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Identifier: RG 04/A10

Rutgers College Office of the President (Austin Scott) Records


  • 1865-1937, bulk 1871-1922

Scope and Content Note

The records and papers of Austin Scott span the years between 1865 and 1937. The bulk of the material consists of Dr. Scott's graduate school notes (1871-1872), and the records from his presidency of Rutgers College. The papers are divided into three series: Presidential Records, 1891-1906; Personal Papers, 1871-1928; and Clippings, 1871-1937.

The Presidential Records include correspondence, reports, and subject files. Although these files span the dates of Scott's presidency (1891-1906), they do not fully cover those fifteen years. The correspondence and subject files provide very limited discussion of academic policy or day-to-day dealings with the faculty or students.

There are only five "President's Statements to the Board of Trustees," (one for 1891, three from 1892, and one from 1898). The most significant of these is the first, dated October 27, 1891. This report discusses the expansion of the Extension program and is accompanied by reports from the heads of each academic department of the time. Filed with this report are the original reports sent to Scott by the department heads, with the exception of Edgar S. Shumway's original report on Roman Law.

The correspondence covers a wide range of subjects. Some points of interest include a January 28, 1895 letter from Charles Freeman ('80) complaining that Scott has misused his office by testifying at a State Legislative committee hearing in opposition to a State Assessor's candidate. Scott's communication of November 13, 1897 with Professor Edgar S. Shumway voices concern about the classical curriculum at Rutgers, and a June 9, 1902 letter from Albert H. Chester regards the establishment of a Department of Ceramics.

Within the Subject Files there is a significant amount of material on the State Scholarship Act of 1890. In 1893, Scott apparently wrote to county school superintendents soliciting their opinion of the Scholarship Act and the state's failure to comply. The many replies to this inquiry are part of this record, as well as a copy of a memorial sent by President Scott to the State Legislature in 1894, addressing the problem and seeking relief.

Financial notes and correspondence include information about gifts and bequests as well as estimates for building repairs and maintenance. These include an October 22, 1892 letter to Scott from Ann Van Nest Bussing, offering to provide funds to improve Van Nest Hall (which was done in 1893), an 1897 report on Robert F. Ballantine's gifts for the construction of a new gymnasium, and a note which itemizes gifts to Rutgers College between November 1890 and November 1898.

Among the speech material are two particularly interesting undated addresses. One describes the college's chief needs and its mission, and the second addresses the topic, "What could be accomplished with a million dollars for Rutgers College."

The Personal Papers include correspondence, subject files, and materials generated when Scott was a graduate student in Germany. The correspondence spans Dr. Scott's life before his presidency of Rutgers College, and after, with the bulk of material covering the years 1886-1887 and 1913-1916. Some of the more interesting letters include a copy of a letter from Scott to George Bancroft (February 8, 1886), informing his mentor that students were urged to purchase Bancroft's latest pamphlet, and letters from William Stryker, Adjutant General of New Jersey, answering research inquiries from Scott (October 23, 1886, December 7, 1887, and April 2, 1888).

Within the subject files are biographical materials on Austin Scott, his wife, Anna Prentess Stearns, and their children. This includes a form for the General Catalogue of Rutgers College, filled out by Anna Scott in 1928, and a copy of the Encyclopaedia Britannica,11th edition, entry on New Jersey written by Austin Scott in 1921. Also included is a bound ledger in which Scott kept research notes on New Jersey, focusing mostly on the colonial period. The volume contains an alphabetized subject index.

The bulk of the graduate school material consists of lecture notes taken by Scott while a student in Berlin. All of these notes were written in German. These records are especially notable because they record the lectures of Theodor Mommsen (1817-1903), considered to have been one of the most skilled and professional scholars of Ancient Rome, and Johann Gustav Droysen (1808-1884), perhaps the foremost nineteenth-century scholar of Ancient Greece. Some of the notes are untitled and appear to be incomplete. Three of the classes (Ancient Rome, Annals of Livy, and Rome under Diocletian) were taught by Mommsen, with a fourth (Greek History) taught by Droysen. These materials may have significance to historians for a variety of reasons--interest in the subject matter; interest in the early development of the teaching of history; interest in Mommsen's and Droysen's style, albeit Scott's interpretation of it; and the fact that these courses on imperial Greece and Rome were taught at the very time of unification of imperial Germany in the early 1870s.

There is an unidentified manuscript also written in German that does not appear to be lecture notes and may be a draft of a graduate essay. In addition, there is a listing of Scott's course of study in Berlin and certificates of attendance, as well as an index to lectures and instructors at Frederic Wilhelm University, 1871-1872, and the Summer of 1876.

The third series, "Clippings," spans the years 1871-1937, with the bulk concentrated from 1891 to 1922. Areas of interest include coverage of Austin Scott's election as President of Rutgers College, his resignation, and the many different reports, including a memorial tribute, following his death in 1922. These clippings also include his wife's obituary (January 23, 1933), and a few articles about his children.


0.8 Cubic Feet (2 manuscript boxes)

Language of Materials



The records and papers of Austin Scott, 1865-1927 (bulk, 1871-1922) consist of records from his presidency of Rutgers College and personal papers, including his notes from graduate history study in Germany.

Administrative History and Biographical Sketch of Austin Scott

Austin Scott was born in Toledo, Ohio on August 10, 1848, the son of Jeremiah Austin Scott and Sarah (Remey) Scott. He was named Frank Austin Scott, but eventually dropped the first name. Scott received his A.B. degree from Yale College in 1869, and an A.M. from the University of Michigan in 1870.

Scott spent three years studying history in Germany at the Freidrich Wilhelm University (University of Berlin) and the University of Leipzig, receiving his Ph.D. from Leipzig in 1873. While in Berlin, Scott studied Ancient History under both Theodor Mommsen (1817-1903) and Johann Gustav Droysen (1808-1884), two leading German historians. In Germany and later while teaching at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Scott also served as research assistant to the eminent constitutional historian, George Bancroft, aiding in the preparation of Bancroft's tenth volume of the History of the United States and later the History of the Constitution of the United States.

After receiving his degree, Scott taught German at the University of Michigan from 1873 to 1875. In 1876, he became an associate in history at the newly formed Johns Hopkins University and continued his work with Bancroft. In 1882, Dr. Scott married Anna Prentiss Stearns. They had seven children.

Austin Scott came to Rutgers in 1883, serving as Voorhees Professor of History, Political Science, Economics, and Constitutional Law from 1883 to 1891, and again from 1906 to 1922. His tenure as professor included introducing the first history seminar to Rutgers. see Rutgers College. Seminar in History. Minutes (RG 23/D1/04)

Scott served as President of Rutgers College from 1891 to 1906. His administration was centered on concern about the college's relationship with the State of New Jersey. The main point of contention was the state's refusal to make payments to the school as stipulated in the Scholarship Act of 1890. Through Scott's efforts, the issue was finally resolved in the college's favor in 1905. One of the state's complaints on this matter was Rutgers' limited course offerings in agriculture. As a result, a distinct curriculum in agriculture was begun during Scott's presidency, under the guidance of Dr. Edward B. Voorhees. At the same time the faculty, under Scott's direction, sought to strengthen the classical program as well. Under his administration the college witnessed many physical renovations and changes, most notably the construction of the Robert F. Ballantine Gymnasium and the Ralph Voorhees Library. After fifteen years of presidential service, Scott submitted his resignation, returned to the faculty, and provided assistance to his successor, William Henry Steele Demarest.

After resigning his post as president, Scott continued his teaching and also became active in the civic affairs of New Brunswick. In 1912, he was elected mayor and served for three years. Austin Scott died at his summer home in Granville Centre, Massachusetts on August 15, 1922.

Arrangement Note

The papers are divided into three series:

  1. I. Presidential Papers, 1891-1906
  2. II. Personal Papers, 1871-1928
  3. III. Clippings, 1871-1937
Inventory to the Records of the Rutgers College Office of the President (Austin Scott), 1865-1937 RG 04/A10
Edited Full Draft
Ellen R. Callahan
April 1992
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Revision Statements

  • 1999-08-09: File revised to conform to RLG's <title linktype="simple">Recommended Application Guidelines</title>.
  • 1999-06-15: File created
  • June 3, 2004: scott converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).

Part of the Rutgers University Archives Repository

Rutgers University Libraries
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