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19th Century Primary Sources

A listing of 19th century primary sources about local people and events found in Archives & Special Collections, supplemented by the library's extensive e-resources.

Nineteenth Century College Archives Materials

The materials listed below are the official records of Davidson College. These collections vary widely in size and sometimes include restricted files because of laws like FERPA. In these collections you will find materials like student publications, president's office records, and college catalogs. The following list is a selection of these items. For more information, search the catalogs listed below.

If you would like to view any of the materials listed below, please email archives@davidson.edu to make an appointment.

 

RECORD GROUP: BOARD OF TRUSTEES

Board of Trustees, Minutes, 1837 - (RG 1-1)

Description: Minutes of general board meetings record actions taken during meeting and reports from college president, treasurer, faculty and board committees. Executive Committee minutes have been maintained separately and interfiled or bound together with regular minutes. Having an Executive Committee was first proposed in August 1854 and established in 1856. View minutes here

Treasurer's Accounts, 1839 - 1907 (RG 1-3-2)

Description: The Subscription book is a ledger containing pledges made to the college. There are legal documents related to various real estate transactions (Deeds 1885-88), but most of the documents concern themselves with the day-to-day operation of the college.

Administrative Files, 1867 - 2002 (RG 1-6)

Description: These records contain information on the charter and constitution, including revisions and correspondence. There are also reports from the college physician detailing the health of the student body, records of land leases, and publications.

Secretary's Correspondence, 1868 - 1902 (RG 1-7)

Description: This is correspondence sent and received by Reverend J. Rumple, Secretary of the Board of Trustees between 1878-1905. It relates to such matters as college scholarships, real estate sales, and contributions to the college.

Committee Reports, 1877 - 2000 (RG 1-8)

Description: These are trustee committee reports addressing such issues as the size of the college, the size of the student body, Societas Fratrum, and college finances.

The materials listed below are the official records of Davidson College. These collections vary widely in size and sometimes include restricted files because of laws like FERPA. In these collections you will find materials like student publications, president's office records, and college catalogs. The following list is a selection of these items. For more information, search the catalogs listed below.

If you would like to view any of the materials listed below, please email archives@davidson.edu to make an appointment.

 

RECORD GROUP: OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT

President Lacy, Records, 1856 - 1860 (RG 2-1-3)

Description: The collection consists of one receipt signed by Lacy (1856), at letter concerning the delivery of mail to Davidson College (1857), and a letter to Lacy from James B. White recommending a faculty appointment (1860).

President Blake, Records, 1870 - 1884 (RG 2-1-6)

Description: The correspondence consists primarily of Blake's letters to the Board of Trustees concerning relations between the college and the Presbyteries. It also includes Blake's letter of resignation in 1884. The notebooks contains descriptions of Davidson College during the Civil War and research notes on energy, the Holtz machine, and astronomy.

President Shearer, Records 1892 - 1894 (RG 2-1-9)

Description: The collection consists of a letter concerning the publication of the Semi-Centennial Catalog, a letter discussing symbolism of candlesticks and Christmas trees, a petition by non-fraternity students requesting the abolition of fraternities, and Shearer's letter of resignation.

Annual Reports, 1880 - 1993, 2004 - 2007 (RG 2-2)

Description: Some reports for the period 1921-1978 require permission of archivist to use. The annual report files contain copies of reports made by Davidson Presidents to the Board of Trustees, the Executive Committee of the Trustees, and to the public. The files begin with a handwritten report in 1880 from Andrew Hepburn, seventh president of Davidson College. Reports of prior presidents are included in the Minutes of the Board of Trustees. 

Faculty Minutes, 1837 - (RG 2-3-2)

Description: The collection contains the minutes of the Trustees of Western Carolina College (1821-1824) and the faculty minutes of Davidson College. The first volume also contains attendance records for several classes. There are no existing minutes for 1900-1901. Minutes after 1899 require the permission of the VPAA Office. View digitized version here.

The materials listed below are the official records of Davidson College. These collections vary widely in size and sometimes include restricted files because of laws like FERPA. In these collections you will find materials like student publications, president's office records, and college catalogs. The following list is a selection of these items. For more information, search the catalogs listed below.

If you would like to view any of the materials listed below, please email archives@davidson.edu to make an appointment.

 

RECORD GROUP: VICE PRESIDENT FOR ACADEMIC AFFAIRS, DEAN OF FACULTY

Registrar, Records, 1861 - 2012 (RG 3-3-1)

Description: Access to ledgers requires permission of Registrar. The Ledgers are a record book for 1861-1895, a record book for 1895-1907, and the registration book for 1895-1907. The Ledgers contain information about each student and their coursework. 

Registrar, Catalogs 1842 - (RG 3-3-2)

Description: Miss Cornelia Shaw was elected as Librarian and Registrar on May 28, 1907. Prior to 1907, the duties of Registrar were handled by faculty members and the president. The earliest known catalog was printed in 1842. Photocopies of the catalogs for 1842 - 1847 have been bound and are also available in the Davidsoniana Room The catalogs contain information about the Trustees, Faculty, Administration and students as well as descriptions of the courses of study offered, student activities, and scholarships.

Registrar, Commencement, 1837 - (RG 3-3-7)

Description: The collection contains materials related to Commencement ceremonies at Davidson College. The earliest original document is a printed copy of President Morrison's Inaugural address in 1838. Commencement files contain materials issued by the college in conjunction with the ceremonies. These may include invitations, programs, service bulletins, and citations. 

Library, Records, 1841 - (RG 3-4-1)

Description: Some files require the permission of the College Archivist. Beginning with a small collection of donated books housed in the Chapel, the library expanded and moved to the Chambers Building in 1860. The two student literary societies also developed libraries. In 1887, the Union Library was created by the combining of the student libraries and the college library. The position of Library Directory for the Davidson College Library was first created in 1907, with the appointment of the first full-time librarian, Cornelia Shaw. The collection begins with a copy of the Union Library constitution and rules.

The materials listed below are the official records of Davidson College. These collections vary widely in size and sometimes include restricted files because of laws like FERPA. In these collections you will find materials like student publications, president's office records, and college catalogs. The following list is a selection of these items. For more information, search the catalogs listed below.

If you would like to view any of the materials listed below, please email archives@davidson.edu to make an appointment.

 

RECORD GROUP: VICE PRESIDENT FOR BUSINESS AND FINANCE

Historical Records, 1880 - 1975 (RG 4-1-4)

Description: Davidson College hired its first Business Manager in 1913 and its first superintendent of buildings and grounds in 1912. Prior to that time, managerial and maintenance duties were assigned to individual faculty members. The historical records for this office include ledgers predating the establishment of the office of Business Manager and records for special projects or activities such as the Davidson Cemetery, Davidson College Presbyterian Church, Duke Endowment, the E. L. Baxter Davidson Property, and Erwin Lodge. The ledgers reveal the pay and some names of "college servants."

Treasurer's Ledgers, 1838 - 1918 (RG 4-2-2)

Description: The ledgers date from the period 1838-1914. The majority of the ledgers concern dues owed the college and expenses paid by the college, 1880- 1914. Other ledgers contain records of expenses paid by students, 1892-1910; scholarships, 1838-1893; the Bursar's record, 1859-1903, and faculty salaries, 1872-1907.

The materials listed below are the official records of Davidson College. These collections vary widely in size and sometimes include restricted files because of laws like FERPA. In these collections you will find materials like student publications, president's office records, and college catalogs. The following list is a selection of these items. For more information, search the catalogs listed below.

If you would like to view any of the materials listed below, please email archives@davidson.edu to make an appointment.

 

RECORD GROUP: VICE PRESIDENT FOR COLLEGE RELATIONS (INSTITUTIONAL ADVANCEMENT)

Alumni Relations, Administrative Files, 1849 - (RG 5-4-1)

Description: The first Alumni Association programs were informal gatherings during commencement. By 1876 increasing interest in alumni relations with the college led to a request that four of the College Trustees be elected as alumni representatives. There are two published speeches given at the Alumni Association gatherings, "The Duty of Literary Men of Their Country" by James Ramsay (class of 1841) and an untitled address by J. C. Chambers in 1859. 

The materials listed below are the official records of Davidson College. These collections vary widely in size and sometimes include restricted files because of laws like FERPA. In these collections you will find materials like student publications, president's office records, and college catalogs. The following list is a selection of these items. For more information, search the catalogs listed below.

If you would like to view any of the materials listed below, please email archives@davidson.edu to make an appointment.

 

RECORD GROUP: VICE PRESIDENT FOR STUDENT LIFE, DEAN OF STUDENTS

Eumenean Society, Records, 1838 - 2004 (RG 12-1)

Description: The Eumenean Society, founded in 1837, is one of the oldest organizations on the Davidson College Campus. In 1842 the Eumenean Society decided to "make an attempt to erect a Society Hall," and in 1849 the building was constructed. The collection contains minutes, constitutions, correspondence, class and roll books, membership books, credit books, treasurer's books, records from the Junior Eumenean Society, a scrapbook, some printed material, and memorabilia. 

Philanthropic Society, Records, 1837 - 2004 (RG 12-2)

Description: The Philanthropic Society, founded in 1837, is one of the oldest student societies on the Davidson College campus. The first meetings were held in one of the dormitories on campus, then later in the Chapel. In 1842, the first steps were taken to raise the funds to build a meeting hall, and in 1850 the Philanthropic Hall was completed. The collection contains constitutions, minutes, president's manuals, treasurer's records, membership books, class and roll books, committee reports and minutes, credit books, officer reports and notebooks, papers, addresses, and library records. There are five versions of the constitution, ranging in date from 1837 to 1914.

Societas Fratrum, Collection 1876 - 1917 (RG 12-8)

Description: The Societas Fratrum was a student loan fund formed in 1876 by William S. Fleming (c/o 1878) and J.A. Tyson (c/o 1876). The society arranged interest-free loans for students taken from a general fund endowed by the student body.

Beta Theta Pi Fraternity, Records 1858 - 1994 (RG 12-12)

Description: In 1858 the Phi Chapter of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity was founded. It was the first fraternity at Davidson College, temporarily disbanding during the Civil War. The group flourished for many years, until the installation of the self-selection policy at Davidson. The collection contains historical information, including a copy of the fraternity history from the 1897 Quips and Cranks and the manuscript "Milestones Backward Run," a detailed history of the fraternity to 1940. There are copies of the constitution, including a copy of the original constitution written by Robert Hall Morrison Jr. in 1858. 

Kappa Alpha Fraternity, Records 1880 - 2001 (RG 12-16)

Description: The Sigma chapter of Kappa Alpha fraternity was established at Davidson College in 1880. The collection contains some historical information about the chapter. There are minutes from 1880-1930; these are oversized and are housed separately. There is a report to the national headquarters describing the founding of the chapter and a Kappa Alpha Magazine from 1884 with several mentions of the Davidson chapter's activities. 

Ugly Club, Records 1869 - 1870 (RG 12-60)

Description: The Ugly Club existed during the nineteenth century at Davidson College. Members were elected to the group and given names like "Conceited Man," "Ugly Man," "Ladies Man," "Little Man," "Lazy Man," and "Pretty Man." The file contains copies of the program brochures for the annual celebration of the Ugly Club in 1869 and 1870.

Davidson College Historical Association, Publications, 1898 (RG 12-65)

Description: The Davidson College Historical Association was founded in 1897 with the purpose of encouraging the investigation and preservation of local history. The first volume of Studies in History, and the only volume in the collection, appeared in March 1898.

The materials listed below are the official records of Davidson College. These collections vary widely in size and sometimes include restricted files because of laws like FERPA. In these collections you will find materials like student publications, president's office records, and college catalogs. The following list is a selection of these items. For more information, search the catalogs listed below.

If you would like to view any of the materials listed below, please email archives@davidson.edu to make an appointment.

 

RECORD GROUP: STUDENTS

Student Publications, Freshman and Junior Mirror, 1859 (RG 10-2-1)

Description: The Freshman and Junior Mirror was published by the Sophomore class in 1859 at Commencement. This rake ridiculed members of the Freshmen and Juniors by name and almost led to a riot. The Trustees met in special session and extracted apologies from the Sophomores.

Student Publications, Davidson Monthly (10-2-16)

Description: The Davidson Monthly, first published in March 1870, was a magazine created by Davidson College students. The six editors of the Monthly were seniors "chosen by the two literary societies [the Eumenean and Philanthropic literary societies], three from each." the focus of the magazine was poetry, prose, and essays written by Davidson students and alumni. Subjects included stories concerning or extolling the South, essays on religion and scripture, essays on poets, writers and their works, "women's nature," and student reflections and philosophies. In 1926, the Davidson College Magazine became the Chameleon, a magazine dedicated to only student work; the Chameleon is included in this collection as well as in its own: RG 10/2.20. 

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