From the "Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois", 1901

©Transcribed by Kim Torp

University of Chicago

One of the leading educational institutions of the country, located at Chicago. It is the outgrowth of an attempt, put forth by the American Educational Society (organized at Washington in 1888), to supply the place which the original institution of the same name had been designed to fill (See University of Chicago - The Old). The following year, Mr. John D. Rockefeller of New York tendered a contribution of $600,000 toward the endowment of the enterprise, conditioned upon securing additional pledges to the amount of $400,000 by June 1, 1890. The offer was accepted, and the sum promptly raised. In addition, a site, covering four blocks of land in the city of Chicago, was secured - two and one-half blocks being acquired by purchase for $282,500, and one and one-half (valued at $125,000) donated by Mr. Marshall Field. A charter was secured and an organization effected, Sept. 10, 1890. The Presidency of the institution was tendered to, and accepted by, Dr. William R. Harper. Since that time the University has been the recipient of other generous benefactions by Mr. Rockefeller and others, until the aggregate donations (1898) exceed $10,000,000. Of this amount over one-half has been contributed by Mr. Rockefeller, while he has pledged himself to make additional contributions of $2,000,000, conditioned upon the raising of a like sum, from other donors, by Jan. 1, 1900. The buildings erected on the campus, prior to 1896, include a chemical laboratory costing $182,000; a lecture hall, $150,000; a physical laboratory $150,000; an academy dormitory, $30,000; three dormitories for women, $150,000; two dormitories for men, $100,000, to which several important additions were made during 1896 and '97. The faculty embraces over 150 instructors, selected with reference to their fitness for their respective departments from among the most eminent scholars in America and Europe. Women are admitted as students and graduated upon an equality with men. The work of practical instruction began in October, 1892, with 589 registered students, coming from nearly every Northern State, and including 250 graduates from other institutions, to which accession were made, during the year, raising the aggregate to over 900. The second year the number exceeded 1,100; the third, it rose to 1,750, and the fourth (1895-96) to some 2,000, including representatives from every State of the Union, besides many from foreign countries. Special features of the institution include the admission of graduates from other institutions to a post-graduate course, and the University Extension Division, which is conducted largely by means of lecture courses, in other cities, or through lecture centers in the vicinity of the University, non-resident students having the privilege of written examinations. The various libraries embrace over 300,000 volumes, of which nearly 60,000 belong to what are called the "Departmental Libraries," besides a large and valuable collection of maps and pamphlets.

The following is from the "Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois", 1901
- ©Transcribed by Kim Torp:

, an educational institution at Chicago, under the care of the Baptist denomination, for some years known as the Douglas University. Senator Stephen A. Douglas offered, in 1853, to donate ten acres of land, in what was then near the southern border of the city of Chicago, as a site for an institution of learning, provided buildings costing $100,000, be erected thereon within a stipulated time. The corner-stone of the main building was laid, July 4, 1857, but the financial panic of that year prevented its completion, and Mr. Douglas extended the time, and finally deeded the land to the trustees without reserve. For 18 years the institution led a precarious existence, struggling under a heavy debt. By 1885, mortgages to the amount of $320,000 having accumulated, the trustees abandoned further effort, and acquiesced in the sale of the property under foreclosure proceedings. The original plan of the institution contemplated preparatory and collegiate departments, together with a college of law and a theological school.

[The following story is from the Illinois State Historical Society Journal, pre-1920:]

The Old University of Chicago in 1867
Originally written by Edgar J. Goodspeed
Transcribed by K. Torp

The founding of the first University of Chicago was largely due to the liberality of the Honorable Stephen A. Douglas. Judge Douglas had already taken an active interest in establishing a college in Chicago, when in 1855 he was approached by a group of citizens, who presented the project in a somewhat definite form. In cooperation with them, Judge Douglas gave the new institution ten acres of ground in "Cottage Grove," at the corner of Cottage Grove avenue and 34th street, a stone's throw from the spot where the Douglas Monument now stands. A building of white limestone was built upon this site in 1857-8 and in this the work of the new institution was carried on for 7 years. In 1865 a large central building was erected, from designs by W.W. Boyington, and this was named Douglas Hall, the older wing being called Jones Hall, after William Jones, a leading citizen and generous patron of the institution, long chairman of its executive committee, but best known to the present generation as the father of Fernando Jones. The work of instruction began in 1857, and the first catalogue was issued in 1860. It shows twenty students in the college, 48 in the law department, and 100 in the academy. Those were days of educational beginnings about Chicago; Northwestern University was founded in 1855 and Lake Forest in 1858.

The death of Senator Douglas on June 3, 1861, deprived the University of its chief patron. A meeting of the trustees, regents, and professors was immediately held and it was voted that the members of the University attend his funeral in a body and that the University buildings be draped in mourning. Mr. Hoyne on this occasion declared that the University was Senator Douglas' noblest and most lasting monument. The private history of the establishment of the institution will shed more honor upon the motives, intellect and heart of Judge Douglas than any success achieved in his public career, however brilliant. "His ashes are to repose beneath the shadow of the towers of the University" Mr. Hoyne's speech was published in full in the Chicago Tribune of the following day, where it may still be read.

The catalogue of 1865-6 is the first to announce the facilities of the Dearborn Observatory with what was then the largest refractor telescope in the world, as forming part of its equipment. This observatory was built adjoining Douglas Hall, through the liberality of the Hon. J.Y. Scammon, from the first one of the regents of the University and always closely identified with its work. The observatory was named in honor of Mr. Scammon's first wife, who was a member of that historic family from which Fort Dearborn and Dearborn street took their names.

This stately group of buildings - Jones Hall, the Dearborn Observatory and Douglas Hall, with its monumental tower - had only recently been fully completed and occupied, when in May 1867, the national missionary and publication societies of the Baptist Churches of the north held their annual meeting in Chicago. In a body they visited the University on May 30, and a photograph was taken of the delegates and guests of the occasion, gathered in front of the University buildings. Leading citizens of Chicago and prominent Baptists from all over the north gather on the wooden sidewalk on Cottage Grove avenue and are shown in the photograph in the characteristic costumes of nearly fifty years ago. The picture here reproduced was given to my father, Thomas W. Goodspeed, then of Quincy, Ill. by Kiler K. Jones of Quincy, a brother of Fernando Jones, in 1867. Mr. Goodspeed had been a member of the first freshmen class of the University; and as orderly of the Student Military Company, led that body when, in June 1861, it acted as guard of honor at the funeral of Senator Douglas.

University of Chicago in 1867

I am indebted principally to my father who was present when the photograph was taken, for the following identifications of leading clergymen and citizens who appear in the picture. It will be seen that the group of men seated most prominently in the foreground are trustees of the University, while a few leading professors are standing just behind them.

1. Rev. S. Dryden Phelps, the hymn writer.
2. Rev. G.S. Bailey, D.D.
3. Rev. I. Fargo, Galesburg
4. Rev. Edgar J. Goodspeed, D.D., pastor of the Second Baptist Church, Chicago; a trustee (Died 1881)
5. Dr. Levi D. Boone, once mayor of Chicago; a trustee
6. Hon. J.Y. Scammon; a trustee
7. Samuel Hoard, once postmaster of Chicago; a trustee
8. Hon. Thomas Hoyne, LL.D.; a trustee
11. Rev. William Hague, D.D., Boston, appears standing just behind Dr. Boone
12. Rev. Reuben Jeffery, D.D., Cincinnati; afterwards a trustee. He is seen standing t Dr. Burroughs' right.
13. Rev. J.C. Burroughs, D.D., first president of the old University. Appears standing just behind Mr. Scammon.
14. Rev. Nathaniel Colver, D.D., first professor theology, may be seen standing just behind Dr. William Hague.
15. The man seated between (2) and (3) (Dr. Bailey and Mr. Fargo) and leaning forward, is believed to be U.S. Senator Lyman Trumbull, a trustee.
16. The lady at Dr. Phelps; left is thought to be Mrs. Phelps.

The men on either side of Dr. Boone are probably trustees, like the others with whom they are seated, but I have not been able to identify them. It would be interesting if William Jones (who died not long after or William B. Ogden could be recognized in the picture.

In 1875 Rush Medical College, the oldest medical school in the west, became the medical department of the University. In the same year women, who, from the first had been allowed to attend classes in the University informally, with no recognized status and without receiving degrees, were admitted to the institution on the same terms with men. Senator Douglas was succeeded as present of the trustees by William B. Ogden, the first mayor of Chicago, and upon his death, in 1877-8, N.K. Fairbank was elected. The management of the University's affairs was in the hands of a board of trustees, a board of regents and an executive board, while the law department had its board of counselors. The law department was from the first in the charge of Henry Booth. In 1873 it became the Union College of Law, its control being shared with Northwestern University, of which it still forms the law school.

In 1886 the old University closed its doors, overwhelmed with debt, primarily incurred through the erection of the costly building shown in the picture, to pay for which the whole property had been heavily mortgaged. The present writer was one of the last students to attend classes in the spacious old building, where men like Edward Olson (afterwards president of the University of South Dakota), Lewis Stuart, Alonzo J. Howe, Nathaniel Butler (afterwards president of Colby University), J.D.S. Riggs (now president of Shurtleff College) and Galusha Anderson (afterwards president of Denison University) were heroically at work. Soon after, the insurance company, which had taken the property under a mortgage, had the old building torn down, a street cut through from east to west where the tower had stood, and residences erected, so that no trace of the buildings now remains. The Dearborn Observatory was also torn down, the large telescope which it contained being removed to the campus of the Northwestern University at Evanston.

The connection of Senator Douglas and of Mr. Scammon with the Old University has recently been recognized by the University of Chicago through the erection of bronze tablets on the walls of Scammon Court and of the cloister leading to Mandel Hall. The Douglas tablet bears a portrait of Senator Douglas in low relief and this inscription


Mr. Ogden's name, too, is perpetuated at the University of Chicago. The Ogden Graduate School of Science bears it, in recognition of a grant of more than half a million dollars made to the University, under the terms of his will, by his heirs and executors.

The School of Education of the University of Chicago occupies the block at the north end of which stood the large rambling old house in which Mr. and Mrs. Scammon spent their last years. Their names are beautifully perpetuated at the University in Scammon Court, the large quadrangle of the School of Education, enclosed between Emmons Blaine Hall and Belfield Hall. Two tablets set in the north walls of the Blaine Hall bear this inscription:


To the north of Belfield Hall lies Scammon Garden, with the trees and shrubbery with which Mr. Scammon had surrounded his house, and here on summer nights Shakespeare's plays are given, with no scenery but the maple trees and lilac hedges which this generous friend of the Old University had indirectly bequeathed to the new.

The University of Chicago.

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