr. Rockefeller, were adopted by the Education Society. Among these resolu-
tions were those providing for the founding of the institution within the limits
of Chicago, for the admission of persons of both sexes on equal terms, for the
minimum area of the site to be placed at ten acres, for the raising of the founda-



tion fund as prescribed by Mr. Rockefeller, and for the provision of the govern-
ing of the university. The last and eighth resolution, referring to this point of
government, we shall quote :

"(8) Resolved, That the Board shall secure the incorporation of the proposed
institution as early as practicable; that the Board of Trustees shall consist of
twenty-one members, divided into three equal classes, with terms of service ex-
piring respectively in one, two, and three years ; that the choice of persons for the
first Board of Trustees shall be subject to the approval of the Executive Board
of this Society, and that the President of the institution, and two-thirds of the
Board of Trustees of the same, shall always be members of Baptist churches."

The executive board of the American Baptist Education Society, having ap-
proved of the choice of the first board of trustees of the university, made after
the reading of these resolutions at their meeting, and the Society having collected
all funds for the proposed institution, the control of the university passed out of
its hands into those of the trustees at the time when, in the judgment of the board,
the institution was solidly founded. The Society had acted as promptly as possible
in securing the incorporation of the institution, which was done on September 10,
1 890. The articles of that incorporation designated the corporation as "The Uni-
versity of Chicago," prescribed its particular objects, its management, its location,
and named the trustees who were to act during the first year of its corporate exist-
ence. A special clause made it clear that the university was to be non-sectarian.


In the report made to the trustees of the new university by Reverend Fred T.
Gates, corresponding secretary of the Education Society, the relation between the
new institution and the old University of Chicago, which had ceased to exist, is
made clear in a short paragraph:

"There is a certain obligation of honor which we have gladly assumed, the full
charge of which we desire to commit to you. The trustees of the University of
Chicago founded in 1857, the work of which was discontinued some years since,
have unanimously and heartily bequeathed to you the name 'University of Chi-
cago,' and with the name they bequeath also their alumni. The new University
of Chicago rises out of the ruins of the old. The thread of legal life is broken.
Technicalities difficult or impossible to be removed have prevented our use of the
charter of 1857. The new University of Chicago, with a new site, a new manage-
ment, new and greatly improved resources, and free from all embarrassing com-
plications, nevertheless bears the name of the old, is located in the same community,
under the same general denominational auspices, will enter on the same educational
work, and will aim to realize the highest hopes of all who were disappointed in
the old. A generation hence the break in legal life will have lapsed from the
memory of men. In the congeries of interests, affections, aspirations, endeavors,
which do in fact form the real life of an institution of learning in these there has
been no break. The alumni of the institution in its older form are the true sons
of the new, and as such we bespeak for them such appropriate and early recogni-
tion as your thoughtful courtesy may suggest."

Vol. 1117


On February 2, 1891, the trustees adopted the following resolution:

"Resolved, That in view of the relation of the new University of Chicago to
the institution that formerly bore that name, we hereby confirm and re-enact the
degrees of B. A. and B. S. conferred by the former University of Chicago, and we
invite the graduates to consider themselves the alumni of the University, and to
co-operate with us in building it up to greatness."

In handing over the affairs of the incipient university reports were made by
Dr. Thomas W. Goodspeed, the financial secretary of the Baptist Education So-
ciety, and Dr. Fred T. Gates, and from these reports much can be learned of the
early history of the university. Following the presentation of these reports the
board of trustees organized by the election of E. Nelson Blake, president; Martin
A. Ryerson, vice president; Charles L. Hutchinson, treasurer; and Alonzo K.
Parker, recording secretary. This first meeting of the trustees was in September,

1890. Later in the same month, at the second meeting of the trustees, a letter was
read from Mr. Rockefeller, in which he promised one million dollars more to the
university, with certain provisions for its use, and stipulated that the Baptist Un-
ion Theological Seminary of Chicago become an organic part of the university.
Besides being important for the promise of this magnificent gift, the meeting was
notable for another reason. Just before the letter from Mr. Rockefeller was read
to the trustees, the committee to nominate a president reported, recommending the
selection of Professor William Rainey Harper, of Yale University. The report
was unanimously and enthusiastically adopted by a rising vote, and a committee
was selected to inform Dr. Harper and present him to the board. On entering,
he expressed his appreciation of the honor conferred, and asked for six months'
time for consideration of the important offer. At the end of that time Dr. Harper
wrote a letter to the trustees, accepting the presidency of the Universiy of Chi-
cago, and naming July 1, 1891, as the time for entering upon his duties.

The union of the Theological Seminary with the university was effected during

1891, under the provisions of a carefully prepared contract. The Theological Un-
ion which thus furnished the Divinity school for the University of Chicago had its
origin in a meeting of a small company in the lecture room of the First Baptist
church of Chicago in 1860.


In January, 1891, the first formal bulletin regarding the work of the new in-
stitution was published. Seven bulletins were planned, the first of which was a
general account of the new university, including statements about the history of
the movement, the board of trustees, the charter, the site, the election of the presi-
dent, the opening of the colleges, the work of the university, its organization, the
general regulations, and remarks thereon. The work of the university as set forth
in the bulletin, is arranged under three general divisions: (1) the University

Online LibraryJ. Seymour (Josiah Seymour) CurreyChicago: its history and its builders, a century of marvelous growth (Volume v.2) → online text (page 35 of 55)