The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Fordham

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FORDHAM, formerly a village in the town of West Farms, Westchester co., New York, but since Jan. 1, 1874, included in the 24th ward of New York city, situated on the New York and Harlem railroad, about 12 m. N. of the city hall and 2 m. from the Hudson river; pop. in 1870, 2,151. It is the seat of several Roman Catholic institutions, of which the most prominent is St. John's college, standing on a slight eminence, surrounded by magnificent grounds. It was founded by the Rev. John Hughes, first archbishop of New York, and was opened for students June 24, 1841, most of the professors being secular clergymen, and the Rev. John McCloskey, now archbishop of New York, first president. The college was chartered as a university in 1846; the first commencement for conferring degrees was held in July of the same year, and immediately afterward the place was transferred to the Jesuits, who broke up their establishment at Bardstown, Ky., and took charge of the institution at Fordham in September, 1846. The college buildings, 9 or 10 in number, cover about an acre, and the play grounds, lawn, &c., embrace about 20 acres. Immediately adjoining are the college farm and garden, embracing about 80 acres. The college library contains over 20,000 volumes, besides which the students have the use of two other libraries, containing about 4,000 volumes. There are valuable chemical and philosophical apparatus, and a geological and mineralogical cabinet, with about 2,500 specimens. The college combines the ordinary features of preparatory, grammar, and commercial schools with those of a university. In the commercial course the degree of bachelor of science is conferred. There are also several supplementary classes. Students are received at any age. The younger students are kept apart from the elder; the three divisions into which the pupils are separated, according to age and proficiency, are allowed to have no communication with one another, each having its separate gymnasium and play grounds. In the senior class Latin is altogether spoken in the lectures and recitations. During the scholastic year 1872-'3 there were 18 professors and tutors, of whom 3 were not Jesuits; 10 other officers, of whom 2 were not Jesuits; and 267 students. The whole number of graduates is 300. The college year is divided into two terms, the first beginning on the first Wednesday in September and ending Jan. 31, and the second beginning Feb. 1 and ending on the last Wednesday in June. There are two vacations, from Dec. 21 to Jan. 3, and from the last Wednesday in June to the first Wednesday in September. St. Joseph's academy for young ladies in 1872 had 4 instructors and 21 pupils. There is also an asylum for female deaf mutes. St. Joseph's theological seminary, formerly established here, has been removed to Troy. The village is a favorite summer residence.—In October, 1776, immediately after the evacuation of New York by the British troops, the American army occupied a series of intrenched camps on the hills om Fordham heights to White Plains. Several pieces of cannon have been dug up here, and the remains of earthworks and other fortifications are still seen in the vicinity.