Dickinson College History

    Entries drawn from collection & document descriptions

Address from the Third Commencement by Charles Nisbet
June 2, 1789

President Charles Nisbet delivers this address to the third graduating class of Dickinson College at commencement on June 2, 1789. John Young, a member of the Class of 1788, transcribed the address. Transcript included.

Location: SC Vault Nisbet 37

Subject: Dickinson College Events, Dickinson College History, Education

Format: Speeches and Sermons

Time Period: 1780-1799

Address after a “Short Vacation” by Charles Nisbet
November 2, 1789

President Charles Nisbet delivers this address to students on May 13, 1787 after a "short vacation." John Young, a member of the Class of 1788, transcribed the address. Transcript included.

Ledger of John Montgomery, 1798-1808
1798-1808

A description of this ledger is not currently available.

Ledger of John Montgomery, 1803-07
1803-1807

A description of this ledger is not currently available.

Receipt book of John Montgomery
1803-1808

A description of this ledger is not currently available.

Letter from Ralph Bowie to John Montgomery
January 17, 1804

Ralph Bowie writes to John Montgomery, the President of the Board of Trustees of Dickinson College, in an attempt to settle Dr. Charles Nisbet's claims against the College. Transcript included.

Letter from James McKenzie to Charles Nisbet
January 30, 1804

James McKenzie writes a letter to President Charles Nisbet expressing apprehension over a potential invasion of Great Britain by France, and the precautions taken against it. "Our fleets are as formidable as our armies, and watch the motions of the French so closely, that they cannot get out of...

Letter from William Turnbull to Alexander Nisbet
March 19, 1806

William Turnbull writes to Alexander Nisbet inquiring as to whether he had informed a W. Bowie of the particulars of a new account with the Trustees of Dickinson. Turnbull also invites Nisbet to the christening of his son. Transcript included.

"A Sketch of the Rise, Progress, and Present State of Dickinson College in Carlisle," by Anonymous
March 1811

An anonymous author writes this essay on the history of Dickinson College, which is published in The Port Folio, vol. 5 (March 1811): 239-246. This essay is published with B. Tanner's engraving of West College, which was created from a sketch by A. Brackenridge. 

Biographical Manuscript of Thomas Cooper
September 21, 1811

A biographical manuscript of Judge Thomas Cooper, a lecturer at Dickinson College, entitled "Extract of a letter from a gentleman in Carlisle." Composed for the Baltimore Federal Gazette, this manuscript details the judge's pious disposition and the "splendor of his talents." Transcript...

Letter from Charles Penrose to George Wolf
September 6, 1834

Charles B. Penrose, the Secretary of the Board of Trustees, invites Pennsylvania Governor George Wolf to attend the reopening of Dickinson College on September 10, 1834. Transcript included.

"Salutatory Oration: Extent of the Duty of Obedience," by George Coffey
July 9, 1840

George Alexander Coffey prepared this oration, entitled "Salutatory Oration: Extent of the Duty of Obedience," for the commencement ceremonies held July 9, 1840. Authoring an original speech was among the graduation requirements for Dickinson College seniors at that time. Transcript included....

Letter from James Buchanan to John McClintock
July 21, 1842

Senator James Buchanan asks Dickinson College Professor John McClintock to thank the Board of Trustees for granting him an honorary Doctor of Laws. "I feel conscious that I do not deserve so distinguished a literary honor," Buchanan notes. Transcript included.

"Rev. Charles Nisbet, D. D., First President of Dickinson College," by Charles Collins
December 1853

Rev. Charles Collins, the eleventh president of Dickinson College, writes this short biography of Rev. Charles Nisbet, the first president of the College, in 1853.

Charles Collins, "Rev. Charles Nisbet, D. D., First President of Dickinson College," The Ladies Repository 13, no....

Letter from Albert Slape to James Munroe
February 4, 1856

Albert Slape writes to James Munroe with news of the dismissal of four students on the charge of tarring Professor Henry Otis Tiffany's blackboard. Slape mentions that the dismissal of the students resulted in a "rebellion of the students." Slape is a member of the Class of 1858 while Munroe is...

"Dickinson College," by Charles Collins
August 1856

President Charles Collins writes this short history of Dickinson College in 1856.

Charles Collins, "Dickinson College," The Ladies' Repository 16 (August 1856): 449-453.

Letter from Thomas M. Griffith to His Siblings
July 3, 1863

Thomas Miller Griffith writes to his brother and sister and describes the scenes in Carlisle as the Confederates occupied and shelled the town in the days before the Battle of Gettysburg. As the Confederates first approached Carlisle in late June 1863, Griffith recalls the expedited Commencement...

Letter from John K. Stayman to Edgar E. Hastings
August 13, 1863

John Keagy Stayman questions Edgar E. Hastings as to when the draft will be lifted from Cumberland County, as he is “considered by Uncle Sam a ‘first class man’.” He also asks whether or not Dickinson College is still being used as a hospital, and hopes that it will quickly be vacated so that...

Letter from James Buchanan to Herman Johnson
November 11, 1863

Former President James Buchanan writes to Dickinson College President Herman Johnson Merrills with information on several alumni, including William Speer (Class of 1788), Jesse Magaw (Class of 1806), and Buchanan's brother George Buchanan (Class of 1805). James Buchanan is a member of the Class...

"Dickinson College and Its Alumni," by Anonymous
1866

A speech about the history of Dickinson College written by an anonymous author for a reunion of Dickinson alumni in 1866. Transcript included.

Location: I-Original-1866-2

Subject: Dickinson College Alumni Affairs, Dickinson College History, Education

Format: Speeches and Sermons

Time Period: 1860-1879

"Dickinson College: An Historical Sketch," by William Allen
April 6, 1875

Professor William Henry Allen delivers a speech, "Dickinson College: An Historical Sketch," about the first 90 years of  the College's history to the Philadelphia Conference Historical Society. The Dickinsonian publishes Allen's speech in the April 6, 1875 issue. Transcript included....

Location: Dickinsoniana Periodicals

Subject: Dickinson College Academic Affairs, Dickinson College History, Education

Format: Newspapers and Magazines

Time Period: 1860-1879

"A Sketch of Dickinson College," by Charles F. Himes
1879

Publisher: Harrisburg: Lane's Hart

In this first comprehensive history of the school, Charles F. Himes details the first century of Dickinson College, giving the science program particular attention. Himes, a member of the Class of 1855, works as a science Professor at...

"John Dickinson," by Frank G. Graham
June 28, 1883

Frank G. Graham prepared this oration, entitled “John Dickinson," for the commencement ceremonies held June 28, 1883. Authoring an original speech was among the graduation requirements for Dickinson College seniors at that time. Transcript included.

Location: Orations-1883-G738jX

Subject: Dickinson College History, Education, Politics and Government

Format: Speeches and Sermons

Time Period: 1880-1899

"Jacob Tome Scientific Building," by Charles F. Himes
June 24, 1885

Natural Science Professor Charles F. Himes (Class of 1855) delievers this address at the opening of the Jacob Tome Scientific Building at Dickinson College on June 24, 1885.

"Twenty-Five Years After: Quarto-Centennial of the Class of '70,"  by Charles Biggs
June 1895

Charles Granville Biggs recounts the Quarto-Centennial reunion of the Class of 1870 after commencement in June 1895. "Although we graduated only sixteen members," Biggs notes that "thirteen were present on this auspicious occasion." Biggs explains their shared comradery and describes the events...

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