1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Michigan, University of

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MICHIGAN, UNIVERSITY OF, one of the principal educational institutions of the United States, situated at Ann Arbor, Michigan. It embraces a department of literature, science and the arts (including industry and commerce), opened in 1841, and including a graduate school, organized in 1892; a department of medicine and surgery, opened in 1850; a department of law, opened in 1859; a school of pharmacy, opened as a separate department in 1876; a homoeopathic medical college, opened in 1875; a college of dental surgery, opened in 1875; and a department of engineering, separately organized in 1895, which includes courses in marine engineering, architecture, and architectural engineering. The university was one of the first to admit women, having opened its doors to them in 1870 as a natural consequence of its receiving aid from the state (since 1867), and since 1900 they have constituted nearly one-half of the student body in the department of literature, science and the arts. In 1907–1908 there were in all departments 350 instructors and 5013 students (1796 in the department of literature, science and the arts; 1354 in the department of engineering; 391 in the department of medicine and surgery; 791 in the department of law; 101 in the school of pharmacy; 82 in the homoeopathic medical college; 168 in the college of dental surgery; and 1070 in the summer sessions). Besides the several main department buildings there is a library building, a museum building, several laboratories, a gymnasium for men, and a gymnasium for women. The general library in 1908 contained 172,940 volumes, 3800 pamphlets, and 3370 maps, and the several department libraries brought the total up to 222,600 volumes and 5000 pamphlets. The general museum contains large zoological collections, geological and anthropological collections, including the exhibit of the Chinese government at the New Orleans Exposition, which was given by the government to the university in 1885; there are besides several special collections in some of the laboratories. The astronomical observatory is surmounted by a movable dome in which is mounted a refracting telescope having a thirteen-inch object glass. The several laboratories are equipped for use in instruction in physics, chemistry, mineralogy, geology, zoology, psychology, botany, forestry, actuarial work, engineering, histology, physiology, hygiene, electrotherapeutics, pathology, anatomy and dentistry.

The university is governed from without by a board of eight regents elected by popular suffrage, two biennially, at the same time as the election of judges of the supreme court; from within the government is to a large extent in the hands of a university senate, in which the faculty of each department is represented. The university is maintained by a permanent annuity of $30,000, derived from the land set apart for it by the Ordinance of 1787, by the proceeds of a three-eighths mill tax, and by small fees paid by the students. Its organic relation to the other public schools of the state was well established in 1870, when it was provided that graduates from such high schools as had been examined and approved by a committee of the university should be admitted without examination; one of the most important functions of the university is to prepare students for teaching in the high schools.

The first charter for a university within what is now the state was granted by the governor and judges of the Territory of Michigan in 1817, for a “Catholepistemiad,” or University of Michigania, with a remarkable “Greek” system of nomenclature for its courses and faculties; this institution did practically no teaching. A second charter was granted in 1821, for a University of Michigan in Detroit; but little was accomplished until the admission of Michigan into the Union as a state in 1837, when by the third charter the aim was to model the institution after the German university minus the theological department, and the university was entrusted to a board of regents and a chancellor appointed by the governor. Branches to correspond to the German gymnasia were established in the principal towns before any money was spent on the University proper, but the question of the constitutionality of their establishment and maintenance arose, and they were soon discontinued. Plans for building at Ann Arbor were begun in 1838. The first class graduated in 1845. The department of literature, science and the arts was at first much like a New England college. For some time the prospects did not seem promising; but in 1851 a new state constitution provided that the regents should be elected, and directed them to choose a president; and it was under the administration (1852–1863) of the first incumbent of that office, Henry Philip Tappan (1805–1881), that the present broad and liberal basis was established. Although he was a Presbyterian clergyman, he endeavoured at the outset to substitute the tests of scholarship for those of religion; at the same time a scientific course was introduced, courses in pedagogy followed, and in 1878 the elective system, which has since rapidly expanded, was established. President Tappan was succeeded in 1863 by Erastus Otis Haven (1820–1881), who resigned in 1869, and was succeeded temporarily (1869–1871) by Professor Henry S. Frieze (1817–1889), and in 1871 by James Burrill Angell (b. 1829),[1] who resigned in 1909. In 1871–1872 the German seminar method was introduced in graduate work in history, by Prof. Charles Kendall Adams (1835–1902), afterwards president of Cornell University (1885–1892) and of the University of Wisconsin (1892–1902).

See B. A. Hinsdale and I. N. Demmon, History of the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, 1906); Elizabeth M. Farrand, History of the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, 1885); and The Quarter Centennial of the Presidency of James Burrill Angell (Ann Arbor, 1896).

  1. President Angell graduated in 1849 at Brown University, where he was assistant librarian in 1849–1850 and was professor of modern languages in 1853–1860; was editor of the Providence Journal in 1860–1866; was president of the University of Vermont in 1866–1871, was United States minister to China in 1880–1881, was a member of the joint commission of 1887–1888 to settle fishery disputes between the United States and Great Britain, was chairman of the international deep waterways commission in 1896, and in 1897–1898 was United States minister to Turkey.