Today in History: October 9
On October 9, 1701, the colonial legislature of Connecticut chartered the Collegiate School in Saybrook to educate students for "Publick employment both in Church & Civil State." Originally based at the house of the first rector in Killingworth, the school moved to New Haven in 1716, and in 1718 was renamed Yale College to honor its early benefactor, the merchant Elihu Yale.
Yale graduates were influential in the American Revolution. Lyman Hall, Philip Livingston, Lewis Morris, and Oliver Wolcott signed the Declaration of Independence. Twenty-five Yale men served in the Continental Congress and the patriots Nathan Hale and Noah Webster also were among its graduates.
Yale (external link) evolved into a university in the late 1700s to mid-1800s when its original liberal arts curriculum expanded to include graduate and professional education. Among Yale's most prestigious schools are those of divinity, medicine, law, and art. The first doctoral degrees earned in the United States were awarded by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 1861.
In 1832, the Yale University Art Gallery (external link) became the first American college art museum. Built with funds from the Connecticut legislature, the gallery housed a series of American Revolutionary War paintings donated by Colonel John Trumbull. Also associated with Yale are the Yale Center for British Art (external link), the Peabody Museum of Natural History, and Yale University Press (external link), one of the nation's most distinguished university publishing houses.
Yale has had other notable nineteenth-century firsts. These include the first collegiate rowing races, held in 1843, and the first intercollegiate game of modern baseball in 1865. In 1861 Yale became the first U.S. university to award a PhD in philosophy. The Yale Daily News, the oldest college daily newspaper, was founded in 1878.
In 1781, Yale University conferred the honorary degree of "Doctorate in Laws" on George Washington. Search on Yale in the collection George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799 to view the correspondence of Ezra Stiles, president of the university, with George Washington.
Revisit Yale's distinguished past through American Memory:
- Search the collection The Nineteenth Century in Print: Books on Yale to find several books about Yale including the Biographical Record of the Class of 1850 of Yale College (1877).
- Search on Yale College or Yale University in Touring Turn-of-the-Century America: Photographs from the Detroit Publishing Company, 1880-1920 to view over one hundred photographs of the Yale campus.
- Architecture and Interior Design for 20th Century America: Photographs by Samuel Gottscho and William Schleisner, 1935-1955 includes 112 images of Yale's Silliman College, named after geologist and Yale professor Benjamin Silliman.
- Built in America: Historical American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record, 1933-Present contains drawings, black and white photographs, and data pages relating to Yale University buildings, for example Yale's Dwight Hall.
- Search the collection Taking the Long View: Panoramic Photographs, 1851-1991 on Yale to see panoramic photographs of Yale athletes and sporting events.
- Search the collection Small-Town America: Stereoscopic Views from the Robert Dennis Collection, 1850-1920 on Yale to find views of New Haven, Connecticut, in the nineteenth century, including pictures of Yale College.
- Read an interesting anecdote concerning one of the earliest African Americans to attend Yale College in the collection The African-American Experience in Ohio, 1850-1920. The article "The Color Line at Yale" originally appeared in the November 12, 1887, issue of the Cleveland Gazette.
- Listen to George Wilton Ballard perform "There's A Long, Long Trail" written by two Yale seniors in 1913.
- Search the Today in History Archive on college or university to find features on American colleges and universities including Columbia, Harvard, Howard, Cornell, and Vassar.