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The Encyclopedia includes entries about important people, places, and organizations in Dickinson College history. Search or browse through the Encyclopedia here.

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James Herbert Dieffenderfer (1923-1945)

James Dieffenderfer was a native of Easton, Pennsylvania and graduated from Wilson High School in 1941. He entered Dickinson in the autumn of 1941 and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1942. He was a participant in the unprecedented...

College Relationship: Alumnus/Alumna
Year: Class of 1944
Paul Herbert Doney

Paul Herbert Doney was born in Columbus, Ohio on July 10, 1900. His father was the head of Willamette University, from which Paul graduated in 1920. He took a second A.B. degree from Wesleyan University in Connecticut and then gained a S.T.B....

College Relationship: Faculty
Philip W. Downes, 1858

Philip W. Downes was the eldest son of William H. Downes and his wife Annie Hardcastle Downes and was born in Caroline County, Maryland in 1837. When he was ten, his father was elected as a Maryland state delegate. The younger Downes entered...

College Relationship: Alumnus/Alumna
Year: Class of 1858
Joseph Clarence Doyle

A native of Butler, Pennsylvania and a graduate of the class of 1961, Joe Doyle was a member of Phi Kappa Psi, the vice president of the Young Democrats, and took part in the Freshmen Plays. He was a Cadet First Lieutenant of Company D of the R.O...

College Relationship: Alumnus/Alumna
Year: Class of 1961
Students outside Drayer Hall, c.1965

Drayer Hall was the first residence hall in Dickinson’s history built by the College solely for women. It was also the first new building constructed on the Benjamin Rush campus, a twelve-acre tract which had been acquired from the Moore Estate...

Sumner Drayer standing beside President Edel, 1957

Born in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, Sumner Drayer studied at the Dickinson Preparatory School. He married Agnes Pettigrew on March 17, 1906. Among numerous business ventures, Drayer served as the president of the Voneiff-Drayer company, which...

College Relationship: Alumnus/Alumna, Trustee
Year: Class of 1902

The Drinkinsonian is an annual satirical issue of The Dickinsonian, the regular campus newspaper. The first issue arrived on the Dickinson campus on November 3, 1932 claiming "We dare to print all." This was at the time of the...

Alfred Victor du Pont

Alfred du Pont was born on April 11, 1798 in France to Eleuthere and Sophie Dalmas du Pont. His father's career during the French Revolution as both moderate politician and printer fell into disfavor as the Revolution became increasingly radical...

College Relationship: Alumnus/Alumna
Year: Class of 1818
George Duffield III

George Duffield III was born on July 4, 1794 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. His father, George Duffield, Jr., served as the Comptroller General of Pennsylvania. The younger Duffield studied at the University of Pennsylvania, obtaining a...

College Relationship: Trustee
Valedictory Address from the First Commencement by Robert Duncan (First Page)

Robert Duncan was born c1768, the son of Carlisle attorney Stephen Duncan. The elder Duncan was a founding trustee of both the Carlisle Grammar School and Dickinson College; Robert presumably attended the grammar school before enrolling in...

College Relationship: Alumnus/Alumna
Year: Class of 1787

Stephen Duncan was born in 1729 and came to prominence in Cumberland County with a successful law practice and a thriving business as a merchant. By 1780, he was noted in county tax records as the heaviest taxpayer in the county.

He also...

College Relationship: Trustee
Portrait of John Price Durbin

John Price Durbin was born on October 10, 1800 in Bourbon County, Kentucky, the eldest of five sons. Shortly after his father died, he was apprenticed to a cabinet maker at the age of 13; he worked for several years until his religious conversion...

College Relationship: President
Zebulon Dyer, 1859

Birth: June 29, 1837; Upper Tract, Pendleton County, West Virginia

Death: December 3, 1861 (age 24); Allegheny Mountain

 Military Service: CSA, 1861

 Unit: 25th Infantry Regiment Virginia

Alma Mater: Dickinson College...

College Relationship: Alumnus/Alumna
Year: Class of 1859

Joseph Dysart was born on July 8, 1820 on the family farm, Eden Hill, in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, one of three sons of James and Jane Dysart. His family hired a tutor who introduced him to the classics and then he attended the early...

College Relationship: Alumnus/Alumna
Year: Class of 1845
Robert N. Earhart, 1858

Robert N. Earhart was born in Blairsville, Pennsylvania on April 9, 1833 to merchant David Earhart and his wife, Catharine Altman Earhart. His father took his large family, of which Robert was the youngest, to Pleasant Valley, Iowa during the...

College Relationship: Alumnus/Alumna
Year: Class of 1858
East College, c.1900

Built shortly after the reopening of the College under Methodist Church auspices, East College was completed on November 5, 1836. The building was designed by Henry Myers and was constructed at a cost of $9,588. Fireproof walls effectively...

Milton W. Eddy, c.1950

Milton Walker Eddy was born in 1884 in India, at Calcutta, to American parents. He graduated from Northwestern University in 1910 and obtained his Ph.D., from the University of Pennsylvania in 1918. He became an instructor in zoology at the...

College Relationship: Faculty
Portrait of WIlliam Wilcox Edel

William Wilcox Edel was born on March 16, 1894 in Baltimore, Maryland. His mother was Annie Wilcox, and his father was John Wesley Edel, a prosperous dairy retailer. Edel attended high school at Baltimore City College and then entered Dickinson...

College Relationship: Alumnus/Alumna, Honorary Degree, President, Trustee
Year: Class of 1915
Portrait of Ninian Edwards

Ninian Edwards was born in Montgomery County, Maryland on March 17, 1775 to Benjamin and Margaret Edwards, a well-connected political family. He attended Dickinson with the class of 1792 but left before the completion of his degree and took up...

College Relationship: Alumnus/Alumna
Year: Class of 1792
John William Ell

John Ell spent four years at the College after graduating from high school in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania. He worked on the Dickinsonian, and was a photography editor of the Microcosm. He was a member of Phi Kappa Sigma, pledging...

College Relationship: Alumnus/Alumna
Year: Class of 1940
Jesse Duncan Elliot

Jesse Elliot was born in Maryland on July 14, 1782. He was nine years old when his father was killed in an Indian attack; soon after young Elliot moved to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where he received his schooling. After studying law for a time, he...

College Relationship: Trustee
David Elliott

David Elliott was born in Sherman Valley, now in Perry County, to Thomas and Jane Holliday Elliott on February 6, 1787. Of Scots Irish heritage, he was raised on his parents' farm in a pious Presbyterian family. He was educated at home and in...

College Relationship: Alumnus/Alumna, Trustee
Year: Class of 1808
Washington Lafayette Elliott

Washington Lafayette Elliott was born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania on March 31, 1825. He was the son of Commodore Jesse Duncan Elliott, USN. Before he reached his teens, young Washington accompanied his father on cruises with the West Indies...

College Relationship: Alumnus/Alumna
Year: Class of 1843
Powhatan Ellis (1790-1863)

Powhatan Ellis was born in Amherst County, Virginia and was named for the father of Pocahontas, from whom the family claimed descent. He was a student at Washington Academy and then at Dickinson as a member of the class of 1810. The College has...

College Relationship: Alumnus/Alumna
Year: Class of 1810
Emory Chapel, c.1890

Emory Chapel, located on the northeast corner of West and Pomfret Streets, was built in 1858 as a Methodist church intended specifically for the College’s religious community. The building was designed by Thomas Balbirnie in Victorian Gothic...