Wheeler & Wheeler Home About Wheeler & Wheeler Curtis Memorial Library Home
Previous Chapter Table of Contents Next Chapter


 [The Bowdoin College campus in 1821, showing Massachusetts Hall, two dormitory buildings, and a chapel. ]


In November, 1788, petitions were sent to the General Court of Massachusetts from the Cumberland Association of Ministers, as well as from the Cumberland County Court of General Sessions, for the incorporation of a college in that county. No decided action, however, was taken on these petitions until 1790, when a favorable report was made by a committee of the legislature, to which the matter had been referred. In March, 1791, in consequence principally of the exertions of Honorable Josiah Thatcher, a senator from Cumberland County, a bill for a college, to be called the Maine College, passed the Senate, but failed to pass the House.

At the next session, in the winter of 1791-2, upon the motion of H. Slocum, Esquire, a member from Bristol County, a committee was raised "to consider the expediency of establishing a college in the District of Maine." All mention of Cumberland County was avoided,

and the motion was made by a member from another county in order that no prejudice might be excited against the measure. Governor Eustis was appointed chairman of the committee, and a bill was prepared, establishing a college which was first proposed to be called Winthrop College, but which was called in the Act of Incorporation Bowdoin College, "the name being selected as one of the most honored names that Massachusetts could boast." The bill passed the House at this session, but owing to a disagreement, between the two houses in regard to the name and location of the college, the bill was not formally enacted until June 24, 1794, when it passed both houses and received the signature of the governor, Samuel Adams. The towns of Gorham, Portland, North Yarmouth, Brunswick, New Gloucester, Freeport, and Winthrop were pertinacious in urging their respective claims as being the most fitting seat of the college, and in some of them subscriptions were raised to secure the location. The town of Brunswick was at length selected as a compromise between the conflicting interests of the claimants, the citizens of the town having made what was considered at the time a valuable consideration for the preference.

The founders of this institution appear to have formed adequate conceptions of what such a college should be. Their evident design was, as expressed in their own words, to found a seminary which should "promote virtue and piety, and a knowledge of the languages and of the useful and liberal arts and sciences."

The government of the college was, by its Act of Incorporation, vested in a Board of Trustees and a Board of Overseers, the former consisting of thirteen, and the latter of forty-five members. The trustees are the legislative body, and the overseers possess a vetoing power. Five townships of land, each six miles square, of the unappropriated lands in the then District of Maine, were granted for the "use, benefit, and purpose of supporting" the college.

"Immediately after the charter was granted, establishing an institution which was to bear his family name, the Honorable James Bowdoin, of Boston, afterwards minister plenipotentiary at the Spanish court, generously bestowed both money and lands, the estimated value of which was $6,800. The first meeting of the Boards of the college was held at Portland, December, 1794. In consequence, however, of a deficiency of available funds (for the best lands of the State having been previously selected by other grantees, there was great difficulty in effecting a sale of the college townships, or any portion of them, without a sacrifice), eight years passed before the college went

into operation. Indeed, notwithstanding the original grant of the legislature, and the patronage of the individual already named, nothing but great zeal and unwearied perseverance on the part of the most active friends of the project carried it through to its accomplishment. Besides two stated meetings of the Boards each year, special meetings were occasionally called: but it was no easy matter to sustain the interest of all the members in an institution which as yet existed but in name, and it was always difficult even to form a quorum for the transaction of business. Committees were repeatedly appointed by the Boards to solicit donations, but the public had not then learned to give, and when thousands were needed, the amount contributed was small, and mostly in books. Mutual recriminations of inefficiency and neglect passed between the two Boards, and some were almost ready to despair of success"

Although but few donations were made to the college at this time, it is gratifying to know. that neither the citizens nor the Pejepscot proprietors were unmindful of the benefit the location of the college in Brunswick would be to this town. Thirty acres of land were given to the college for its location by Captain John Dunlap, William Stanwood, and Brigadier Thompson, though the college afterwards had to purchase a part of it from more rightful owners.1

The Pejepscot proprietors also, at a meeting held April 3, 1799, voted to give a deed of two hundred acres of land to the trustees, "for the use of the college forever."

The following were the original trustees and overseers of the college:-

TRUSTEES. -Reverend Thomas Brown, Falmouth; Samuel Dean, D. D., Portland; John Frothingham, Esquire, Portland; Reverend Daniel Little, Wells; Reverend Thomas Lancaster, Scarboro'; Honorable Josiah Thatcher, Gorham; David Mitchell, Esquire, North Yarmouth; Reverend Tristram Gilman, North Yarmouth; Reverend Alden Bradford, Wiscasset; Thomas Rice, Esquire, Pownalboro'; William Martin, North Yarmouth; and the president and treasurer of the college.

OVERSEERS. -Edward Cutts, Kittery; Thomas Cutts, Pepperelboro'; Simon Frye, Fryeburg; David Sewall, York; Nathaniel Wells, Wells; Reverend Moses Hemmenway, D. D., Wells; Reverend Silas Moody, Arundel; Reverend John Thompson, Berwick; Reverend Nathaniel Webster, Biddeford; Reverend Paul Coffin, Buxton;

1. John McKeen, Reminiscences of Brunswick in 1802.

Reverend Benjamin Chadwick, Scarboro'; Reverend Samuel Eaton, Harpswell; Reverend Samuel Foxcroft, New Gloucester; Reverend Caleb Jewett; Reverend Alfred Johnson, Freeport; Reverend Elijah Kellogg, Portland; Reverend Ebenezer Williams, Falmouth; Reverend Charles Turner, Sandford; Daniel Davis, Portland; Samuel Freeman, Portland; Joshua Fabyan, Scarboro'; William Gorham, Gorham; Stephen Longfellow, Gorham; Joseph Noyes, Falmouth; Isaac Parsons, New Gloucester; Robert Sonthgate, Scarboro'; John Wait, Portland; Peleg Wadsworth, Thomaston; William Widgery, New Gloucester; Reverend Ezekiel Emerson, Georgetown; Reverend Jonathan Ellis, Topsham; Jonathan Bowman, Pownalboro'; Edmund Bridge, Augusta; Daniel Cony, Augusta; Henry Dearborn, Pittston; Dummer Sewall, Bath; Samuel Thompson, Topsham; John Dunlap, Brunswick; Francis Winter, Bath; Nathaniel Thwing, Woolwich; Alexander Campbell, No. 4 Washington County; Paul Dudley Sargeant, Sullivan; and the president and secretary of the college.

The site for the college was selected in 1796. It is situated on a plateau about three quarters of a mile south of the Androscoggin Bridge, near the pine plains. A beautiful grove of pines forms a part of the college grounds, and its proximity suggested the motto of one of the literary societies of the college.1

It was decided at this time to erect a building as soon as practicable, and in 1798 one was constructed of brick fifty feet long, forty feet wide, and three stories high. Owing to lack of means, however, it was not ready for use until the summer of 1802. In this latter year a wooden house was erected for the use of the president of the college.

About this time a part of the college lands was sold, and thus a new and more vigorous impulse was given to the growth of the college.

In July, 1801, the Boards proceeded to elect a president. Among several candidates the choice fell upon Reverend Joseph McKeen, a clergyman of high standing, of Beverly, Mass. The selection was fortunate for the institution. Possessing sound judgment and great sagacity, President McKeen was enabled to give a wise direction to measures, and to establish precedents of great importance to the future stability and prosperity of the institution. Through his instru-mentality the tenure of office, a point which elicited much discussion, was established on a proper basis. In the following November,

1. The motto of the Peucinian Society is "Pinos loquentes semper habemas" (The murmuring pines we always have).

John Abbot, A. M., Harvard, was chosen Professor of Languages. The President and Professor of Languages were installed September, 1802. Great interest was felt by the friends of learning and education throughout the Commonwealth in this undertaking, and the ceremonies of the inauguration attracted to Brunswick a large assemblage, in which were men of the first distinction in the State. For want of a building suitable for the occasion, a platform with accommodations for spectators had been erected in the pine grove in the rear of the ground where the college grounds now stand. The scene in which they were participating could not but have deeply affected the principal actors. . . . On this occasion, the name of the college building, already erected, was proclaimed in due form, -Massachusetts Hall.

"On the day following this interesting occasion eight students were examined for admission into the college, two of whom came from the metropolis of the Commonwealth and its neighborhood, showing the interest and the confidence felt there in this new child of promise.

"The duties to which President McKeen was called were arduous and highly responsible. For two years he was aided only by the faithful services of the Professor of Languages. The obstacles and the discouragements he was compelled to encounter in laying the foundation of an institution which was attracting notice and exciting much expectation in the community, without apparatus of any kind, and almost without funds, situated in a part of the country where superfluous wealth was not yet known, at a period when such an undertaking was a novel one, cannot now be duly appreciated. Before they were introduced to their labors, the president and professor visited the principal colleges of New England, that they might avail themselves of the best experience of the time for the successful management of the college. It should be mentioned as an honorable testimonial to the enlarged and independent views which governed the measures then adopted, that the requisitions for admission at once placed the new institution, in this respect, on a level with the oldest and best conducted institutions in the country, -a rank which it has ever maintained."

His house not having been completed in time, the president and his family, for a while, occupied rooms in Massachusetts Hall, the lower story of which had been fitted up, temporarily, as a chapel and recitation-room, and the upper portion for dormitories. There was no bell of any kind, and the pupils were summoned to prayers morning and evening by the thumping of the president's cane on the staircase.

In addition to these daily devotional exercises, President McKeen also preached on Sunday, either in the meeting-house of the First Parish or in the college chapel.

In 1804, Samuel Willard was appointed a tutor, and took up his residence within the college. One or two resident tutors were chosen annually after this until 1824.

Soon after its incorporation Mr. Bowdoin presented the college with £823 4s., with a "request that the interest thereof may be applied to the establishment and support of a professorship of Mathematics, and of Natural and Experimental Philosophy, and that this interest be added to the principal until a professor shall be appointed." To fill this professorship the boards, in May, 1805, elected Parker Cleaveland, A. M., Harvard, who was at that time a tutor at Cambridge. He was inducted into office in October. During this year the first chapel was erected. It was constructed of wood, with rooms for the library and philosophical apparatus in the second story. It was not designed for a permanent building, but was, however, enlarged and improved in 1817, and served the purposes for which it was built until 1845.

In 1805 the first literary society was instituted. This society, the Peucinian, was founded by Charles Stewart Daveis, Alfred Johnson, Nathan Lord, Robert Means, Enos Merrill, Benjamin Randall, Joseph Sprague, and Henry Wood, members of the three highest classes of the college. Robert Means was the first president. At first the society consisted solely of members of college, but in 1814 the members who had graduated held a meeting and, together with those belonging to the college society, formed a general society, of which Charles Stewart Daveis was elected the first president. With varying periods of prosperity and reverses, the society has continued to the present day. Its membership in 1858, the date of the last catalogue, was as follows:-

Whole number of members, 1,023; initiated members, 945; honorary members, 78; members of General Society, 882; members of College Society, 63.

The first Commencement of the college was celebrated in September, 1806, when the first class was graduated. The following-named individuals composed this class:-

Mr. Richard Cobb, who died in 1837, aged 49; Mr. Isaac Foster Coffin, who died in 1861, aged 74; John Davis, who died in 1841, aged 62; Mr. John Maurice O'Brien, who died in 1865, aged 79; Moses Quinby, S. H. S., who died in 1857, aged 71;

Mr. George Thorndike, who died in 1810, aged 21, and who also received his degree at Harvard, in 1807; Reverend Benjamin Titcomb, who died in 1829, aged 42.

At the same time the following fourteen persons, graduates of other colleges, received at their own solicitation honorary degrees: Ebenezer H. Beckford, of Harvard; Oliver Bray, of Yale; Jason Chamberlain, of the University of Brunswick; Thomas J. Eckley, of Harvard; Jacob H. Elliott, of Harvard; Abraham Eustis, of Harvard; Jacob C. Jewett, of Harvard; Thomas M. Jones, of Harvard; Isaac Lincoln, of Harvard; Samuel Orne, of Harvard and Yale; Albion K. Parris, of Dartmouth; Leverett Saltonstall, of Harvard and Yale; Ichabod Tucker, of Harvard; and Owen Warland, also of Harvard.

This being the first occasion of the kind in a portion of the Commonwealth then looked upon as almost a wilderness, excited much interest throughout Massachusetts. A large number of people attended from the District of Maine, and many from Boston and vicinity. There was, perhaps, a larger attendance than has been usual since that time. This Commencement is memorable not only on account of its being the first one, but also on account of a storm of uncommon severity, which began the day before the one appointed for the exercises of graduation, and for three days raged without abatement. The exercises were postponed one day, but were obliged to be held the next.

The successful working of the college at this time is shown by the fact that in 1807 forty-four students had been admitted to it, the library contained between fourteen and fifteen hundred volumes, and a philosophical and chemical apparatus had been obtained which was probably unsurpassed at that time by any in New England, except by that in Harvard University. A new building, subsequently named Maine Hall, was commenced this year. It was of brick, one hundred feet long, forty wide, and four stories high, and was intended for dormitories.

In consequence of the illness of the president at this time, his duties were distributed among the three remaining instructors. The tutor, Nathan Parker, A. M., Harvard, afterwards Reverend Doctor Parker, of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, "a most efficient and able officer, both of instruction and government," performed regularly the chapel duties of the president during the vacancy in that office.

In September, 1807, in consequence of the death of President McKeen, it became necessary to choose his successor. Some perplexity arose in consequence of the number of applicants for the position,

but finally the Boards made selection of Reverend Jesse Appleton, A. M., Dartmouth, who was at the time settled in the ministry in Hampton, New Hampshire. His inauguration took place in December of the same year.

"President Appleton brought to the discharge of his duties a conscientiousness which forbade him to relax any effort, and a deep sense of responsibility both for the literary reputation and the moral and religious welfare of the institution. He possessed also rational views of collegiate discipline, great discretion, unshrinking integrity, an uncommon spirit of command, true love of learning, cultivated taste, habits of close application, and a delicacy and refinement of character which could not be surpassed. He had gained in a degree unusual for one of his age the respect of the clergy, both of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, as may be inferred from the fact that in 1803 he was one of the two most prominent candidates for the Theological Chair of Harvard University. The selection of such an individual for the presidency of the college was deemed highly auspicious. But he was called at the outset to encounter peculiar trials. Not to mention the relaxation of discipline likely to ensue on account of the protracted illness of the former president, and the interval between his decease and the coming of a successor, it was a time when there was throughout the community a tendency to looseness of sentiment and character. At no period in the history of our colleges has there been more recklessness on the part of youth. The habits of society, which then made the use of intoxicating liquors an essential even of common hospitality, exerted a most deleterious influence on all our colleges

. . . By the unwearied assiduity, however, of President Appleton, by a uniform system of discipline, great energy. and firmness tempered with parental solicitude for the welfare of his pupils, and the influence of high moral and religious principle, which pervaded in an uncommon degree all his intercourse with the students, the difficulties to which we have alluded were gradually overcome, and under his administration the college acquired high repute for good morals as well as sound scholarship."

In the month of June, 1808, a few students, associated themselves together for literary purposes, under the name of the "Athenaean Society of Bowdoin College." Henry Wood was the first president. This society for a few years surpassed its rival the Peucinian, but soon languished, and in 1811 was temporarily discontinued. It was revived again in 1813, but was again disbanded in 1816 and its library divided. In 1818 it was again, revived, and has continued till the

present time. In 1820 the General Society was formed, and Levi Stowell was chosen as its first president. In 1822 its library was injured in the burning of Maine Hall, in which it was kept. In 1828 this society was incorporated by an Act of the legislature, and a new seal was adopted.1 In 1836 its library was again almost totally destroyed by fire. In 1850 it received the cabinet of curiosities and other property of the "Caluvian Society." The mem-bership of this society in 1856, the date of its last catalogue, was as follows: Whole number of members, 885; initiated members, 739; honorary members, 79; members of the General Society, 748; of the College Society, 67. Though these two literary societies still exist, yet neither of them, it is believed, are supported with the former vigor and enthusiasm.

In 1811, Mr. Bowdoin, the steadfast friend of the college, died. He bequeathed to this institution his valuable private library of more than two thousand volumes, besides a large number of pamphlets, charts, maps, and several articles of philosophical apparatus, a valuable collection of minerals, comprising nearly five hundred distinct specimens, arranged by Hauy, nearly four hundred models in crystallography, and a valuable collection of paintings and engravings which he had collected in Europe. The value of this legacy was certainly not less than $15,000.

At a meeting of the Board of Trustees of the college, on May 19, 1812, it was voted "that in consideration of the great munificence of the late Honorable James Bowdoin, Esquire, toward this institution, and the interest taken by it in his lamented decease, it is expedient and becoming that public notice be taken of the event; and therefore, voted, that the secretary of this Board be requested to deliver, at the ensuing Commencement, an eulogy on his memory." The Board of Overseers concurred in this request, and at the ensuing Commencement, September 2, the eulogy was delivered by Reverend Mr. Jenks, and was afterwards published in pamphlet form by a vote of the Boards.

This year Reverend William Jenks, A. M., Harvard, at that time settled in the ministry at Bath, the secretary of the Board of Trustees, was appointed Professor of Oriental and English Languages. He commenced his duties January 5, 1813. "The erudition of this gentleman, and his classical taste, rendered his services an important acquisition." His appointment was for three years only, and he kept up

1. On the seal was engraven a head of Minerva, with the inscription : "Athenaean Society, B. C., Cut Su. Sri. Cor." The abbreviations are for, "Bowdoin College, Cultores suns scientia.coronat" (Science crowns her worshippers).

his connection with his society in Bath. Efforts were made to retain him as a permanent instructor, but they were unsuccessful. At this time the finances of the college were in a low state, almost the only source of income being the sale from time to time of some of its wild lands, which were not then of much value.

In 1814 an Act was passed by the General Court, making an annual grant to the several colleges in the Commonwealth, for ten years. The portion allotted to this college was $3,000, one fourth of which was to be appropriated to the payment of the tuition of indigent students. This year the "Benevolent Society of Bowdoin College" was instituted. It was at first composed entirely of graduates and undergraduates of the college, but it afterwards admitted those not connected with the institution. It was incorporated and had, at one time, funds to the amount of seven hundred dollars. From the printed constitution of the society the following facts are obtained:-

The object of the society was to assist "indigent young men of promising talents and of good moral character in procuring an education at this college." No person could receive pecuniary assistance unless he had been a member of college, for at least one term. Any one of twenty-one years of age or over could become a member by paying one dollar on admission and one dollar annually, or a life member by paying ten dollars. The society received donations of books, furniture, clothing, or money, and the donor could designate the manner in which the gift should be appropriated, "provided it be for an object consistent with the design of the society." One half of the money received into the treasury and not appropriated by the donors was reserved as a permanent fund, of which only the annual income could be used.

The death of President Appleton occurred in November, 1819, and in consequence thereof a special meeting of the Boards was called in December, to elect his successor. Their choice fell upon Reverend William Allen, A. M., Harvard, of Hanover, New Hampshire, who had been president of Dartmouth College. In September previous, Samuel P. Newman, A. M., Harvard, was elected to the professorship of Latin and Greek, which had been rendered vacant by the resignation, in 1816, of Professor Abbot. The new professor and president were both inaugurated in May, 1820.

The formation of the new State of Maine in 1820 affected considerably the welfare of the college.

In the "Act of Separation," passed by the legislature of Massachusetts, June, 1819, it was provided that the grants already made to the

college, which would not expire under four years, should continue in full force after the District of Maine became a State, and that all the chartered rights of the college should be enjoyed without change, "except by judicial process according to the principles of law. By the Constitution of Maine, on the other hand, the legislature were restrained from making any grant to any literary institution, unless they should have a certain right of control over such institution " The trustees and overseers of the college, therefore, deemed it wise to vest such right of control in the legislature of Maine, in order to be able to derive aid from the State. Accordingly an application was made by them to the legislatures of both States "for their assent to such modifications of the college charter as would remove any impediment in the way of the college receiving patronage from the legislature of Maine."

In response to this petition, the legislature of Massachusetts, on June 12 of this year, passed a resolve giving their consent to the alteration of the clause in the "Act of Separation" which referred to this college, provided the legislature of Maine consented thereto, and that the alteration did not affect the rights or interests of the Commonwealth. Four days later, the legislature of Maine passed an Act, so far modifying the "Act of Separation" as that the powers and privileges of the president, trustees, and overseers of the college should be subject to be "altered, limited, restrained, or extended by the legislature of the State of Maine, as shall by the said legislature be judged necessary to promote the best interests of said institution." The college having given its assent to this Act, the legislature of Maine granted a continuance of the sum which had been given by Massachusetts, and which had been appropriated for the purpose from a tax on the banks. By the power given them in this Act, the legislature also, in March, 1821, passed another Act increasing the number of trustees to twenty-five and of overseers to sixty, and the governor and council, by authority granted by the same Act, proceeded to fill by appointment the places which had been thus created. In this way thirty-three individuals were introduced into the two Boards.

The college buildings at this time were three in number, arranged to form the three sides of a square, but at suitable intervals from each other. The southern building was of wood and two stories high. The lower apartment contained the library, consisting at that time of about six thousand volumes. The building on the north was a large, square brick building, three stories high, divided into apartments for the philosophical apparatus, laboratory, mineralogical cabinet, etc. The

eastern building was of brick, and was four stories high, and contained thirty-two rooms for students.

In 1822 an additional building, Winthrop Hall, was erected for dormitories. In March of this year, Maine Hall took fire and the entire interior was burnt, though the walls were not materially injured. The fire was discovered at three o'clock in the afternoon, and when first noticed was beyond control. It is supposed to have caught in the garret, but no satisfactory knowledge of its origin can be given. The loss by this fire was considerable. The building alone cost $16,000. The theological library, consisting of from three to four hundred volumes, was almost entirely consumed. Twelve of the students lost all their wearing apparel, except what they had on at the time, together with their furniture and bedding. The private property thus lost was estimated at the time at not far from $1,500.

This severe blow to the prosperity of the college was averted by the public liberality. Individual donations were extensively made, and contributions were received in a large number of the churches in Maine and Massachusetts, and thus the loss was fully repaired.

In 1824 two new professorships were created. Reverend Thomas C. Upham, A. M., Dartmouth, who was settled in the ministry in Rochester, New Hampshire, was chosen Professor of Metaphysics and Ethics; and Samuel P. Newman, Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory. They were inaugurated in February of the following year. Professor Newman also conducted the recitations in civil polity and political economy, and Hebrew was taught by Professor Upham.

This year Alpheus S. Packard,. A. M., a graduate of the college in the class of 1816, who had been a tutor since 1819, was chosen Professor of Languages and Classical Literature.

Professor Packard was the son of Reverend Doctor Hezekiah Packard, and was born in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, on December 23, 1798. His connection with the college for a period of fifty-eight years is evidence not only of the high esteem in which he has always been held by the public, as well as by his colleagues and the alumni, but is also a proof of the wisdom originally displayed in his selection. Professor Packard, in addition to the professorship to which he was originally chosen, was appointed from 1842 to 1845 to fill the vacancy in the Chair of Rhetoric and Oratory, and in 1864 was made Professor of Natural and Revealed Religion. In addition to his college duties, he has, from time to time, supplied the pulpit in the churches of the neighboring towns. In 1860 he was honored with the title of S. T. D. from this college. In 1828 he was elected a member of the

Maine Historical Society, in which he has for some years held and still holds the office of secretary. He has also for several years been one of its standing committee.

In 1825, William Smyth, A M., a graduate of this college in the class of 1822, who had been a tutor for two years previously, was appointed Associate Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy. In 1828 he was made a professor in full. This year, 1825, a branch of the literary society of graduates, known as the Phi Beta Kappa, of which there is a branch in nearly all of the older colleges of the country, was organized at this college.

In 1826 the first graduation1 of a student belonging to the colored race occurred. John B. Russworm, afterwards governor of Liberia, was the name of this individual.

In 1829, Henry W. Longfellow, A. M., a graduate of the class of 1825, was chosen to the professorship of Modern Languages, towards the foundation of which $1,000 had been bequeathed by Mrs. Dearborn, formerly the widow of Honorable James Bowdoin. Professor Longfellow resigned his office in 1835, having been invited to a similar professorship in Harvard University. What is usually designated as "Commons Hall" was built this year. It was designed, and for many years was used, as a dining-room for the students. It is now used as a laboratory of analytical chemistry.

In March, 1831, an Act was passed by the legislature which provided that no person then holding the office of president in any college in the State should hold said office beyond the day of the next Commencement of the college, unless he should be re-elected ; and that no person should be elected or re-elected to the office of president unless he should receive in each Board two thirds of all the votes given on the question of his election; and that any person elected to said office should be liable to be removed at the pleasure of the Board or Boards which should elect him. It was furthermore provided that the fees usually paid to the president for degrees should be paid into the treasury, for the use of the college, and be no longer a perquisite of office. "This unprecedented act of legislation excited the deep concern of all who felt an interest in the permanency and stability of our literary institutions. Though applicable alike to both colleges of the State, its immediate object and direct bearing no one has ever pretended to disguise."

1. In 1858 a colored gentleman named Jacob M. Moore was graduated from the Medical School.

At their next meeting the trustees and overseers voted to acquiesce in this act of the legislature, and at once proceeded to choose a president, but failed in consequence of their inability to get a two-thirds majority in both Boards. A committee of the two Boards was chosen to petition the legislature for a repeal of the provision of the Act requiring a two-thirds majority in each Board. President Allen, however, did not wait the result of this petition, but at once proceeded to test the constitutionality of this legislative enactment by a suit in the Circuit Court of the United States. The case was argued before Honorable Joseph Story, associate justice of the Supreme Court, and Honorable Ashur Ware, district judge. The decision of the court had not only an important bearing upon the welfare of this college, but was also one which involved the chartered rights of all such institutions, and is deserving, therefore, of more particular mention in these pages.

The following abstract of this decision is taken from a published sketch of the college by Professor Packard, from which we have already freely quoted:-1

"1. A college established for the promotion of learning and piety is a private and not a public corporation. In the charter of Bowdoin College the visitatorial power is intrusted to the Boards of Trustees and Overseers; as soon as they accepted the charter, they acquired a permanent right and title in their offices, which could not be diverted except in the manner pointed out in the charter. The legislature was bound by the Act; they could not resume their grant, and they could not touch the vested rights, privileges, or franchises of the college, except so far as the power was reserved by the sixteenth section of the Act. The language of that section is certainly very broad, but it is not unlimited. It is there declared that the legislature 'may grant further powers to, or alter, limit, annul, or restrain any of the powers by this Act vested in the said corporation, as shall be judged necessary to promote the best interest of the college.' Whatever it may do, then, must be done to promote the best interest of the college. It is true that it is constituted the sole judge of what is the best interest of the college; but still it cannot do anything pointedly destructive of that interest. Its authority is confined to the enlarging, altering, annulling or restraining of the powers of the corporation. It cannot intermeddle with its property; it cannot extinguish its corporate existence; it cannot resume all its property, and annihilate all its powers and

1. For the full text of this decision see Allen v. McKeen, 1 Sumner's Report, 276.

franchises. The legislature must leave its vitality and property, and enable it still to act as a college. It cannot remove the trustees or overseers, though it may abridge, as well as enlarge, their powers.

"2. Bowdoin College has never surrendered any of its rights. Whatever may have been the intentions of those concerned, at the outset, in regard to a surrender of the college to the State, there has been a miscarriage of the parties; it never has been de jure under the control of the legislature of Maine.

"3. But admitting that the college, as was contemplated, did come under the control of the legislature of Maine, when it is stated in the Act modifying the college charter, that the president and trustees and overseers of Bowdoin College shall enjoy their powers and privileges, subject to be altered, limited, restrained, or extended by the legislature, no authority is conferred upon the legislature to add new members to the Boards by its own nomination or by that of the governor and Council of the State. That would be an extension, not of the powers and privileges of the Boards, but of the legislative action over them. If the legislature could add one new member of its own choice or appointment, it could add any number whatsoever. It could annihilate the powers and privileges of the charter Boards under the pretence of alteration or extension. The legislature might authorize an enlargement of the Boards, but the places thus created must be filled by the Boards themselves.

"4. The Act of the legislature, removing the presidents of Bowdoin and Waterville Colleges out of office at a certain time, is a direct exercise of a power which was expressly and exclusively conferred on the College Boards by the original charter, and which has never been taken from them.

"5. President Allen was in office under a lawful contract made with the Boards, by which contract he was to hold that office during good behavior. The Act of the legislature directly impairs the obligations of that contract. It takes away from him his tenure of office, and removes him from it. Holding his office during good behavior, he could not be removed from it except for gross misbehavior; and then only by the Boards, in the manner pointed out in the original charter. Immediately upon the decision of the court being announced, President Allen resumed the discharge of the duties of his office."

In 1835, Daniel R. Goodwin, -then a tutor in college, succeeded Longfellow as Professor of Modern Languages. He served in this capacity until 1853, when he resigned, for the purpose of accepting the presidency of Trinity College, Connecticut.

President Allen resigning in 1839, Reverend Leonard Woods, of Bangor Theological Seminary, son of Reverend Leonard Woods, a well-known divine, was elected as his successor. President Woods was at that time well known for his scholarly culture and attainments, and his reputation has steadily increased. In 1839 he received the honorary degree of D. D. from Waterville College, and in 1846 from Harvard College. In 1866 he received that of LL. D. from Bowdoin. He was not only an eminent scholar and a fine teacher, but he attracted students by his courteous demeanor and by his lenient disposition. He resigned in 1866, after a period of service extending over twenty-seven years, - a much longer service than that of any previous president.

In 1842 a professorship of Political Economy was founded, and Alpheus S. Packard was chosen as the first professor in that branch. He was succeeded in 1845 by Henry H. Boody, then a tutor.

On July 16 of this latter year, the corner-stone of King Chapel was laid with Masonic ceremonies. There were present the Grand Lodge of Maine, the Boston Encampment of Knight Templars, the Portland Encampment of Knight Templars, the Mount Vernon Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Portland, the Montgomery Chapter of Bath, Ancient Landmark Lodge of Portland, Solar Lodge of Bath, Freeport Lodge of Freeport, and United Lodge of Brunswick. At the northwest angle of the ground there was a raised platform, upon which were the officers of the college, the Grand Lodge, and the Knight Templars. President Woods read the psalm "Lętatus sum," and made an address. Prayer was offered by Reverend William T. Dwight, and John T. Paine. Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Maine, assisted by Honorable Robert P. Dunlap, ex-Grand Master, then laid the stone in due form. A silver plate provided by the college, and one provided by the Grand Lodge, were then deposited in the proper receptacle in the stone.

In 1855 the new chapel was completed. The entire cost was $45,000. On June 7 it was dedicated. The services of the occasion consisted of a selection from the Scriptures and a prayer by Reverend George E. Adams, a hymn, an address by President Woods, a second hymn, a sermon by Professor Hitchcock, and a concluding prayer by Reverend Doctor Dwight. The services were attended by the under-graduates, many graduates, the college boards and faculty, and many friends of the college, who assembled in the library, from whence they moved to the chapel in a procession conducted by Honorable Charles J. Gilman as marshal.

In 1848 a professorship of Rhetoric and Elocution was founded, that of Political Economy being merged in it, and Professor Henry H. Boody was appointed to this office. He was succeeded in 1856 by Egbert C. Smyth, son of Professor William Smyth, a graduate of the college in 1848, and a tutor in 1849.

A professorship of Natural and Revealed Religion was founded in 1850 by subscriptions among the Orthodox Congregationalists, and Calvin E. Stowe, D. D., of the class of 1829, an eminent scholar and theologian, was chosen to that office. He was succeeded in l852 by Roswell D. Hitchcock, a graduate of Amherst in 1836, now of New York City. In 1856, Professor E. C. Smyth was transferred to this chair, and Joshua L. Chamberlain, of the class of 1852, was appointed to the Chair of Rhetoric and Oratory. In 1858, William Russell, a distinguished elocutionist, assisted in his branch.

Professor Goodwin resigned in 1855, and Charles Carroll Everett, now a professor in Harvard College, occupied the Chair of Modern Languages for two years, from 1855 to 1857. He was succeeded by Professor Chamberlain for two years, when William A. Packard, class of 1851, now professor at Princeton, gave the instruction for one year. In 1861, Professor Chamberlain was again placed in the Chair of Modern Languages, that of Rhetoric and Oratory being filled in 1862 by Reverend Eliphalet Whittlesey, a graduate of Yale.

In August of this year, 1862, Professor Chamberlain resigned his office to go into the army for the period of the war then raging. The boards, however, granted him leave of absence instead of accepting his resignation, and Stephen J. Young, class of 1859, was made Provisional Instructor in Modern Languages, to which, on Professor Chamberlain's resigning in 1865, he was elected as professor.

Professor Whittlesey also went into the army, and the duties of his chair were performed by members of the faculty. At the close of the war Professor Whittlesey resigned, and General Chamberlain was re-elected to the Chair of Rhetoric and Oratory, which, however, he again resigned in 1866, to accept the office of governor of Maine. He was followed by John S. Sewall, class of 1850, who held the chair until 1875, when Professor Henry L. Chapman, Bowdoin, class of 1866, was transferred to this from the Chair of Latin.

In 1859, Paul A. Chadbourne, a graduate of Williams, was chosen Professor of Chemistry and Natural History. He was succeeded in 1863 by Cyrus F. Brackett, a graduate in 1859, tutor in 1863. In 1864, Professor Brackett was appointed Adjunct Professor of Natural Science, and in 1865 to a full professorship in the

Josiah Little Chair of Natural Science, to which, however, in 1868, George L. Goodale, a graduate of Amherst in 1860, was elected.

In 1862, William P. Tucker, class of 1854, tutor since 1857, was instructor in mathematics for one year. He had, in the mean time, as librarian, prepared an elaborate and valuable catalogue of the college library. In 1865, Edward N. Packard, tutor since 1863, was instructor, and in 1866 Adjunct Professor of Mathematics. The death of Professor Smyth in 1868, while intensely engaged upon the building of Memorial Hall, left the Chair of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy vacant, and Charles E. Rockwood, a graduate of Yale, was chosen to the place.

In 1864, Professor E. C. Smyth resigned the Chair of Natural and Revealed Religion and was succeeded by Professor Alpheus S. Packard, who was transferred from the Chair of Ancient Languages, to which, in 1865, Reverend Jotham B. Sewall, class of 1848, tutor in 1851, was chosen. In 1871, Henry L. Chapman was chosen Adjunct Professor of Latin, and in 1872 a full professor.

In 1865 the alumni of the college voted to erect a building to be called Memorial Hall, in honor of the graduates and students of the college who had died in the civil war. A subscription was at once started to carry the plan into execution, and a committee was raised for the purpose. A sufficient amount of funds was raised to warrant the prosecution of the work, and the corner-stone was accordingly laid in 1866. The outside of the building has since been completed, but enough funds have not yet been secured to enable it to be finished inside. When more prosperous times return, there is scarcely a doubt but that the original intention will be carried out.

President Woods resigning in 1866, Reverend Samuel Harris, S. T. D., a graduate of 1833, was elected to his place in 1867. He took upon himself, also, the duties of the Professor of Moral Philosophy and Metaphysics, Professor Upham being that year honored with the Emeritus title.

In 1871 the eminent scholar, civilian, and general, Ex-Governor Chamberlain, was chosen to succeed President Harris, and at this time quite a reorganization of the college occurred. A scientific department was established and several new chairs of instruction were founded. George L. Vose, C. E., was elected Professor of Civil Engineering; Edward S. Morse, Ph. D., of Salem, Professor of Comparative Anatomy and Zoology ; Mr. James B. Taylor, Provisional Professor of Elocution and Oratory; the Chair of Latin was separated from that of Greek; and United States officers were brought here by

orders of the government, -Brevet Major J. P. Sanger, Fourth United States Artillery, as Professor of Military Science, and John N. McClintock, class of 1867, of the United States Coast Survey, as instructor in Topographical Engineering.

In 1872, Professor Brackett was made Professor of Chemistry and Physics, and Robert L.. Packard, class of 1868, Assistant Professor of Applied Chemistry, for one year. In 1873, however, Professors Brackett and Goodale resigned, and Henry Carmichael, a graduate of Amherst and of Gottingen, Germany, was elected Professor of Chemistry and Physics, and Doctor Charles A. White, of Iowa, Josiah Little Professor of Natural Science. In the winter of the same year, Professor Rockwood resigned, and Charles H. Smith, a graduate of Yale, was Professor of Mathematics. Doctor White resigned in 1875, and the instruction has since been given by different persons, Professor A. S. Packard, Jr., class of 1861, giving an annual course of lectures on entomology; Mr. George L. Chandler, class of 1868, giving instruction in natural history in 1875-6; and Mr. Leslie A. Lee, a graduate of St. Lawrence University (Canton, N. Y.), class of 1872, in 1876-7.

In connection with the new plan, arrangements were also made for other instruction in various branches, should such be needed. Professor Paul A. Chadbourne was engaged to give the instruction in mental philosophy. Exercise in the gymnasium was made regular and obligatory, and military science and tactics were required to a certain extent, of all not specially excused. Professor Chadbourne was succeeded in 1873 by Reverend E. C. Cummings, and by President Mark Hopkins in 1874. This year, however, the Edward Little Chair of Mental and Moral Philosophy was founded, and President Chamberlain was chosen as professor.

In 1875, Major Sanger's detail expired, and Brevet Captain Louis V. Caziarc, First United States Artillery, was appointed in his place as Professor of Military Science and Tactics. Mr. Charles H. Moore has been instructor in Latin since Professor Chapman's resignation, except one year, when Professor A. H. Davis held the chair provisionally.

Professor Young, having accepted the office of treasurer, relinquished the duties of his chair, and they were performed for one year by Instructor Moore, and since then by Charles E. Springer, class of 1874.

In 1873 the old Commons Hall was remodelled into a laboratory of analytical chemistry, and Mr. F. C. Robinson was chosen instructor

in that department of chemistry. The same year the lower floor of Memorial Hall was fitted up as a gymnasium. Honorable Peleg W. Chandler, of Boston, also, this year, remodelled old Massachusetts Hall into a beautiful room, called the Cleaveland Cabinet, in memory of the late Professor Parker Cleaveland.

A picture gallery has also been finished in the chapel, over the library. Two fine pictures have been added to the panels of the chapel, one given by Mrs. William S. Perry, in memory of her husband, the subject being "The Transfiguration"; the other, "Moses giving the Law," which is the beautiful memento left by the class of 1877. The last makes the seventh of the pictures which have been, from time to time, added to the chapel panels.

Since 1872 over $25,000 have been given the college as scholarships to aid deserving students, and $100,000 towards a general endowment of the college.

Measures have been taken to endow a "Longfellow Professorship of Modern Languages," and a "Cleaveland Professorship of Chemis-try and Mineralogy." Efforts are also being made to add the "Upham Professorship of Mental Philosophy."

Many valuable gifts have been made the college in the way of books and natural-history collections. Especially notable are the collection of Mrs. Frederick Allen, of Gardiner, comprising more than one thousand specimens, including many from Mount Ętna, presented by her daughter, Mrs. Elton, of Boston; the Cushman collection of birds of Maine; and the Blake herbarium.

The whole number of graduates from the college up to 1876 is one thousand eight hundred and eighty-seven. The number of students at present is about one hundred and thirty-seven, and of officers of instruction, fifteen.

The number of volumes in the college library is 17,500; in the medical library, 4,000; in the libraries of the Athenaean and Peucinian Societies, 13,100; and in the Historical Society's library, which is placed in a room of the college chapel, 3,000: making a total of books accessible to the student of 37,600 volumes. Large additions have also been made to the chemical and physical apparatus.

The public buildings of the college are at present:-

MASSACHUSETTS HALL, containing the Cleaveland Cabinet, lecture-room, and treasurer's office.

WINTHROP HALL, containing, on the lower floor, the engineering- rooms and recitation-rooms, the upper floors being used as dormitories.

MAINE HALL, having on the lower floors the

Athenaean and Peucinian Societies' libraries and recitation-rooms; and on the upper floor, dormitories.

APPLETON HALL, containing dormitories.

KING CHAPEL, containing the picture gallery, library-rooms, and Historical Society's rooms.

ADAMS HALL, containing the lecture-rooms of chemistry and physics, and the rooms of the Medical School.

ANALYTICAL LABORATORY and MEMORIAL HALL, containing gymnasium. These buildings, with the exception of Adams Hall and the Analytical Laboratory, will, when the original plan is completed, form a quadrangle, the side towards the public road being open.

The present total estimated value of the college property, real estate and permanent material, is $375,000; the productive funds are $244,000; the total annual income is $30,000.

Besides the three literary societies of the college, already mentioned, it is proper to add that there have been, from time to time, several secret associations formed, which are presumably for literary purposes. The principal ones, if not all, are designated as the Alpha Delta Phi, Delta Kappa Epsilon, Chi Psi, Psi Upsilon, and Theta Delta Chi. The history of these societies is, of course, known only to the initiated.


In 1820 an Act was passed by the legislature, establishing a Medical School, to be connected with Bowdoin College, and also making an annual grant of $1,000, during the pleasure of the legislature, for the promotion of the objects designed in its establishment. Doctor Nathan Smith, a member of several societies, both in this country and in Europe, founder of the Medical School of New Hampshire, and an eminent physician and surgeon, was appointed Professor of the Theory and Practice of Medicine. He also assumed the duties of instructor in anatomy and surgery. He was assisted in the latter branches by Doctor John D. Wells, who had just taken his medical degree at Cambridge. At the close of the first course of lectures, Doctor Wells was chosen to fill the Chair of Anatomy, and immediately sailed for Europe, where he spent nearly two years, preparing himself for the discharge of the duties of his office. After a short but brilliant career as a lecturer at this college, at the Berkshire Medical Institution, and at Baltimore, he died, and was succeeded in 1831 by Doctor Reuben D. Mussey.

In 1825 the Chair of Obstetrics was founded, and

Doctor James McKeen was appointed professor. Doctor McKeen prepared himself for the duties of his office by a preliminary study in the lying-in hospitals of Europe, and served acceptably until 1839, when he resigned, and was succeeded by Ebenezer Wells, M. D., as lecturer.

In 1846 the Chair of Materia Medica and Therapeutics was founded, and Doctor Charles A. Lee was chosen as lecturer, and in 1854 as professor. He resigned in 1859, and was succeeded by Doctor Israel T. Dana as lecturer and afterwards as professor in full. Doctor Thorndike resigned in 1861, and was succeeded by Doctor William C. Robinson.

In 1849 the Chair of Medical Jurisprudence was founded, and Hon-orable John S. Tenney was chosen as lecturer.

In 1857 the Chair of Anatomy was separated from that of Surgery and joined to that of Physiology, and Doctor David S. Conant was elected, at first as lecturer, and afterwards as professor. He was succeeded in 1863 by Doctor Corydon L. Ford. Edmund R. Peaslee, M. D., who had been chosen as Lecturer on Anatomy and Surgery in 1843, and as a professor in these branches in 1845, was in 1857 appointed Professor of Surgery.

From 1820 until his death in 1858, Professor Parker Cleaveland gave an annual course of lectures on chemistry to the medical students.

Under the influence and by the exertions of these gentlemen and their successors, this Medical School has enjoyed a good degree of prosperity. At first, and for many years, the lectures were given, in the upper room of Massachusetts Hall, but in 1861 the Adams Hall was built expressly for the accommodation of this school.

The present accommodations are ample, and the school has a valuable cabinet and an excellent library of choice works and expensive plates. Clinical instruction is given several times a week, and students can have the privilege of occasional visits to the hospitals of Portland at but slight expense.

This school, during the fifty-seven years of its existence, has graduated one thousand one hundred and seventy-four pupils, of whom seventy have been alumni of Bowdoin College. The last class numbered ninety members, and the present number of instructors is ten. The following is a list of the professors and lecturers not already mentioned:-

Of Chemistry, Professors Paul A. Chadbourne, Cyrus F. Brackett, and Henry Carmichael; of Theory and Practice, Henry H. Childs, Daniel Oliver, Professor John De La Mater,

Professor William Sweetzer, William Perry, James McKeen, Israel T. Dana, Professor Alonzo B. Palmer, and Alfred Mitchell, Adjunct Professor; of Anatomy and Surgery, Jedediah Cobb, and Joseph Roby; of Anatomy and Physiology, Professors Thomas T. Sabine and Thomas Dwight; of Anatomy, Professors Thomas Dwight and Stephen H. Weeks; of Physiology, Professors Robert Amory and Burt G. Wilder; of Surgery, Professors Timothy Childs, David S. Conant, and William W. Green; Lecturers, Alpheus B. Crosby and Thomas T. Sabine; of Obstetrics, Benjamin F. Barker, Professor Amos Nourse, Theodore H. Jewett, Professors William C. Robinson, Edward W. Jenks, and Alfred Mitchell; of Materia Medica and Therapeutics, Professors Dana, William C. Robinson, George L. Goodale, and Frederic H. Gerrish; of Medical Jurisprudence, Cyrus F. Brackett, John Appleton, and Professor Charles W. Goddard.

This school has exerted a very marked influence on the interests of medical science, and also upon the general interests of education in the State, and has annually sent forth a corps of physicians qualified not only to cope vigorously with the unseen, though certain foe of the human race, but who have also shown themselves, hitherto, alive to the material welfare and best interests of the State, and have thus far more than repaid the amount expended upon the school by the State.

Wheeler & Wheeler Home About Wheeler & Wheeler Curtis Memorial Library Home
Previous Chapter Table of Contents Next Chapter