A Letter of 1863 from a Western University President

Cyrus Nutt


Indiana Magazine of History, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 306-311

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The letter, here reproduced, of the Rev. Cyrus Nutt, President of Indiana University from 1860 to 1875, was written to an eastern professor, Mr. Evan Pugh, who had made inquiries, exidently with a view to a position on the faculty of the western institution. At the same time, the President mailed to his correspondent the Annual Report of Indiana University, which included the Catalogue, for the "Academical year" 1861-1862. This Report had been submitted to Governor Oliver P. Morton a year before President Nutt's letter was written, by James D. Maxwell, then president of the Board of Trustees. Though the Report included the Catalogue of the same year, for some reason, the names of the Faculty and Board of Trustees were omitted from its pages. To remedy this, President Nutt enclosed with his letter a leaf torn from another catalogue, giving the list of faculty members. At the right of the names, he penciled the salary received by himself and the several professors.

Below is the faculty roll as it appeared on the enclosed loose leaf, with the penciled data added by President Nutt in italics:

Rev. CYRUS NUTT, D.D., President, And Professor of Mental, Moral and Political Philosophy. Salary $1300
Rev. THEOPHILUS A. WYLIE, A.M., Professor of Natural Philosophy and Chemistry 1100
Rev. ELISHA BALLANTINE, A.M., Professor of the Greek and Latin Languages and Literature. 1100
DANIEL KIRKWOOD, LL.D., Professor of Mathematics. 1100
Hon. GEORGE A. BICKNELL, Professor of Law. Self supporting
RICHARD OWEN, M.D., State Geologist. Not here being in the army
JAMES WOODBURN, A.M., Adjunct Professor of Languages, and Principal of the Preparatory Department. 1100
EMANUEL L. MARQUIS, A.M., Professor of Modern Languages. Self supporting
Secretary of the Faculty, DANIEL KIRKWOOD, LL.D.  
Librarian, T. A. WYLIE, A.M.  

On the back of the loose leaf containing the faculty roll, the names of the Board of Trustees were given: John B. Win-stanley, Floyd County; Bayless W. Hanna, Vanderburgh County; David Sheeks, Monroe County; James D. Maxwell, Monroe County; William K. Edwards, Vigo County; David Dayton, St, Joseph County; John S. Tarkington, Marion County; George A. Irvin, Allen County. The officers of the Board were: James D. Maxwell, President; R. W. Akin, Treasurer; Robert C. Foster, Secretary.

The picture carried on the University letter-head will be readily recognized by all who have ever observed the structure which still stands at the end of College Avenue between the Bloomington High School and Gymnasium. In the Annual Report and Catalogue of 1861-1862, a larger cut of this building, labeled INDIANA UNIVERSITY, is presented as a frontispiece. On the twenty-seventh page there appears a description of the then recently constructed hall of learning, which was a source of great and pardonable pride to all who had the welfare of the struggling institution at heart. Special notice is taken of the fact that three sides of the building could be observed by passengers on the "Louisville, New Albany and Chicago Railroad." The Trustees and President must have regarded seriously the advertising value of the impressions made by the University plant on those who were privileged to see it as they passed "on the cars", since the next hall erected on the old campus fronted directly on the railroad, being located just South and West of the first building and forming a right angle with it. The write-up of the new University home follows:


The new University Building is in the collegiate Gothic style, simply and truly carried out. The exterior of closely set brick work, the openings of doors and windows on principal front having cut stone dressings, the quoins and gable copings, string and base courses of same material, (a beautiful cream-colored limestone found in great abundance on the ground.) The length of front is 145 feet. The building consists of a center main building, 60 feet by 53 feet, and three stories high, gabled and surmounted by a bell turret, about 80 feet high. The Chapel, 66 by 50 feet, society rooms, committee rooms, and professors' room main hall and passages of communication to the wings, are in the center building.

The wings each about 38 feet by 26, also three stories high, but lower than the center—with intermediate spaces or side halls, in which are placed stairs, (to approach the chapel from either side;) the library, museum, recitation rooms, law lecture room, law library, President's room, &c, &c, in the wings. Under one wing where the ground falls considerably, a convenient laboratory has been fitted up, and provided with the apparatus necessary for the experimental illustration of the chemical course.

The site of the building is central across the line of the principal street, leading from the Court-House square, and with one end to the roailroad, so that both fronts of the building and one end, (in all of which the character is preserved), may be seen from the cars as they pass.

Just after the above description came a paragraph relating to Bloomington:


The village of Bloomington, the seat of the University, is pleasantly situated on the Louisville, New Albany and Chicago Railroad, in an elevated and well-watered limestone region. It is easy of access in all directions; and in point of morals, cheapness of living, and healthy climate, it is favorably located for the purpose of education. The population, consisting of about two thousand persons, is moral and intelligent, and well calculated to exert a salutary influence on the youth who resort to the University.

[The President's Letter]


Bloomington, Indiana

Hon. Evan Pugh

Agricultural College Pa.

Dear Sir,

Your letter of inquiries received some time ago but absence from home has delayed an answer until the present. I will answer your questions to the best of my ability.

The endowment is $80,000

Income from it 5,600


It is invested by the State on mortgage of real estate. Income from students is the Janitor Fee, $1.00 per Term. 3 Terms in the year, Tuition free for all.

Before the war, the Average no. of students was, 140, now about one hundred.

We teach 9 months in the year which is divided into three Terms, 1st. Vacation from Dec. 24 to Jan. 2d.—2d. Vacation from the 1st. of April, to the 9th. long Vacation from 2d. July to the Middle of Sept.

The cost for Tuition is nothing, for Books it varies with the standing of the student, from $3. to $5. dollars.

Boarding in Private families $2.50 per week; in Clubs $1.00. The no. of Prof &. salaries you will see per enclosed leaf of catalogue.

Text Books accompanied by lectures are used in all the studies except Ethics Asethetics Civil Polity and International Law.

I will mail a Catalogue herewith. Truly Yours.

C. Nutt

Published by the Indiana University Department of History.