Central University Records Collection,1873-1901
- Central University Records Collection,1873-1901
- Central University, 1874-1901
- 3.15 cubic feet, 5,250 items, 7 Boxes, 3 reels of microfilm
- Eastern Kentucky University
- Biography / History
- Central University was founded as the result of a split of the Presbyterian Church in Kentucky into Northern and Southern branches. While the Presbyterian Church had split into two branches in 1861, principally over the issue of slavery, the Church did not split in Kentucky until 1867. The branches both claimed control of Centre College in Danville, and it finally took a Federal court in 1871 to determine that the Northern branch controlled the institution. A group of concerned members of the Southern Synod met in 1872 and formed the Alumni Association of Central University Members included Alumni of Centre College as well as other prominent leaders of the movement. The Alumni Association offered to cooperate with the Synod in establishing a university.
- At a meeting of the Alumni Association in Louisville, in February, 1873, an effort to provide synodic control of the University was defeated. Central University received a charter from the State Legislature on March 3,1873. The charter placed the government of the University in the hands of those who had endowed it and who would later become its graduates and whom the Alumni Association might thereafter elect.
- The Association called for an endowment of $150,000 but received pledges for $220,000. Anchorage, Kentucky was selected as the site for the University, but when the citizens of Richmond and Madison County pledged $101,000, the school opened there on September 22, 1874 with a total of 224 students and one newly built classroom building. The original college organization consisted of a College of Letters and Science, a College of Law, and a Preparatory Department in Richmond, and a College of Medicine, in Louisville.
- In 1886 a College of Dentistry was opened in Louisville. And in the1890s three associated institutions opened: Jackson (S. P. Lees) Collegiate Institute (1890) in Breathitt County, Hardin Collegiate Institute (1892) in Elizabethtown, and Middlesboro Collegiate Institute (1896).
- The Alumni Association appointed the Board of Curators, which served as the trustees. Eventually, in 1884 the Southern Synod took over direct control of appointing the Board of Curators in exchange for the Church's financial support. The University itself was headed by a chancellor. Robert Levi Breck served in that capacity from 1874 to 1880. He was succeeded by Lindsay Huges Blanton, who served until the consolidation with Centre College in 1901.
- Almost from the outset, Central University had financial problems. The original endowment was in promissory notes and pledges, a large number of which went uncollected due to the Panic of 1873. Another important endowment drive was hampered by the Panic of 1893. Enrollment was also a problem. It dropped every year of Brecks chancellorship, and the school never graduated a class larger than 25. The University itself became co-educational in the 1890s, with women first graduating in 1896. However, the enrollment and financial problems led directly to the consolidation with Centre College. Prominent Madison Countians bitterly fought the consolidationists, but were outvoted. Finally on July 16, 1901 the merger between the schools took place. The new institution would be located in Danville and known as the Central University of Kentucky. An act of the State Legislature in 1918 changed the name back to the Centre College of Kentucky.
- Scope and Content
- Eastern Kentucky University has been interested in the history of Central University for a number of years. Although Central University consolidated with Centre College at Danville in 1901 and ceased to exist in Richmond, several of her influential graduates from Madison County desired to continue higher education activities at Richmond. They vigorously pushed for the Kentucky General Assembly's passage of the Normal School enabling legislationin 1906. These citizens also were directly instrumental in Richmond and the physical plant of Central University being selected as the site for one of the recently approved state normal schools. Therefore, Eastern Kentucky University's heritage can rightfully be traced back to 1873 and the establishment of Central University.
- Eastern Professor of History Jonathan Truman Dorris devoted considerable time to locating any information he could secure on Central University while researching and writing the history of Eastern. In 1934 he published an article in the Register of the Kentucky Historical Society on the history of old Central. Dorris collected numerous documents on Central University through the years and donated many of them to the Crabbe Library. He also had permission from Centre College officials to copy the minutes from the Board of Curators of Central University.
- Interest in Central University's history was revived again in 1974 when Eastern celebrated the centennial year of higher education in Richmond. By1977 the newly created University Archives began gathering documents on Central University. The Archives copied all existing Central University records in the Crabbe Library and received donations of several previously unknown University publications. In 1979 the Archivist contacted Centre College librarian, Mr. John May, and inspected their archives files for documents on Central University. Unfortunately, the archives were not organized, but the Archivist uncovered a number of documents that were not in Eastern's archives. Permission was granted to copy those records. Several years later Centre received a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission to process and catalog all of its archival records. Mr. John Le Doux, project archivist, processed the archives and graciously permitted Eastern to photocopy or microfilm any newly uncovered Central University materials. A special thanks must be extended to Mr. Stan Campbell, Director of Doherty Library at Centre, and his assistant, Mr. Robert Glass, for being so cooperative during the entire project.
- The records of Central University help to document in part the turbulent post-Civil War era in Kentucky educational and religious history. Since the bulk of the collection had no organization, the Archives imposed its own pattern of arrangement. Unfortunately, for the researcher there are numerous gaps in the records. Actions taken by the University's governing bodies, theAlumni Association and Board of Curators, are completely documented in their minutes of meetings. Also, the information on the University's official history can be gleaned from a fine set of publications - the catalogs and yearbooks. However, the records from the office of the chief executive officer, the Chancellor, are very incomplete. Hardly any documents from Chancellor Breck's administration have survived, and only the latter years of Chancellor Blanton's tenure are adequately documented, especially the Robb cheating controversy case.
- Note: Townsend Collection has a small Central University Collection of misc. items including account books, literary society minutes, and other records. Call No. is LD 881 .R42 A310.
Contents of the Collection
Alumni Association Series
Minutes of Meetings - April 29, 1973 - June 19, 1901
Miscellaneous Materials - 1880 - 1901
Associated Institutions Series
College of Law - 1900
College of Medicine and Dentistry - 1900-1901
Hardin Collegiate Institute - 1899-1901
S. P. Lee's (Jackson) Collegiate Institute - 1892-1901.
Middlesboro Collegiate Institute - 1896-1900.
Board of Curators Series
Minutes of Meetings - May 28, 1873 - July 3, 1901.
General Correspondence and Speeches - 1878-1889
General Correspondence and Speeches - 1890-1898
General Correspondence and Speeches - 1899
General Correspondence and Speeches - 1900-1904
General Correspondence and Speeches - Speeches by L. H. Blanton
Robb Case - 1898-1899
Consolidation with Centre College Series
1883 - 1901
Account Books - Tuition - 1885
Account Books - Tuition - 1895-1896
Donation and Subscription Lists - 1873-1900
Ledgers - General - 1880-1883
Ledgers - General - 1883
Ledgers - General - 1895-1896
Ledgers - General - 1897-1898 (Folder 1)
Ledgers - General - 1897-1898 (Folder 2)
Ledgers - General - 1898-1899
Ledgers - General - 1899-1900
Ledgers - General - 1899-1900
Ledgers - General - 1900
Ledgers - Student Accounts - 1874-1884
Historical and Biographical Series
Biographical Information On: Lindsay Hughes Blanton, Elizabeth Blanton, Dr. Joseph Blanton, Ethel…
Historical Articles on Central University by J. T. Dorris and Fred A. Engle, Jr.
List of Central University Board of Trustees and Curators, Professors, and Honorary Degree…
Newspaper Articles and General Articles on Central University, including historical data written by…
Ms. S. Russell Letcher - First Woman to Secure a Degree - June, 1894.
Philip Foster Barbour - Class of 1884.
Thomas F. Booker and Clarence E. Woods - 1892 at St. Louis meeting of Sigma Nu fraternity.
Walter Bukey - Class of 1884.
Owen Wynn Butler - Class of 1885.
Charles G. Crooks - Class of 1884.
R. Tate Irvine - Class of 1884.
Orville A. Kennedy - Class of 1884.
Charles Hugh Rice McElroy - Class of 1884.
Robert Lee Mariman - Class of 1884.
James Simpson - Class of 1885.
Graham Smith - Class of 1884.
William Ramsom Welch - Class of 1884
Unknown - Class of 1884.
T.S. Wittmeier - Class of 1900.
Central University Faculty - 1880.
The Atlantis - June 1886, April 1887, Oct, Nov, & Dec 1887.
The Atlantis - January, February, March, May, Oct., Nov., 1888.
The Atlantis - January, February, October, November, December, 1889.
The Atlantis - January, February, March, April 1890.
The Atlantis - June 1894, February 1896, November 1898, December 1898.
Catalog - 1874-1875.
Catalog - 1875-1876.
Catalog - 1876-1877
Catalog - 1877-1878
Catalog - 1878-1879.
Catalog - 1880-1881.
Catalog - 1881-1882.
Catalog - 1882-1883.
Catalog - 1883-1884.
Catalog - 1884-1885
Catalog - 1885-1886
Catalog - 1886-1887.
Catalog - 1887-1888.
Catalog - 1888-1889
Catalog - 1889-1890
Catalog - 1890-1891
Catalog - 1891-1892
Catalog - 1892-1893.
Catalog - 1893-1894.
Catalog - 1894-1895.
Catalog - 1895-1896.
Catalog - 1896-1897.
Catalog - 1896-1897.
Catalog - 1898-1899.
Catalog - 1902-1903.
Yearbooks - Cream and Crimson - Vol.1 1895.
Yearbooks - Cream and Crimson - Vol. IV 1898.
Yearbooks - Cream and Crimson - Vol. IV 1898.
Yearbooks - Cream and Crimson - Vol. V 1900.
Yearbooks - Cream and Crimson - Vol. VI 1901
Property Transfer of S. R. Smith to R. W. Millsaps - January 27, 1886.
Power of Attorney for L. H. Blanton in Estate of William McKinnon - November 5, 1886.
S. W. Evans Contract - May 3, 1887
Property Transfer from Jack Desha to Central Univ. - Feb. 23, 1892.
Rental of Coal and Warehouse Facilities by Central Univ. Jan. 1, 1900.
Contract Between James L. Engleman and Central Univ. - Aug. 20, 1900.
Petition of Equity to Restrain Consolidation of Central College & Central University. Re: Rebecca…
Class Register - 1874-1901 (on microfilm)
List of Students Graduating from Central University - 1874-1901
List of Non-Graduating Students from Central University - 1875-1902.
Fraternities - Theta Nu Epsilon Charter - April 25, 1898.
Fraternity History. Literary Societies - 1887-1890
Miscellaneous Materials - 1892-1900
Ms. S. Russell Letcher - First Woman to Secure a Degree - June, 1894
Table of Contents
- Descriptive Summary
- Collection Overview
- Preferred Citation
- Contents of the Collection