Transcribed from volume II of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar.

University of Kansas.—The University of Kansas formally opened its doors to students in Sept., 1866, but the history of the institution commenced in 1855, when the first legislature made provision for a Kansas University, the buildings of which were to be erected when Congress or some kind friend would give money for their construction.

In 1856 Amos A. Lawrence of Boston, in whose honor the town of Lawrence was named, made plans for a college on the north end of Mount Oread, the hill west of the town, and gave notes and stocks amounting to $12,696.14 for the foundation of his proposed "Free State College." This money was to he held in trust, Charles Robinson and S. C. Pomeroy having been appointed trustees, and the income therefrom was "to be used for the advancement of religious and intellectual education of the young in Kansas Territory." An imperfect deed to the property, which is that part of the campus where North College now stands, caused a cessation in the plans of Mr. Lawrence.

In 1858 the Presbyterian church of the United States of America, believing that the funds of Mr. Lawrence could be secured to help it, took steps to establish a school on Mount Oread. The Kansas directors were Richard Cordley, Charles Robinson, John M. Coe, Charles E. Miner, C. W. Hutchison, James A. Faley and C. L. Edwards. In 1859 the legislature granted a charter to this institution under the name of "The Lawrence University," a board of 22 trustees was appointed, and in Jan., 1859, the city of Lawrence gave to these trustees a quit claim deed to the present North College campus, "on condition that said university is permanently located at Lawrence, Kan., Ter.; that a brick building not less than 36 feet in width and 60 feet in length and two stories high, be erected and completed within one year from date, and that a school be commenced within six months from this date, and that, failing to comply with the above conditions, said Lawrence University shall forfeit all right to said lot of ground, and it shall again become the property of the city of Lawrence."

University of Kansas


In an effort to meet the conditions of the deed a preparatory school was opened in the basement of the Unitarian church. This was discontinued in three months because there were no pupils. However, the Presbyterians continued with their building until winter. The following year, 1860, was one of hard times, so their project was abandoned until more money could be raised. They spent $1,623.50.

The Congregationalists had appeared on the scene meantime, with the idea of building a "monumental college, commemorating the triumph of liberty over slavery in Kansas." Mr. Lawrence through his trustees agreed to give the college his fund if it was to be under Congregational jurisdiction. The breaking out of the war put an end to the plans of the Congregationalists temporarily, and when they later established their school it was in Topeka.

In 1861 the Episcopal church became interested in education in Lawrence. Under its auspices a new board of trustees took out incorporation papers for "The Lawrence University of Kansas." The Presbyterians gave up their claims to the Episcopalians, who later surrendered theirs to the state.

Tracing the history of the University of Kansas as shown by the territorial and state laws, it is seen that the first constitution, adopted in 1855, contained the following provisions: "The general assembly may take measures for the establishment of a university with such branches as the public convenience may hereafter demand, for the promotion of literature, the arts, sciences, medical and agricultural instruction." The free-state legislature, which met at Topeka in 1857, enacted a law "For establishing a state university at Lawrence." In the Lecompton constitution, framed in 1857, is found "That 72 sections or two entire townships shall be designated by the president of the United States, which shall be reserved for the use of a seminary of learning, and appropriated by the legislature of said state solely to the use of said seminary."

The Leavenworth constitution of 1858 provided that, "as the means of the state will admit, educational institutions of a higher grade shall be established by the law, so as to form a complete system of public instruction, embracing the primary, normal, preparatory collegiate and university departments."

The Wyandotte constitution of 1859 reads, "Provision shall be made by law for the establishment, at some eligible and central point, of a state university for the promotion of literature and the arts and sciences, including a normal and agricultural department. All funds arising from the sale or rents of lands granted by the United States to the state for the support of a state university and all other grants, donations and bequests, either by the state, or by individuals, for such purposes, shall remain a perpetual fund to be called the 'university fund,' the interest of which shall be appropriated to the support of a state university."

When Kansas was admitted to the Union in 1861 the Wyandotte constitution was adopted as the Kansas constitution, and Congress set apart and reserved for the use and support of a state university 72 sections of land to be selected by the governor.

It was supposed by many that Lawrence would be chosen as the place for the university, especially after the capital was located at Topeka, but the advantages of having a college near by, appealed to other towns and when the time arrived for selecting a site, there were several contestants, chief among which were Lawrence, Emporia and Manhattan. Manhattan received the agricultural school and withdrew from the race. Between the remaining competitors there was a hard fight, Lawrence winning by one vote cast by the chairman of the legislature. To secure the university, the city of Lawrence had promised to donate 40 acres of ground adjacent to the city, to be used as a campus, and an endowment of $15,000. It was made a provision of the bill that in case Lawrence did not fulfill these promises within six months the university would go to Emporia. By an exchange of real estate with Charles Robinson, Lawrence secured the 40 acres for a campus, and through the generosity of Amos Lawrence, who donated the sum intended for the "Free-State College," it collected the $15,000 just in time to keep the university from reverting to Emporia.

On Nov. 2, 1863, the university was permanently located, and in 1864 the legislature passed a law organizing it. The charter of the University of Michigan was used as a model for the University of Kansas. The government of the institution was vested in a board of regents, to consist of a president and 12 members to be appointed by the governor, with the state superintendent of public instruction and the secretary of state as ex-officio members. Six departments were named as composing the university, viz: "The department of science, literature and the arts; the department of law; theory and practice of elementary instruction; the department of agriculture; and the normal department."

In 1873, by an act of legislature, the number of regents was reduced from 12 to 6, and these were empowered to elect a chancellor, who should be a member of the board with the power of a regent. This organization has never been changed. In Sept., 1865, work was commenced on North College, which was finished in Sept., 1866, the regents having met in July of that year and elected the first faculty of three members, to-wit: Elial J. Rice, professor of belles lettres and mental and moral science; David H. Robinson, professor of languages, and Francis H. Snow, professor of mathematics and natural science. The first session of school opened at North College on Sept. 12, 1866, with 26 young women and 29 young men registered in the preparatory school during the first term. The second year showed a marked growth in numbers, 105 young people being registered when the regents made report on Dec. 5, 1867.

Although the University of Kansas is regarded as one of the first state universities to admit women upon the same equality with the young men, that was not the intention of those who drew up its charter, which names two branches, "a male and a female branch," the latter to be taught exclusively by women, the buildings for that branch to he entirely separate from the buildings of the male branch, "and to establish and maintain said female branch the regents shall annually appropriate a sufficient amount to the funds of the university." This provision has never been put in execution.

In the beginning of the university the course of study leading to an A. B. degree occupied seven years—three years in the preparatory school and four in the college, it was hoped to abandon the preparatory department in a very short time but twenty-five years passed before it was accomplished.

The first class, of four members, graduated in 1873. The school during the first seven years had undergone many changes. Rev. R. W. Oliver, rector of the Protestant Episcopal church of Lawrence, who at the first meeting of the regents on March 21, 1865, had been elected chancellor and ex-officio president of the board of regents, resigned his position in the fall of 1867. On Dec. 4, 1867, Gen. John Fraser, president of the Agricultural College of Pennsylvania, was elected chancellor of the university. He entered upon his official duties on June 17, 1868. His term of service is marked by the erection of Fraser Hall, the first building on the present university campus. This hall was ready for occupancy in Dec., 1872, although it was not completed until later. The money for its construction was raised by bonds to the amount of $100,000 voted by the citizens of Lawrence and by appropriations made by the legislature. Chancellor Fraser resigned on April 15, 1873. At that time 173 students were enrolled and 11 instructors employed.

In Nov., 1874, James Marvin, of Meadville, Pa., was elected chancellor and assumed his duties that winter. During his administration the university developed as rapidly as conditions in the state would permit. In 1876 a normal department was established and it was maintained several years with success. In 1877 and 1878 some 700 trees, now known as Marvin's grove, were set out on the campus. In Nov., 1878, the law school was opened, with James Wood Green in charge, and 13 students enrolled. Under Mr. Green's supervision the law school has grown. It numbers 215 students and occupies a building erected for its exclusive use. Green hall, as it is called, was built in 1905 and named in honor of James W. Green.

James Marvin resigned in 1883 and was succeeded by Joshua Allen Lippincott of Carlisle, Pa., whose administration lasted until 1889. During his time the legislature made larger appropriations, which strengthened the university by increasing its buildings and its courses of study. Regent W. C. Spangler was acting chancellor and F. H. Snow was president of the factulty[sic] during the years 1889-90, and in the spring of 1890 Mr. Snow was elected to the office of chancellor. At the close of the school year 1890 there were 508 students enrolled in all departments, 36 professors employed, and five buildings fully occupied.

About this time the university received two very substantial and acceptable gifts. Col. John J. McCook of New York city presented a sum of money for the encouragement of athletics among the students. With this money a tract of 12 acres (six acres having been given by Mr. Robinson) was secured, graded and fenced for an athletic ground and given the name of McCook field. Mr. Snow in his report of 1891-92 spoke highly of athletic recreations and recommended a well equipped gymnasium and a competent professor of physical culture. The legislature did not feel the necessity of a gymnasium building until 1906, when the Robinson Auditorium-Gymnasium was erected.

In 1894 Spooner Library and the chancellor's residence were erected through the generosity of William B. Spooner of Boston, Mass., who bequeathed the university $91,618.03 through his nephew, Chancellor Snow.

The year 1891 witnessed the entire disappearance of the preparatory department and the reorganization of the college, with a school of arts, which had been the collegiate department, and schools of engineering, law, fine arts, and pharmacy. The steady growth of the university under the leadership of Chancellor Snow increased the demand for equipment. Blake Hall, devoted to the use of physics and electrical engineering students, was completed in 1895; shops were erected for engineering students through a gift of $21,000 tendered by George A. Fowler of Kansas City, Mo., and "The Fowler shops" were ready for use in 1899. The same year the school of medicine was established and the legislature was asked for two new buildings, a chemistry building and a natural history museum.

In the spring of 1898, when a call was made for volunteers to take part in the Spanish-American war, a hearty response was made by the students of the university. The faculty discouraged the lower classmen from going but the upper classmen were permitted to enlist without restraint, and the board of regents granted to all volunteers from the junior and senior classes, "full credit for the work of the academic year interrupted by their military service."

Mr. Snow had served the university for 24 years as a member of the faculty and 10 years as chancellor when ill health caused a cessation of duty. Mr. Spangler returned to the university as acting chancellor and remained as its active leader for two years. Mr. Snow was unable to return to his administration work as had been hoped. In 1901 he sent his resignation to the board of regents, and in April, 1902, Dr. Frank Strong was elected Dr. Snow's successor. He assumed his duties on Aug. 1. At that time there were 50 acres in the campus, it university buildings, 9 of which were used for purposes of instruction, and an enrollment of 1,294 students in the seven schools. The nine years of Mr. Strong's administration have been years of expansion. The healthy financial condition of the state made generous appropriations possible, and the interest of the Kansas people in the head of the public educational system demanded a larger and more thorough course of study. The best high schools and academies have adjusted and improved their curriculums to meet the entrance requirements of the university. The university owns 20 buildings, 9 of which have been completed within the period from 1902-1911. These are the natural history museum, Green hall, Eleanor Bell memorial hospital, Robinson auditorium-gymnasium, clinical laboratory, hospital, civil and mechanical engineering building, mining engineering building, power plant and laboratories, and one wing of the auditorium is nearing completion. The campus at Lawrence comprises 163.5 acres which was laid out by a landscape gardener in order that the best possible aesthetic and utilitarian results could be obtained from the land that was naturally suited for a college site. Potter lake near the west side was constructed in 1910-11 for fire protection and ornamentation.

As the enrollment has increased the course of study has been made broader and deeper in every way, new departments have organized and new avenues of knowledge developed. Among the new departments are those of education, university extension, home economics, and industrial research. The school of education was established in 1909; previously it had been a coördinate department under the college of liberal arts and sciences. The purpose of the school of education is to furnish prospective teachers, principals, superintendents, and all other persons interested in the professional aspect of education, adequate opportunities for specialization in the various phases of educational work. The policy of the university is to assemble and correlate most effectively the forces which contribute to the preparation of educational leaders. The university extension division was established for the benefit of those who are not situated so as to receive education through the formal system. The department of home economics was opened in Sept., 1910, and offers courses in foods, home administration, etc. The department of industrial research concerns itself with finding the best and most economic way of producing articles of commerce. One fellowship embraces the investigation of the properties and uses of oil, another has to do with the enameling of iron and steel, another with the baking of bread. These fellowships are maintained financially by manufacturers of special articles who desire the best methods.

The university publications number 10. They are The University of Kansas Science Bulletin; University of Kansas Studies Humanistic series; the Bulletin of the Engineering Experiments Station; the University-Geological Survey reports; the University Entomological Bulletin; The University News Bulletin; The Graduate Magazine; The Kansan, published tri-weekly by the students; The Jayhawker, and the Kansas Lawyer, also published by students. The library, which in 1866 was merely a hope, in 1911 had 75,000 volumes and 40,000 pamphlets. The corps of instructors numbers 146. In 1902 the first session of summer school was held. The first year the session was of six weeks' duration but in 1909 it was lengthened to nine weeks.

The act of the legislature establishing the university contemplated the founding of a medical school, but made no provision for carrying out the plan. In 1880 a preparatory medical course under the administration of the college of liberal arts and sciences was started, but it was not until 1899 that a school of medicine was definitely organized, when the first two years of a medical course was offered students. Through the courtesy of Simeon B. Bell, who, in memory of his wife, Eleanor Taylor Bell, gave the university money and land at Rosedale under the conditions that the hospital of the university medical school should be built there, an opportunity was offered to complete the organization of the school.

The scientific department covering the first two years of the course was established at Lawrence under Dean M. T. Sudler and the clinical department at Rosedale under the direction of Dean G. H. Hocksey. The clinical department was reorganized in the fall of 1905 by the merger of the Kansas City Medical College, founded in 1897, Medico-Chirurgical College founded in 1896, and the College of Physicians and Surgeons founded in 1894. The hospital building was erected and the department was opened in 1906. The training school for nurses in connection with the hospital was established in July of the same year.

In 1910 a controversy arose as to the reëstablishment and reorganization of the medical school. It ended, however, by keeping the location at Rosedale and a reorganization of the school with Dr. W. J. Crumbine, secretary of the state board of health, as dean of the school and Mervin T. Sudler, assistant dean and professor of surgery. A new hospital was built in the summer of 1911. The enrollment in all departments in 1911 numbered about 2,400 students.

Chancellors of the University: R. W. Oliver, 1865-67; John Fraser, 1867-74; James Marvin, 1874-83; J. A. Lippincott, 1883-89; C. W. Spangler, (Act. Chan.), 1889-90; F. H. Snow, 1890-1901; C. W. Spangler, (Act. Chan.), 1901-02; Frank Strong, 1902—.

Pages 831-838 from volume II of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed July 2002 by Carolyn Ward.