11 November 2009

30 Universalist Schools of Higher Education Operating in the United States in the 19th Century

. . . As long as I'm dispelling myths of Universalist history, I might as well post this list.

I hear now and again from my fellow UUs that the Universalist side of our denomination was small and rural and never amounted to all that much until they merged with the Unitarians (1961). Well, I'm not one for lying down when I hear such a myth being perpetuated. Universalists accomplished many things and this list merely recites the vast number of schools of higher education they founded during the period of their greatest activity and influence.

(Apart from these higher institutions of learning, Universalists also opened countless "lower" schools. The list below is in chronological order.)

1. 1819. Nichols Academy, Dudley, Massachusetts, operated under Universalist auspices 1819–1823, closed in 1911, reopened later as a four year college

2. 1831. Clinton Liberal Institute, Clinton, New York, 1831–1900

3. 1831. Westbrook Seminary, Westbrook, Maine, operated by Universalists 1831–1925, then became non-sectarian

4. 1832. Western Union Seminary, Philomath, Indiana, 1832–1841

5. 1833. American Literary, Scientific, and Military Academy, Norwich, Vermont, supported by many Universalists 1833–1847

6. 1835. Waterville Liberal Institute, Waterville, Maine, 1835–1857

7. 1835. Unity Scientific and Military Academy, Unity, New Hampshire, 1835–1840

8. 1835. Lebanon Liberal Institute, Lebanon, New Hampshire, 1835–1850

9. 1838. Methuen Liberal Institute, a.k.a. Murray Institute, Methuen, Massachusetts, 1838–1839

10. 1843. Reading Academy, also known as Reading Seminary, Reading, Massachusetts, 1843–1868, joint effort of Universalist and Unitarians, later called Melrose Academy, Wakefield, Massachusetts, then Greenwood Seminary

11. 1843. Mount Caesar Seminary–Swanzey Academy, Swanzey, New Hampshire, 1843–1859

12. 1844. Southold Academy, Long Island, New York, founded 1834, operated by Universalists from 1844, became Southold Collegiate Institute 1858, operated by St. Patrick's Catholic Church from 1863

13. 1847. Melrose Academy, West Brattleboro, Vermont, 1847–1852

14. 1848. Green Mountain Liberal Institute, then Green Mountain Perkins Institute, South Woodstock, Vermont, 1848–1893

15. 1849. Western Liberal Institute, Marietta, Ohio, 1849–1853

16. 1852. Tufts College, Boston, Massachusetts, 1852–1955, became Tufts University, 1955–present

17. 1865. Dean Academy, Franklin, Massachusetts, 1865–1957

18. 1851. Illinois Liberal Institute, Galesburg IL, 1851–1857, became Lombard University 1857–1900, prep school called Lombard College added in 1900. Taken over by Unitarians in 1928 as part of a proposed merger of denominations. Merged with Knox College in 1930 and Lombard College as a separate institution came to an end (see number 28). Was the first college or university to admit women to all its departments and all its degree programs equally with men.

19. 1852. Divinity School, then Crane Theological School, part of Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts

20. 1852. Orleans Liberal Institute, Glover, Vermont, 1852–1872

21. 1856. St. Lawrence University, Canton, New York, 1856–1910, ceased to be run by Universalists 1910 http://www.stlawu.edu/

22. 1858. Canton Theological School, part of St. Lawrence University

23. 1866. Jefferson Liberal Institute, Jefferson, Wisconsin, 1866–1877, became public school 1877

24. 1867. Smithson College, Logansport, Indiana, 1867–1878, sexes were equal in rules, salaries, classes, etc.

25. 1868. Goddard Seminary, Barre, Vermont, 1868–1938, became Goddard College, Plainfield, Vermont, 1938–present http://www.goddard.edu/

26. 1872. Mitchell Seminary, Mitchellville, Iowa, 1872–1879

27. 1872. Buchtel College, Akron, Ohio, 1872–1907, ceased to be run by Universalists in 1907, evolved into University of Akron. In 1875, the college had two professorships for women endowed by contributions of Universalist women.

28. 1881. Ryder Divinity School, theological school attached to Lombard University, Galesburg, Illinois, 1881–1912. The school was transferred to Chicago and affiliated with the University of Chicago Divinity Schools 1912–1928, then transferred to Meadville Theological School (opened by Unitarians in Meadville, Pennsylvania, later moved to Illinois) in 1928. Today the school is known as Meadville/Lombard.

29. 1891. Throop Polytechnic Institute, Pasadena, California, 1891–1894, Universalists ceased to control it in 1894, it evolved into the California Institute of Technology in 1920

30. 1899. Southern Industrial College, Camp Hill, Alabama, 1899–1942, passed out of Universalist hands about 1942, named changed to Lyman Ward Military Academy 1955

(The vast majority of these data were extracted from The Larger Hope, Volume 1: The First Century of the Universalist Church in America, 1770–1870, by Russell E. Miller, published by Boston: Unitarian Universalist Association, 1979)


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