Queen's and Rutgers College Presidents' Collection
- 1774-1983, 1785-1932 (bulk)
Scope and Content
The Queen's and Rutgers College Presidents' collection contains approximately 5 boxes, or 2.1 feet of material, spanning 1774 through 1983. The bulk of the material dates from between 1785 and 1932. The records are arranged into nine different series to reflect each of the nine Presidential administrations they document.
The Presidential administrations included in this collection are: Jacob Rutsen Hardenbergh, William A. Linn, Ira N. Condict, John H. Livingston, Philip Milledoler, Abraham Bruyn Hasbrouck, Theodore Frelinghuysen, William H. Campbell, and Merrill E. Gates. Within each series, the items are arranged chronologically.
The first five series are largely sermons and addresses presented by the President to organizations or churches and later published, or sermons given at the Presidential Inaugurations. Inaugural addresses often included material related to two presidents, but they are filed under the incoming President.
Later series show a shift towards more academic addresses and papers, along with an increase in correspondence and contemporary newspaper clippings. Additionally, more documentation relating to University events, activities, and social gatherings remain in the final three series, including several invitations and programs from specific events.
Many of the letters in the collection from the first half of the 20th century are from presidential descendants with Rutgers Library and Presidential Offices to document family history and create memorials to their ancestors.
2.1 Cubic Feet (5 manuscript boxes)
Language of Materials
English,one item in Latin, and one item in Hebrew.
This collection is composed of assembled material related to the early Presidents of Queen's College and Rutgers College. Materials within this collection were originally housed within the Rutgers Vertical Files (R-VERT) within Special Collections and University Archives.
The Queen's and Rutgers College presidents' Collection features material from 1774 through 1983, with the bulk of the material falling between 1785 and 1932. Items include newspaper clippings, correspondence, commencement addresses, inaugural addresses, and published sermons. Presidents served as both leaders responsible for public addresses and administrators steering the future of the institution, particularly in the form of fundraising efforts. Also included in the collection is genealogical correspondence with descendants of the presidents.
<emph render="bold">Administrative History</emph>
While Queen's College received a charter in 1766, financial hardships and political divisions challenged the new school, and the first student did not graduate until 1774. The Dutch Reformed Church divided over Queen's College and the planned Theological Seminary, torn over increasing regional church power in America and educating students locally, or continuing to send students to Holland for education. Sectional controversies added to this dispute, resulting in little support for the first several years of Queen's College. One commencement occurred in 1774, and then Queen's College was disrupted by the Revolutionary War and the British occupation of New Brunswick. Jacob Hardenbergh, the Trustee credited with overseeing much of the college's earliest operations, officiated at this graduation. Hardenbergh later served as the first President of Queen's College beginning in 1785 until his death in 1790.
During most of the early life of Queen's College, church powers and college officials attempted to recruit Dutch-educated John Henry Livingston to be President. Livingston's appointment promised the support of Dutch officials, and he was widely recognized for his leadership ending the schism in the Dutch church. However, Livingston's ties to the Hudson River Valley and New York were stronger than his interest in the faltering new college. Livingston's early repeated refusals to assume the presidency resulted in two acting presidents, Reverend William Linn (1791-1795), and later Reverend Ira Condict (1795-1810). This was a period of great financial hardship for the college, and from 1795 until 1808 the college remained closed with only theological instruction and the grammar school continuing to operate. Ira Condict's fundraising efforts within the Reformed Dutch Church revived the college, and led to building Old Queen's, Rutgers' oldest remaining structure. In 1810, with Condict's illness, Livingston finally relocated to New Brunswick, devoting his attention to the still underfunded Queen's College. Livingston's prestige added to the strength of the seminary, but the college continued to struggle, and in 1816 closed for a second time. With Livingston's death in 1825, Philip Milledoler (1825-1840) assumed the presidency reinvigorating the college and seminary. Under Milledoler, Queen's College was renamed Rutgers College in honor of the prominent Revolutionary War veteran and philanthropist from New York City, Colonel Henry Rutgers.
The administration of Abraham Bruyn Hasbrouck (1840-1850), Milledoler's successor, marked a shift in the relationship between the church and the college. Hasbrouck was the first lay leader of the college, and his administration oversaw a more secular shift. Following Hasbrouck's resignation in 1850, the trustees chose a president with both strong ties to Queen's College and national prominence. Theodore Frelinghuysen came to Rutgers College with family ties to the first tutor at Queen's College, and substantial personal experience in politics. By the end of Frelinghuysen's presidency, he fired the entire faculty (except the recently hired George H. Cook), established a separate Theological Hall, furthering the separation of the Seminary from the College. Frelinghuysen produced notable expansions in enrollments, although the outbreak of the Civil War upset this trend just before his death in 1862.
Following Frelinghuysen's death, Rutgers College finally started to see some of the necessary endowments arrive, but the institution still failed to offset operational costs. Reverend William H. Campbell (1862-1882) embarked on several major fundraising efforts, which substantially increased resources and programming at Rutgers. Campbell also acquired land grant funding for Rutgers College. Retiring due to ill health in 1882, he remained in the area with strong ties to the college until his death in 1890.
His successor, Merrill Edward Gates (1882-1890) receives credit for developing relations with the State of New Jersey and bringing in substantive state funding for Rutgers, resulting in scholarships and expanding the campus. Gates oversaw several pieces of the transformation to a modern university, adopting professors with doctoral degrees and increasing enrollment from 70 students to 300 students. However, his career as an education administrator led him to leave Rutgers for the presidency of Amherst College in 1890.
The following links are directed to short biographical essays on the Queen's and Rutgers College presidents represented in the collection:
Jacob Rutsen Hardenbergh (1736-1790) President, 1785-1790
William A. Linn (1752-1808)President Pro-Tempore, 1791-1795
Ira N. Condict (1764-1811) President, 1795-1810
John Henry Livingston (1746-1825), President 1810-1825
Philip Milledoler (1775-1852), President 1825-1840
Abraham Bruyn Hasbrouck (1791-1879), President 1840-1850
Theodore Frelinghuysen (1787-1862), President 1850-1862
William H. Campbell (1808-1890), President 1862-1882
Merrill Edward Gates (1848-1922), President 1882-1890
The Queen's and Rutgers College Presidents Collection is arranged into nine series:
- I. Jacob Rutsen Hardenbergh
- II. William A. Linn
- III. Ira N. Condict
- IV.John H. Livingston
- V. Philip Milledoler
- VI. Abraham Van Bruyn Hasbrouck
- VII. Theodore Frelinghuysen
- VIII. William H. Campbell
- IX. Merrill E. Gates
- Guide to the Queen's and Rutgers College Presidents' Collection, 1774-1983 R-MC 116
- Edited Full Draft
- Andrea Meyer
- July 2010
- Language of description note
- Finding aid is written in English.
- August-December 2010: Caryn Radick edited to achieve consistency with style (eg italicizing scope/content notes, making links out of guide name rather than manuscript number.
Part of the Rutgers University Archives Repository
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