1846

Stephen Taylor writes the proposal for the University at Lewisburg which receives its charter on February 5, when Pennsylvania Governor Francis Shunk signed it without changing a word. "His charter was not to become valid until $100,000 had been obtained in cash or trustworthy pledges. Of that sum one-fourth must be permanently invested in a sound and productive form. Grounds must be purchased and buildings must be erected. In particular, the charter expressly stipulated that the college property should not be mortgaged or otherwise encumbered under any pretext whatever, and no debt should be incurred that the trustees could not see their way to meet." Under the university's charter, "the management of the institution was placed in the hands of two boards--a Board of Trustees, not to exceed twenty in number, all of whom must be Baptists; and a Board of Curators, not to exceed forty, the majority of whom must be Baptists. Both boards were self perpetuating. Wisely, the charter provided that neither teachers nor students should be discriminated against on account of religion."

Theiss 

1846

Stephen Taylor is named as a faculty member and Acting President of the University at Lewisburg. "Besides explaining and defending the charter,Taylor took pains to justify the inclusion in the proposed University of a Female Academy, an institution in the plans of the founders but one not specifically mentioned in the charter. Such an institution, Taylor affirmed, was necessary in order that the daughters as well as the sons of the patrons of this institution might be rightly educated. Not only did he point out the economic and the educational advantages of having a ladies' seminary as an appendage to the College; he also, on the one hand, gave assurance that the building occupied by the young women would 'not be much less than one-fourth of a mile from that of the young gentlemen,' and, on the other hand, that the young ladies would not recite in the same classes with the young gentlemen."

Oliphant

1846

On October 5, Stephen Taylor, with the assistance of his son Alfred, opens what he calls a high school for both boys and girls in the basement of the meeting-house of the Baptist Church in Lewisburg. It begins with an enrollment of 22, and during the course of the year 76 pupils attend the school in preparation of collegiate studies.

Oliphant

1848

Construction of the new University begins. An editorial entitled "Ground Broke" in the Lewisburg Chronicle states that the building "would be of brick, three stories in height, and 51 by 75 feet. Although intended for the Male Primary and Academic Department, it would, for the time being, accommodate all the students."

Oliphant

1848

The First Women's Rights Convention is held in Seneca Falls, NY. July 19-20. Convened by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, the gathering features speeches by abolitionist Frederick Douglass, and others. There is discussion about gaining property rights and suffrage for women. Stanton's "Declaration of Sentiments," modeled after the Declaration of Independence, calls for reforms to improve women's condition. It is signed by 100 participants.

Oliphant 

1849

The New Academy Building (Taylor Hall) is completed by January is occupied in April of that year, before the close of the winter term. Oliphant The structure cost $8,000. "School was held on the upper floor of the new building. Each student, boy or girl, was provided with a chair and a desk, arranged in rows from the front to the rear of the room. But-- the girls occupied the west side of the room and faced west; the boys occupied the east side of the room and faced east. "

Theiss

1849

Elizabeth Blackwell graduates from Geneva College of Medicine (a forerunner of Hobart College) in New York and becomes the first woman in the United States to earn a medical degree. All the leading medical schools had rejected her application, and in Geneva, townspeople and much of the male student body had ostracized and harassed her. Initially she was even barred from classroom demonstration. Blackwell persevered however and finishes first in her class. She later is a founding member of the New York Infirmary for Women and Children and the Woman's Medical College.

Her Heritage

1850

Harriet Tubman, born a slave, begins to help others escape from the South. During the next decade she will conduct upwards of 300 slaves from Maryland to safety in the free North via the Underground Railroad. "The Moses of her People" is the name given to this woman of great courage. Rewards of as high as $40,000 were offered for her capture. From 1862 to 1865, Tubman serves as a scout and spy, as well as nurse and laundress, for Union forces in South Carolina.

Her Heritage

1851

"Before 1850 all the boarding students --women as well as men-- had to occupy rooms and to take their meals in the village; and to get such services they could choose among the places that the faculty approved." "By the opening of the year 1850-51, rooms were available to men in the West Wing of the University Building; but the University had no commons, the lack of which it justified by affirming that great advantages were obtained 'by not bringing all the students together to board in common.' Such advantages, we are told, were easy to recognize. Students thus separated were "less tempted to disorderly combinations, less exposed to influence of evil examples, . . . more likely in a well regulated family, to retain purity and propriety of manners, and in case of sickness receive more suitable attention."

Oliphant

1851

On August 20, The University at Lewisburg elects its first President -- Howard Malcom, D.D.

Oliphant

1852

On August 17, Casey Mansion at 2nd and St. Louis St. is purchased for $3,500 to house the Female Institute. A committee is appointed with powers to repair the house, to employ competent teachers, and "to try to get a male Teacher to take charge of the Seminary." Perhaps for monetary reasons, the committee settled for a woman as a principal - Miss Hadassah S. Scribner, of Littleton, NH. On October 21, the Female Institute officially opens.

Oliphant

1853

By April, the Female Institute had more than 40 pupils and was in a prosperous condition.

Oliphant

1853

Mary Ellen Wolfe becomes the first woman in Union County to attend medical school. Wolfe attends the all male Pennsylvania Medical College of Philadelphia where she is issued an admission card to attend classes. Wolfe's pursuit of becoming a doctor is stopped short when she contracts tuberculosis and dies. Her niece Mary Moore Wolfe, an 1896 graduate of Bucknell University, later does complete a medical degree.

Kalp

1854

In August, the Board of Trustees passed the following resolution: "Whereas it was the original design to place the boarding department of the Seminary in the hands of the Principal, and after the experience of two years in the working of a different plan pursued under the pressure of unavoidable circumstances, we are fully convinced that the interest of the corporation and the prosperity of the school would be promoted by such an arrangement. Therefore, Resolved that a committee of three be appointed to confer with the present incumbent and learn if such an arrangement in satisfactory terms can be entered into with her, and if not, then said committee shall be, and hereby authorized to advertise at once, for teacher or teachers, giving preference, other things being equal, to a man and his wife, and enter into the best arrangement possible, so as to open the school at the appointed time." Later that same day, being unwilling to take on the boarding of pupils in addition to their instruction, Miss Scribner resigned.

Theiss

1854

Miss Amanda Taylor takes over the principalship of the Female Institute. She agrees to take charge of the boarding department jointly with Mrs. D. E. Kean, who was teacher of mathematics in the Institute. During her first year in the position, Miss Taylor prepares a curriculum for the primary department and the regular course while the Institute acquires a library and a literary society and publishes its first catalogue.

Theiss

1854

A day school as well as a boarding school, the Female Institute had as its goal to prepare young women for the "cheerful discharge of the duties of life." The curriculum approved by the Trustees offered a one year preparatory class and a three-year regular program consisting , for the most part, of subjects now considered appropriate for high school study. Requirements included precise grading of recitations and deportment, public examination at the end of each session, daily exercise in the open air, attendance at daily religious services in school and daily recitation of the Bible, participation at a weekly prayer meeting, and attendance at a Bible class once and a public worship twice every Sunday. "At the end of that year the committee that was in charge of the Institute was almost ecstatic in describing the progress of the Institute, and in words that must surely have rung pleasantly in the ears of those who were embarrassed by the poverty of the University as a whole, affirmed that the Institute from a pecuniary standpoint, 'has paid, is paying, and will pay better than any other (department) of the school'" Tuition for the Female Institute: Preparatory course- $20, Regular course -$30. Each student paid for board, room, lighting, and heating $2.25 a week, and for washing one dollar a week; Day pupils were charge a dollar a year for fuel. Prosperity of Female Institute gave rise to the idea of expansion and the Board of Trustees authorizes the disposal of the building for no less than $6,000, provided that the right be retained to continue to use this building until such time as another one might be ready for the Institute to occupy.

Oliphant

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