The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Dartmouth College

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The Encyclopedia Americana
Dartmouth College
Edition of 1920. See also Dartmouth College on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

DARTMOUTH COLLEGE, a seat of learning in Hanover, N. H., which received its charter in 1769 and opened its doors the following year under the presidency of Eleazer Wheelock, D.D. It grew out of an earlier school established by Eleazer Wheelock in Lebanon, Conn., and was intended for the education of Indian children. The idea of this school had been suggested to him by his success in educating a young Mohegan Indian, Samson Occom, who became a remarkable preacher. Other pupils from several Indian tribes were afterward received and the school became an object of public attention and interest. In 1754 a farmer named Joshua Moor gave a house and two acres of land for the purposes of the institution, which was from this time known as Moor's Indian Charity School. Occom, accompanied by the Rev. Nathaniel Whitaker, visited England to collect funds; a sum of over $50,000 was subscribed and a board of trustees was there organized, of which Lord Dartmouth, one of the subscribers, was made president. The school was so much resorted to by the native tribes that Dr. Wheelock determined to transfer to some place near to them. Many offers of situations were extended to him, but he selected the town of Hanover, on the Connecticut River, in the western part of the State of New Hampshire, and grants of about 44,000 acres of land were made to him. The institution was chartered by Governor Wentworth under the name of a college, with all the privileges and immunities of any university within the British realm, and was called Dartmouth College in honor of the Earl of Dartmouth. Moor's school soon afterward obtained an independent charter and remained as an academical or preparatory department until 1849. It maintained a legal existence until 1915, when by a decree of the court it was consolidated with the college. In 1770 Dr. Wheelock removed his family and school, consisting of 18 whites and 6 Indians, from Lebanon to the wilderness of Hanover, where the whole colony lived in log huts. In 1771 the first class of four students was graduated. President Wheelock retained his office till his death in 1779, and was succeeded by his son, John Wheelock, who, in 1782, was sent by the trustees to Europe to promote the interests of the college; and through introductions by General Washmgton, Dr. Franklin and John Adams he obtained considerable sums of money, philosophical instruments and other valuable donations. William, Prince of Orange, was one of the donors. Wheelock returned in 1784, and after a presidency of 36 years was removed from the office by the trustees, in 1815. This act, which had its origin in a local religious controversy, led to a conflict with the legislature of the State; that body claimed the right to amend a charter of which it was the guardian, and in 1816 passed acts creating a new corporation, in which the property was vested, and changing the title of the college to Dartmouth University. The old trustees began a suit for the recovery of the college property. (See Dartmouth College Case). Wheelock, who was succeeded as president of the college by Francis Brown, was raised to the presidency of the university, in February 1817, by the trustees of that institution, but died within two months. He was succeeded by William Allen, D.D., and in 1819 the “College Case” was decided in favor of the college, when the university disbanded.

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1 Wilson Library

Dartmouth College still remains an institution for men only. It comprises, besides the regular classical department: the medical school, founded in 1798; the “Chandler School of Science,” established in 1851, by the trustees, on the receipt of a bequest of $50,000 from Abiel Chandler, who left it to them in trust “for the establishment and support of a permanent department or school of instruction in the college, in the practical and useful arts of life.” The course in this school, leading to the degree of bachelor of science, covered four years and included courses in general science, political science, modern languages, mathematics and history, was incorporated into the college in 1893 and is now known as the Chandler scientific course. Another department is “The Thayer School of Civil Engineering,” founded in 1867 by Sylvanus Thayer, a graduate of Dartmouth. This is a graduate school, comprising a two years' course in civil engineering. The government of this school is vested in a board of five overseers, of whom one is the president of Dartmouth College. In 1900 the trustees created the “Amos Tuck School of Administration and Finance,” according to the terms of the Amos Tuck Endowment Fund, the gift of $300,000 by Mr. Edward Tuck, of the class of 1862, as a memorial to his father, of the class of 1835. This school is post-graduate in nature and is established in the interest of college men who desire to engage in affairs rather than enter the professions. The report of the college for 1915 gives the following statistics: Officers of administration and instruction 130; number of students, 1,468; volumes in library, 125,000, and 20,000 pamphlets; the value of the college plant, $2,000,000, with $750,000 additional invested in dormitories; the value of the endowments, $4,000,000.


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2 Faculty Avenue