Danville Theological Seminary ,1853-1910

Abstract

This small collection contains items and volumes retained largely as supplemental records, or examples of materials generated by the seminary while in Danville. Danville Seminary opened in October 1853 and thrived until events from the Civil War and its aftermath affected the young institution from which it never really recovered. Danville Theological Seminary merged with Louisville Presbyterian Seminary in 1901. The consolidated institution was renamed Presbyterian Theological Seminary of Kentucky, and later the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Danville Theological Seminary ,1853-1910
Creator
Danville Theological Seminary
Extent
0.5 linear feet, 7 folders, 2 volumes
Subjects
Danville Theological Seminary (Danville, KY)
Presbyterian Theological Seminary (Louisville, KY)
Presbyterian Theological Seminary--Kentucky--Danville
Finding Aid Author
Processed by: Processed by; machine-readable finding aid created by: Thomas Enneking
Repository
Centre College

Collection Overview

Biography / History
The Presbyterians in Kentucky had long wished to establish a theological seminary, indeed for years there weretwo separate theological funds at Centre and the Synod of Kentucky. There had been one brief, unsuccessfulattempt to establish such an institution at Centre in 1828, but the venture lasted only one year. The fact thatDanville eventually won the competition for a seminary was due in large part to the effort of Dr. Robert J.Breckinridge. Breckinridge and supporters faced formidable competition for there was already a seminary inNew Albany, Indiana, and bids had also been submitted from Peoria, Illinois, St. Louis, Nashville, andCincinnati. Danville was aided in the cause by the fact that Centre President John C. Young was serving asmoderator of the General Assembly, and Young proceeded to appoint Breckinridge to the committee assignedto determine a location. The Synod of Kentucky made Danville even more attractive by offering to raise$60,000 for the endowment of three chairs and to furnish ten acres of land.
Danville won the competition, and the seminary opened in October 1853 with a faculty of Dr. Robert J.Breckinridge, Dr. Edward P. Humphrey, and Rev. Joseph G. Reasor. Rev. Stuart Robinson served from 1856to 1858, while Rev. Stephen Yerkes, elected in 1857, served until his death in 1886. In all, 16 professors servedthe seminary, and 396 students matriculated at the institution.
For the first eight years the seminary prospered and showed great promise with suitable endowments and anaverage attendance for 40 students, but the Civil War and its aftermath dealt the young institution a blow fromwhich it never really recovered. The Presbyterian Church in Kentucky split, with Southern students drifting of toother seminaries. Lane Seminary in Cincinnati provided direct competition, and the seminary's guiding light,Dr. Robert J. Breckinridge, resigned in 1869 due to failing health.
By 1883 the entire faculty had departed with the exception of Rev. Stephen Yerkes, and seminary work wasvirtually suspended. Extinction was averted only when members of the Centre faculty, including PresidentOrmand Beatty and Vice-President John L. McKee, agreed to teach in the seminary. Several attempts hadbeen made to reunite the Northern and Southern branches of the church in joint administration of the seminary,the most notable being in 1883, but it was not until 1901 that the Danville Theological Seminary merged with theLouisville Presbyterian Seminary, founded in Louisville in 1883. The consolidated institution was known as thePresbyterian Theological Seminary of Kentucky, and then later as the Louisville Presbyterian TheologicalSeminary.
Originally housed in Old Centre, the seminary moved into a large building in Constitution Square in 1854. Asthe seminary and the College solidified their ties, the College allowed many seminarians to use Collegefacilities. In 1892 the seminary completed Breckinridge Hall as a dormitory for its students, but never used morethan a fraction of its rooms. When the seminary left Danville, Centre occupied the hall.
Scope and Content
This small collection contains few items of interest to those seriously researching the Danville TheologicalSeminary. The few items and volumes retained have been saved largely as supplemental records, or examplesof materials generated by the seminary while in Danville. Researchers should consult the catalogs andpublications of the Danville Theological Seminary as well as assorted publications of the Louisville PresbyterianTheological Seminary in CC-22, Publications.
All relevant primary records of the Danville Theological Seminary may be located in the collections of theLouisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

Contents of the Collection

Series A: Miscellaneous papers

This series contains primarily miscellaneous papers concerning Danville Theological Seminary, particularly the consolidation of the Danville and Louisville seminaries, as well as the construction of Breckinridge Hall on Danville's campus.

Miscellaneous papers. 1854-1910.

  • Folder 1
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Miscellaneous financial statements. 1854-1910.

  • Folder 2
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Miscellaneous sample invoices for Breckinridge Hall. 1891-1892

  • Folder 3
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Miscellaneous estimates submitted during the building of Breckinridge Hall. August 1890

  • Folder 4
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Specifications for a proposed "library and dormitory" for the seminary (Breckinridge Hall). August…

  • Folder 5
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Series B: Miscellaneous volumes, Financial records

This series contains a cashbook with lists of contributors, and a daybook, with a financial report to the board of trustees.

Cash book. 1854-1872.

  • Volume 1
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Day book. 1864-1876.

  • Volume 2
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Series C: Inaugural addresses and programs

This series contains addresses and speeches of numerous professors who taught at Danville Thological Seminary.

"Addresses delivered at the inauguration of the Professors in the Danville Seminary." Contains…

  • Folder 1
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"Addresses delivered at the inauguration of Rev. Jonathan Edwards ... as Professor of Didactic and…

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"Danville Theological Seminary. Inaugural services of John M. Worroll as Professor of Ecclesiastical…

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"Inauguration of the Rev. Claude B. H. Martin as Professor of Systematic Theology in the Danville…

  • Folder 2
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