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Early Presidents Collection

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Early Presidents Collection, 1846-1995 | Lawrence University Archives

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Collection Overview

Title: Early Presidents Collection, 1846-1995View associated digital content.

ID: LU-RG03/002

Primary Creator: Office of the President

Other Creators: Cooke, Edward (1812-1888), Gallagher, Charles Wesley (1846-1916), Huntley, Elias DeWitt (1840-1909), Mason, Russell Zelotes (1819-1907), Raymond, Bradford Paul (1846-1916), Sampson, William Harkness (1808-1902), Steele, G. M. (George McKendree) (1823-1902)

Extent: 0.4 Linear Feet

Arrangement: Materials are arranged chronologically by the years of each individuals’ presidency.

Subjects: Education, Higher -- Administration, Founding of Lawrence University, United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865

Forms of Material: correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographic prints

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

This collection is composed of records documenting the first seven presidents of Lawrence University: William Sampson (1849-1853), Edward Cooke (1853-1859), Russell Mason (1859-1865), George Steele (1865-1879), Elias Huntley (1879-1883), Bradford Raymond (1883-1889), and Charles Gallagher (1889-1893). Materials consist primarily of articles, correspondence, and photographs.

Collection Historical Note

William Harkness Sampson (1808-1902) was Principal and the primary financial agent of Lawrence University from the beginning of classes in 1849 until1853, during the time that the institution operated only as a preparatory school. He came to the Wisconsin Territory in 1842, where he worked as a Methodist minister. He was named Presiding Elder of the Green Bay Mission District in 1844. While serving in this position, he was approached by Amos Lawrence’s agents and became involved in the founding of Lawrence Institute. Following his resignation as principal and agent in 1853, he was a faculty member for several years longer and also served on the Board of Trustees until 1884.

Edward Cooke (1812-1888) served as the first President of Lawrence University from 1853 to 1859. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 1838 and worked as a professor and pastor in New England before coming to Wisconsin. As President, he presided over the establishment of the collegiate department as well as the building of Main Hall in 1853-1854. After leaving Lawrence, he went on to serve as the head of three other institutions: Wilbraham Academy, Claflin University, and the South Carolina Agricultural College.

Russell Zelotes Mason (1819-1907) served as President from 1859 to 1865. He was a Wesleyan University graduate and professor of mathematics and science before he was appointed President. He presided over the university during the years of the Civil War. After resigning as President, he became involved in a variety of business pursuits, while serving on the Board of Trustees until 1880.

George McKendree Steele (1823-1902) served as Lawrence president from 1865-1879. During those years, he was highly praised as a teacher by students and alumni. The later years of his presidency were colored by severe financial problems for the institution. After leaving Lawrence, he served as Principal of Wilbraham Academy for thirteen years and then as Assistant Principal at Lasell Academy for three years.

Elias DeWitt Huntley (1840-1909) was president from 1879-1883. He had served as presiding elder of the Madison district of the Wisconsin Conference prior to coming to Lawrence. He succeeded in improving the college’s financial situation, but he was generally disliked by the students as a strict disciplinarian. After leaving Lawrence, Huntley continued working as a pastor. His ministry included a stint as Chaplain of the U.S. Senate from 1883 to 1886.

Bradford Paul Raymond (1846-1916) graduated from Lawrence in 1871 and served as President from 1883 to 1889. After leaving Lawrence, he served as president of Wesleyan University for nineteen years.

Charles Wesley Gallagher (1846-1916) was President from 1889 to 1893. He graduated from Wesleyan University and served as a minister in Rhode Island before coming to Lawrence. After leaving Lawrence, he held a number of other positions in Methodist institutions on the east coast.

For more information, see: W.F. Raney, The History of Lawrence University, 1847-1925

Subject/Index Terms

Education, Higher -- Administration
Founding of Lawrence University
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865

Administrative Information

Repository: Lawrence University Archives

Access Restrictions: Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions: Property rights reside with Lawrence University.  For permissions to reproduce or to publish, please contact the University Archivist.

Acquisition Method: Files were removed from the vertical file collection and turned into an artificial collection prior to 2011.

Preferred Citation: Lawrence University Early Presidents Collection.  LU-RG03-002.  University Archives, Seeley G. Mudd Library, Lawrence University, Appleton, Wisconsin.

Processing Information: Preliminary processing completed prior to 2011, date and processor unknown. Final processing and finding aid completed by Erin Dix, 2011.


Box and Folder Listing


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Box 1
Series 1: 1849-1853: William Harkness Sampson
Folder 1: Articles and biographical information, 1916-1995
Folder 2: Autobiography, circa 1880View associated digital content.
In this bound volume, the first 31 pages contain records of the Wisconsin Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church Centenary Committee, for which Sampson served as secretary in 1865. He used pages 50 through 109 for recording his autobiography.
Folder 3: “Brief Sketches of the Early History of Lawrence University,”, circa 1865-1880View associated digital content.
Folder 4: Correspondence between Nathan Pusey and Sampson family, 1950
Folder 5: “History of Early Movements in Founding Lawrence University,”, undated
Folder 6: Letter from H. Eugene Eastman, 1846
Folder 7: Photographs, c. 1860View associated digital content.
Series 2: 1853-1859: Edward Cooke
Folder 7: Articles and photographs, 1860-1962View associated digital content.
Folder 8: Correspondence received from William Claflin, 1854-1859
Folder 9: Letter about John H. Conrad, 1858
Series 3: 1859-1865: Russell Zelotes Mason
Folder 10: Articles and biographical information, 1846-1962
Folder 11: Correspondence received, 1862-1863
Folder 12: Photographs, undatedView associated digital content.
Folder Oversized: Register of Meteorological Observations by R. Z. Mason, 1862
Stored with oversized materials.
Series 4: 1865-1879: George McKendree Steele
Folder 13: Articles and biographical information, 1904-1979
Folder 14: Correspondence and receipts, 1866-1880
Folder 15: Letter from the Secretary of the Interior regarding “the education of Indian children", 1879
Folder 16: Photographs, undatedView associated digital content.
Folder 17: Receipts from government funds, 1870-1876
Folder 18: Writings, 1876-1883
Folder Oversized: Portrait, undated
Stored with oversized materials.
Series 5: 1879-1883: Elias DeWitt Huntley
Folder 19: Article, 1962, and Photographs, undatedView associated digital content.
Series 6: 1883-1889: Bradford Raymond
Folder 20: Articles and biographical information, 1887-1988
Folder 21: Correspondence, 1888-1913
Folder 22: Photographs, undatedView associated digital content.
Series 7: 1889-1893: Charles Gallagher
Folder 23: Articles and biographical information, 1905-1962
Folder 24: Photographs, undatedView associated digital content.
Folder 25: Writings, undated

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