A bold move!


The month of November is special here at Wabash. While the world around us grows colder and darker – talking temperature and daylight savings time issues – it is also a time of remembrance and celebration. For it was in the month of November that several brave and determined fellows gathered here in Crawfordsville for a monumental meeting. It is cold here in November, it is always cold here in November. It is also often wet and dark as the days grow shorter and shorter. How much  more impressive it is then that these fellows came from near and far to discuss founding a college in the Wabash Country. We know from the stories handed down that it was cold that year as the much heralded “Kneeling in the Snow” happened the next morning.

From the Wabash Magazine of June, 1907 we have this quote from Horace Hovey – the son of Edmund Hovey, “Everybody knows of the ‘Founder’s meeting’ at the Old Brick house in Crawfordsville, November 21, 1832. Rev. John M. Ellis presided; Rev. James Thomson stated the object of the meeting; Rev. Edmund Otis Hovey was secretary; Rev. John S. Thomson made the opening prayer; Rev. James A. Carnahan was present; also elders John Gilliland, John McConnell and Hezekiah Robinson and a visitor, Mr. Bradford King, of Rochester, New York, who infused the ‘manual labor’ idea. Hon. Williamson Dunn, who had already given fifty acres of land to Hanover College, authorized the offer of fifteen acres to this new born institution – which determined its location at Crawfordsville. When the five ministerial founders visited the spot and drove the corner stake for the first building, they all knelt in the snow while Rev. John M. Ellis made the dedicatory prayer.”

These fellows were young, nearly penniless, but determined. They were religious men, missionaries, ministers and elders in the local Presbyterian Church. They were all clear in their determination that if the churches and schools of this area were to thrive, they would need men educated as preachers and teachers. If the Wabash Country was to prosper then education and organized religion had to be the foundations. The likelihood of enough preachers and teachers coming to this frontier settlement was small. Clearly, they would need to grow the educational and religious systems from within this area. A school was needed that could take the young men of the area and educate them for duty in the schools and churches. It was with this in mind that James Thomson called a meeting at his snug little home late in November. It was with the enthusiasm of youth and a belief in the divine that decided upon a bold course of action. They would accept the offer of the donated land. The morning after the meeting at Thomson’s several of those present walked through the woods to inspect the site. We can imagine a crisp, cold morning with the sun glinting off of the snow like a million diamonds. It must have seemed as if, in that moment, anything was possible. They knelt and prayed, consecrating the site to this audacious undertaking. And now, nearly two centuries later, the small college for men that they blessed continues to educate preachers and teachers. They would delight to know that it also educates men of science, poets and artists, doctors and lawyers, musicians and mathematicians. Their dream of a college continues and stronger than ever. So as we look toward 200, it is so important to look back as well. To think of these determined young men and to honor their hardships and struggles and to realize what a bold move this was so many years ago.

All best,

Beth Swift

Archivist, Wabash College

Birth of basketball?

YMCA gymnasium in 1906.


Here is a picture to brighten your day!

This shot is of the YMCA gymnasium in downtown Crawfordsville, circa 1906. Note the baskets still gathered at the bottom. The floor had many a potential star, including one of the greatest coaches ever to come out of Indiana – Piggy Lambert of Purdue. It was Piggy who coached John Wooden who was later known as the the “Wizard of Westwood.”

Much has been made of the early adoption of the game by the folks in Crawfordsville. For a closer and more detailed look at the facts, I would recommend a paper by S. Chandley Lighty. Here is a link:

Lighty presents a clear, well-reasoned  argument. I  highly recommend reading it.

All best,

Beth Swift


Wabash College






Advertisement for Wabash College highlighting the new dormitory.

The year of 1838 held a great deal of promise. The new building was coming along nicely, plans were finalized for the first ever Wabash College commencement.  As a fledgling college on the frontier, it might not surprise us that there were only two students who qualified to graduate. The usual course was two years of preparatory classes followed by four years of the classical course. These two students, Silas Jessup and Archibald Allen, finished in five.

The mood on campus later that summer might have been a good bit less celebratory due to an ever widening schism in the church of our founders. The Presbyterian Church in the United States was going through a great turmoil of faith. The sides became more clearly defined over time and boiled down to Old Lights and New Lights. The old lights were stricter, kept the Sabbath activity free and did not believe in educating through Sunday schools. The new lights were in favor of education wherever it might be shared, abolitionism and viewed their god as a more forgiving and loving god. Later that summer of 1838 a minister came over from Indianapolis to preach at the Presbyterian Church here in town. Imagine the distress the founders and early faculty must have felt as they were DENOUNCED from the pulpit of their own church and removed from the membership. Our founders and their helpers in the field of God’s work were New Lights or from the progressive wing of the faith. Undeterred by this attempt at shaming, those who were denounced immediately began making plans to found their own church – Center Church. It was located on the corner of Washington and Pike Streets and stood there for many years before being demolished.

With plans in place to make a new church founded on their views, it was now time to return the focus to the start of classes. The snippet of the article, pictured above, tells us about the student accommodations in the new building. Classes started on September 13th.

From the Indiana Gazetteer of 1849

This design of the building, later known as South Hall, is clear in this 1849 drawing from the Indiana Gazetteer. The College, as it was known, was the first building on this campus. At four stories it was a marvel to all who saw it. At long last, six years after the founding, Wabash was growing beyond its humble Forest Hall beginning. Land enough to grow was secured by the purchase of 160 acres. Much of this was immediately sold off, at a profit, and by 1838 funds were in hand to begin the building project.

Our first president, Elihu Baldwin, was a Yale man recruited by Edmund Hovey to leave his comfortable NYC church. With an engaging manner and a passion for the benefits of a well-rounded liberal arts education, Baldwin began raising money for the college right away. Three years later as they prepared to build their new college building, one wonders if Baldwin’s memories of the beauty of New Haven came to mind. Ithiel Town was a successful architect who designed and built two beautiful churches near Yale, just as Baldwin entered the school. It is impossible to say from this distance in time, but the connection is interesting.  At any rate, the firm, Town and Davis of New Haven, Connecticut, prepared plans for Wabash of a combination dormitory, chapel, library and lecture rooms.

The College, as the building was always called until Center Hall was built, was designed to be fireproof. It was divided into three divisions – north, middle and south. Separating each of these divisions was a brick wall that ran from the basement all the way to the attic. The floors were of a double thickness and covered with lime plaster. On account of this and other preventative measures, the building was not insured against fire.

A photograph from 1875 showing South Hall as it was built. Shortly after this picture was taken a disastrous renovation began which would lead to structural damage. In the end this building was demolished to build Baxter Hall in the 1960’s.

In the previous installment, we remember that through triumph and struggles, hard work and perseverance Wabash was building a brand new, four story building. This building was to be a dormitory, house classrooms, a library and a chapel. The south division completed, the library stocked, the science classrooms furnished with the latest in equipment and 30 or so students were now residing in this four story marvel.

All was well, the workmen were finishing up the last bits of the north division with the tinners on the roof. It was late on a Friday evening when the town awoke in the middle of the night to the sounds of catastrophe and the cries of “FIRE!!!”  A local boy, John Cowan later a student here, remembered it quite clearly many years later. He ran to the campus where he saw Caleb Mills at his bedroom window, “I ran as fast as I could to the College, and as I neared the burning building my attention was attracted by Professor Mills who had just been awakened, and was standing at his bedroom window looking toward the scene of the fire. I never shall forget the deep distress in his voice, for he was crying as if his heart were broken.”

Cowan continues with the tale of Caleb Mills, Man of Action, “…he came hurrying with his usual impetuosity, and at once organized the students and a few citizens into a “bucket” line, from the cistern and well, to the lower rooms on the Southwest side of the building. He then rushed in where bricks and debris were falling, at the very risk of his life, to receive the buckets of water, hoping to save the lower rooms of that division. In this way, the lower floor was not burned through. Finally when Prof. Mills came out he was scarcely recognizable, owing to his blackened face and being covered with dust.” Happily no students died, but many lost all they owned. Some returned and some never did.

Headline from the New York Observer reporting on the blaze. The publisher, Sidney Morse, was a very great friend of Wabash president Elihu Baldwin.

It was an agonizing setback and most thought that was the end of this scrappy little school. A meeting with the town was held immediately and all agreed the College should be rebuilt. In fact, the people of the town had been gathering money to create a woman’s college here as well. That money was used to begin repairs on the building right away.  It is for this substantial assistance that the plaque on the mall side of Baxter Hall thanks the people of Crawfordsville.

The catalog for the next year carried a letter from Caleb Mills to all interested parties titled Calamity, Present Prospects, Condition, “The Trustees immediately resolved to rebuild and the work commenced on the third day after the fire. College exercises were resumed in commodious rooms in town… aided by timely donations, of the friends of the College, and the smiles of a Kind Providence, the repairs are so far advanced that the building will be ready for occupancy by students at the commencement of next term on the 12th of September.”

1860’s photo of the Hanna Building, on the corner of Main and Washington, where Wabash classes were held after the fire of September 23, 1838. Hanna was a close friend of the college and an early trustee.

We see back through time with the benefit of knowing how this story goes on into the future. But at that time, in the year of 1838, there was no way to know if this adventure in education would survive. It was through sheer determination that these pioneering educators continued their good work. Indeed, when the fire started President Baldwin was in NYC raising money for Wabash. President Baldwin’s friends told him that he should return to New York in light of this tragedy to which he responded, “Oh no! There is only the more work to do.” There was work to do and they did it. The students were back in classes in a couple of days in borrowed rooms downtown and lived with families in town. By the start of the next school year the building was reopened, although incomplete. In fact, it would be another seven years before it was truly finished. But these fellows were tough and determined. OR, as we say today, Wabash Always Fights!!!

Beth Swift


Wabash College

Crawfordsville, Indiana



McCanliss Athletic Center – boy was THAT close!

Architect’s rendering of proposed new gymnasium on campus.

So often as we look back over our history, things seem to make sense and fit nicely into our perception of the Wabash Campus. There are a small number of buildings that house classes. There is Center Hall, built in three stages and serving as home to the Administration as well as the Philosophy, Religion and English departments. The buildings on campus just seem to all make sense. That is the result of careful planning and strong determination.

When I first saw the image above, I was rather put off by it. It is one idea that was pursued when it was clear that the old Armory/Gym combo was not adequate to meet the needs of Wabash men. Solicited in the mid-60s, this drawing shows a dome like bubble which comprises the fieldhouse. We can see the football players on the field and at the right is, I believe, the swimming pool.

And yet, we have no building that looks anything like the drawing above. How did this happen? We can ascribe it to one man with a passion for a certain sort of architecture and very deep pockets. That man is Lee McCanliss [W1907] a lawyer in NYC and former President of the Board of Trustees. McCanliss did not care for modern architecture, what he liked was what architect Eric Gugler’s firm offered.

Eric Gugler was a prolific architect with strong connections to the Roosevelts. He designed FDR’s Warm Springs retreat, rebuilt the West Wing and designed a WWII memorial in Italy [a marble duplicate of our brick Sparks Center] and, on cmapus, Waugh Hall, Sparks, Lilly Library and Baxter Hall. It was the New York Wabash men who brought Gugler to campus for the first project, Waugh Hall. Due to a funding constraint, the money given to Wabash College to build a new science hall had to be utilized by a certain date. With first the Depression, and then WWII, the time to build came hard and fast on the heels of the end of the war. Lee McCanliss was the president of the Board and brought Gugler to Wabash. After Waugh Hall, the Campus Center was next. And so it is that much of what we think of when we think of Wabash was designed by Gugler.

Fast forward to the mid-60’s and the talk of a new sporting complex and the modern design above….Lee McCanliss was so put off by this design that he donated a great deal of money to the project, on the condition that he get to pick the architect. He chose Gugler.

This is the McCanliss Athletic Center as completed and dedicated in 1968. The picture above is the north entry, about where the main entry for the Allen Center is today. In constructing the Allen Center in the 1990s the McCanliss facilities were built around and enclosed. The complex has grown a lot since that time and continues to grow. The students really seem to love it as it receives high marks among small college athletic facilities.

All best,

Beth Swift


Wabash College

Commencement of 1923

It is May and in 2018 that means it is time for Commencement. Let’s go back nearly a century and have a look at some fabulous pictures from the Commencement of June 1923. In the photograph above we see the members of the faculty and Board of Trustees preparing for the procession into the ceremony. In the center of this image, standing right at the limestone column and facing us is Thomas Riley Marshall, former Vice President of the United States and member of the class of 1873. Marshall served on the Board of Trustees for many years and was the commencement speaker for 1923. Just to the right is a tall fellow in academic regalia, that is President Mackintosh.

Another view of the scene. In the picture below we see folks lined up and in the center-left a small group at a bench.

Zoom in and facing us is a very young Lloyd B. Howell, Wabash class of 1909. As you can see, he is not in academic regalia as he joined the faculty a year later, in 1924. A fixture of the 20th century sciences at Wabash, Doc Howell taught for 35 years, until 1959.

Off they go to the ceremony. These pictures are marked with numbers, #1 is President Mackintosh or Doc Mack, as he was fondly known to students.  Beside him is #2 Vice President Marshall. and following closely is the beginning of the alumni procession with the oldest class first.

Across the mall and headed toward the gymnasium. The men in the middle are members of the Board of Trustees, then Mackintosh and Marshall and then the alumni procession in class year order. Back before the Big Bash, alumni reunions were at Commencement.

This is the gym, still fairly new at that point. You may note that surrounding the floor where the crowd is sitting is what appears to be dirt. The gym when built was all a dirt floor. The wooden part was the basketball floor, put down for the season, or special occasions, but which could be removed.

After the granting of degrees and the speech making are over, a picnic in the Arboretum was next. Look closely and see the class years attached to the trees, guiding alums to their spots.

In the photos we can see the flags hanging in the trees.

All in all quite a festive scene. So here’s to the Class of 1923 and their big day, 95 years later. And here’s to the Class of 2018, may their years be prosperous and their lives be long!

All best, 

Beth Swift


Wabash College

Crawfordsville, Indiana

Founding editor and a young man of great talent

Maurice Hale Brubaker W1908

In this, the third in a series focusing on The Bachelor’s earliest days, I would like to highlight one of the young men who helped to found The Bachelor and who served as its first Editor-in Chief.

Maurice Hale Brubaker, known to his friends as Hale, was born in Columbia City, Indiana in May of 1886. He graduated from the local high school in 1903 and secured a job with the Columbia City Commercial Mail, while he also held jobs at the local post office and taught school. This drive to achieve and his strong work ethic served him well and in the fall of 1905 Hale entered Wabash College. Seemingly always in a hurry, he finished in three years, despite a very busy on-campus schedule. Not only that, but he was also elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Looking back, over a century later, it appears that Hale was one of those young men who shine brightly wherever they go.

The story of the founding of The Bachelor, in detail, may be found in the previous post. As you may read, several young men were present but I suppose it was not an accident that the founding meeting was held in Brubaker’s room, or that he led the discussion. The founding story also serves to show that in virtually every activity, he was a leader, a man trusted by his fellow students.  No surprise then that he was The Bachelor’s first Editor-in-Chief. Fifty years later, one of those students remembered that of all of the copy that ran in the paper, Brubaker and another student, Ed Ziegner, wrote 90% of it.

To show that Brubaker was acknowledged as a leader, not just at Wabash, but among his peers statewide, we have this item from The Bachelor of April 13, 1908 reporting on the Indiana Press Club’s Annual Meeting, “At the business meeting in the evening, officers were chosen for next year. Those selected were: A. L. Hawkins of Indiana, Pres.; Paul Caldwell of Purdue, vice-pres.; Edward Lockwood of DePauw, corresponding secretary; M. H. Brubaker of Wabash, recording sec.; and George James of Indiana, treasurer.” One of five men to hold office statewide, Brubaker was once again chosen as a leader.

This young man was a leader, he was smart, he could write, and it seems he had other talents as well. From The Bachelor of June 6, 1908 the theater reviewer, we assume not Brubaker, states unequivocally, “M.H. Brubaker, as John Dennell the “Ring” boss, was one of the best characters in the play. Mr. Brubaker was at ease and his enunciation was good. It would be hard to improve upon his portrayal.” Hale was a talented actor!

And less we suppose that all of these activities caused his grades to slump, remember that he finished in three years and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa at Wabash. In addition, The Bachelor of April 4, 1908 adds to our portrait, “M.H. Brubaker and J.W. Macy have received scholarships in the law department of Columbia University.” Now we see a fuller picture of this remarkable student and his time at Wabash.

Brubaker went to New York City and enrolled in the School of Law at Columbia. As he had done here on campus, Brubaker worked hard, joined clubs and helped out where he saw the need. From The Bachelor of December 13, 1909 comes this story, “Maurice Hale Brubaker, ’08, who is attending the Law School of Columbia University, New York, is the business manager of The Civic Journal, a weekly put out by the People’s Institute of that city. The object of the organization and publication is the practical education of Americans in citizenship, the organization of civic clubs for young men and cooperation with all other organizations having similar objects… Mr. Brubaker had been working for the People’s Institute for more than a year past and was in a position to be useful to them in putting out the paper.” Indeed his experience on The Bachelor would have been tremendously helpful to this non-profit.

And, just as today, alumni around the country gather with other Wabash men in their area for food, drinks and remembrance of things past. Brubaker joined the New York group of Wabash men. Here is a snippet from page 1 of The Bachelor of January 27, 1910 about plans to help fundraise for the desperately needed new gym. “NEW GYMNASIUM PLANNED BY ALUMNI Graduates of Classes Since 1900 Hope to Raise Fund for New Athletic Building. Among the most potent workers in the new movement are the New York alumni, chief among whose members may be mentioned Leo Kelley, ’07, M. H. Brubaker, ’08, and B. R. Hoobler, ’01…Contributions already promised from the alumni and their friends form a considerable fund. It is planned that impetus be added to this movement by an elaborate reunion of all of the alumni who have graduated during the last fifteen years, to be held here next commencement.”

The next time there is a mention of this most excellent young man, it too is on page one, written by the men who knew him best, his fellow Bachelor writers. In the edition of December 12, 1910 a column length obituary appeared with distinctive black bars top and bottom, which denote mourning. The column was a fairly matter of fact listing of his achievements and the pertinent facts of a life cut short. On page two of that same issue, in the editorial column below, there is more of a personal sense of loss.

We will never know what this talented young man might have become, but it seems clear that his future was bright. What we do know for sure is that the paper he founded is still strong, over a century later. This is evidenced by a recent piece which carried the headline, “The Bachelor is Best in Indiana” found here: The first line of the piece would, no doubt, make Brubaker very proud, For the fourth time in the last nine years, Wabash College’s student newspaper, The Bachelor was named Newspaper of the Year by the Indiana Collegiate Press Association (ICPA).”

So cheers to The Bachelor of today, cheers to the founders and cheers to the journalistic legacy handed down from generation to generation. All those earnest young men working late at night, writing and editing away to pull the paper together by the deadline. And for over a century doing it all simply for the love of it and to give the students, faculty and staff of Wabash a paper of excellence.

All best,

Beth Swift, Archivist

Wabash College

The founding of The Bachelor

The last Dear Old Wabash post was a celebration of the student newspaper here at Wabash, The Bachelor, which has been around for 110 years. In this post, we will look more closely at the club that started the drive for a paper, the founding meeting, and the founders. Here is an account of the meeting that began this venture, told many years later by Harold Hawk, Wabash class of 1911 and later an assistant professor of English at the University of Colorado.

“I remember well the Sunday afternoon The Bachelor was born; at any rate, the afternoon the dream was dreamed aloud and the idea became a prognosis on paper in the form of scribbled notes, complete with name and its first staff. There were many others present, but I remember particularly well Brubaker, in whose room the meeting was held…and Calvin George and Joe Daniels and a fellow called Turnip, whose name I’ve forgotten. Even with six on the bed, there weren’t places enough for us to sit down…Brubaker was in charge.” The Bachelor 04 02 1954 p.3.

Here are pictures of some of those students.

Unviversally acknowledged as the man in charge, the founding meeting was held in his room. Bru, as he was known to friends, served as The Bachelor’s first Editor-in-Chief.

Wabash Class of 1911 and co-founder of the Indy power lawfirm Baker Daniels.

From the editorial page of the first issue of The Bachelor, “With this issue, THE BACHELOR makes its bow to Wabash and her friends. The publication has been undertaken by the Press Club as something of which the college has long felt the want. Other schools of the class in which Wabash belongs have successfully published newspapers and there is no valid reason why the undertaking here should not be successful. The college is too small to support a daily paper but at the same time demands something more than a monthly publication.” The last refers to The Wabash Magazine, a magazine published here beginning in 1857 as a literary showcase, primarily for student writers. The editorial which appeared on page two of the first issue of The Bachelor continues by stating its intentions, “THE BACHELOR will in no sense be of a partisan nature but will endeavor simply to publish the news of the college in an unbiased, unprejudiced manner.”

The new student paper came as an outgrowth of the Wabash Press Club and its members formed the staff. Again, from that first edition, “In March of 1907, the Press Club of Wabash College was organized by the class in English Composition II and its membership was limited to such students as proposed taking up newspaper or literary work…To be eligible for membership a man must be at least a Sophomore and must not be below the average in his class-room work in English.”

“Deac” Walter gives more details in a Bachelor article 50 years later.

In another account from April of 1958 by “Deac” (Henry Harter) Walters, Wabash class of 1909, “There were two men who stand out in my memory as those who were most energetic and should be known as the originators. M. H. Brubaker was the first Editor. Associated with him was Ed Ziegner…Brubaker and Ziegner wrote the paper the first year with the exception of describing sports events, which I took over. When I write ‘wrote the paper’ I mean that they produced 90% of the copy.” Walters continues, “The Bachelor was not started with any idea of a crusade. It was simply to publish the news of the College and matters of interest to the students. I think it has continued to fulfill this purpose.”

Ed Ziegner was a talented writer and became a successful journalist, but also stands out in Wabash history for coining the phrase, “WABASH ALWAYS FIGHTS!

Deac Walters was correct in his assessment and 110 years after its founding, The Bachelor continues to publish the news of the College and matters of interest to the current students. In the next post, we will learn more about the man whose vision lives on in the student newspaper he founded.

Beth Swift, Archivist

Wabash College


Happy 110!

One of the coolest artifacts we have on display here in the Ramsay Archives at Wabash is this printing plate. Featuring a large photograph of Thomas Riley Marshall, this is the plate that printed the first ever issue of The Bachelor, the campus newspaper that is coming right up on its 110th anniversary. This issue was published on April 9, 1908 just as Marshall had captured the nomination of the Democratic party for Governor of Indiana. In the fall Marshall won the election and it was this victory that propelled him on to the national stage and into Woodrow Wilson’s administration.

Also mentioned on this inaugural front page was the competition to represent Wabash to the Rhodes Scholarship committee. Wabash had three men qualified, but the Rhodes people stated clearly that only one man could represent Wabash. A committee comprised of faculty members and delegates from the junior and senior classes at Wabash took a secret vote and chose Claude A. Pifer [W1907] as our applicant. By April 20th The Bachelor was reporting that Pifer had won the Cecil Rhodes scholarship to Oxford, beginning a rare new tradition at Wabash.

Here is the paper that was printed off of this plate.

In addition to the other items of news, the article in the right column is a report on the glee club spring tour of nearby Indiana towns. Reading these reports, one gets the idea that the tours were more exciting than it would appear from the destinations – Noblesville and Anderson are not far and certainly not exotic destinations. Still, there were hotels, friends of the college, alumni and, perhaps best of all to the glee guys, pretty girls in each town. The reports of these tours always include notes of a young man who “lost his  heart” while on tour.

The back pages of this paper are filled with advertisements for local stores, restaurants and services. The Bachelor started off on a strong footing which included significant support from local businesses and alumni. This first issue contained a call to all students to bring forth their news, write for the paper or simply to talk it up so that others would support it.

And 110 years later, the paper is still doing just what it did in the beginning. It highlights the accomplishments of Wabash men, current and past. It reports on immersion trips – large and small. It delivers sports coverage and editorial content in a timely manner.

So here’s to The Bachelor and another 110 years of documenting the life of this college and the lives of her faculty, staff and students.

Beth Swift


Wabash College

Our very first archivist

Our first Archivist – Edmund O. Hovey!

Well, that is what we might call him today. But in 1832 he was a jack of all trades – minister, science faculty, the Advancement department, building and grounds manager and, in his spare time he preserved the earliest bits of Wabash history. Today you can see his archives and read all about the struggles involved in starting a college in the wilderness. And it all comes to your device wherever you are thanks to Lilly library Cataloger Brian McCafferty.  Hovey’s letters and his even more amazing scrapbook are now online and searchable.

From this beautiful old letter from Williamson Dunn to James Thomson of November 12, 1832 we get the following, “If you should determine to procede [sic] in this project either on the Manual Labor plan or otherwise whenever you wish to erect buildings you may consider me bound to make a deed to two acres of land for a site at or about the place you and myself were examining when there last…”

This letter may be seen at the link above along with loads of other letters detailing the trials and tribulations in the pioneer days of Indiana. Fundraising in the east, reaching the “point of desperation” and triumphing over illness, the death of friends and colleagues and even watching your college catch fire and burn. All these and more are contained in the Hovey Letters collection.

The Hovey Scrapbook is an additional digital project, which may be found here:

This page contains Hovey’s notes on the first meeting where the idea of a college in the Wabash Country was widely agreed upon and the donation of land from Williamson Dunn sealed the deal.

These two projects contain within them the Archives of Wabash College from its founding until Hovey’s death in the 1870s. A real look at events that often feel more like myth. The founding of a college in what was still the wilderness was a brave, bold move and nearly 190 years later, it is still going strong. I think the founders would be pleased to see what became of their humble start.

All best,

Beth Swift


Wabash College


Christmas greetings from Don Cole

As the days shorten and the end of the year draws closer, I love to celebrate the holidays to chase away the gloom. So for this month’s post, here is a little gem of a cartoon as drawn by Wabash’s own Don Cole [W1952] for Christmas.

An amazing artist, Cole is credited with creating Wally Wabash, the original. For more on this talented alumnus, go to this link:


Happy Holidays from all of us here in the Archives!

Beth Swift

Archivist of the College

Crawfordsville, IN