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Centre College Presidents

Collection Outline
Digital Archives

See Centre College Digital Archives - Presidents for digitized versions of selected items from the following inventory

Collection Description

The Centre College Presidents Papers were initially compiled from a mass of documents found in various campus locations in the early 1980s. Since there was no comprehensive order, and since no complete runs of papers existed for any one President, the main body of the presidential papers were not delineated by sub-groups. Instead, all the material was simply divided by type of document, assigned a series designation, and arranged chronologically.

Sometime later two complete sets of presidential files were located in the basement of Old Centre. The first was a series of files on various subjects maintained by Centre presidents approximately from the 1920s to the 1940s, although a few documents from earlier and later years had been interfiled. This collection was designated CC-2.1 President's Office - Subject Files. The second set comprised the office files of President Walter A. Groves, and was designated CC-2.3 Walter A. Groves Papers.

The files of the nineteenth and early twentieth century presidents are disappointing small. The largest percentage of the early presidential papers center on three presidents: John C. Young (1830-1857), Ormond Beatty (1868-1888), and Frederick W. Hinitt (1904-1915). Much of President Young's correspondence concerns his efforts at fund raising, scholarships, the hiring of faculty, and discussions of slavery. Several of the letters are typed transcripts or photocopies of documents held in other repositories, and collected by Dr. Frank H. Heck, Centre College history professor. Dr. Beatty's correspondence concerns fund raising, the building and dedication of Old Main, faculty relations, land and investing, relations between the northern and southern synods of the Presbyterian Church, and the conferring of honorary degrees. Dr. Hinitt's correspondence concerns the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, intercollegiate athletics, campus buildings, the General Education Board (Rockefeller Fund), and public schools. There is a small run of correspondence during William Ganfield's term concerning the student Army Training Corps and World War I, reports of the state of Centre, endowments, and the General Education Board. There is a significant amount of correspondence during Hewlett's term as acting president (1942-1944), almost all of which concerns Centre and the Army Air Corps' 20th College Training Detachment.

CC-2.1 consists of the previously mentioned President's Office Subject Files. The subjects are largely self-explanatory, but it should be pointed out that the college's annual reports to the Board of Trustees from 1922-1947 are contained in the subject file "Board of Trustees, Reports to". Earlier annual reports may be found in CC-13 Early Centre Financial Papers.

CC-2.2 contains the Robert L. McLeod, Jr., Papers. A recent donation of additional McLeod papers led to the establishment of a separate sub-group, consisting largely of correspondence concerning McLeod's acceptance of Centre's presidency, his inauguration, the Civilian Pilot Training program at Centre during World War LL, and his military service record as a chaplain in the U.S. Navy.

CC-2.3 contains the Walter A. Groves Papers, covering his presidency from 1947 to 1957. The order of the collection indicates his files survived fairly intact. The majority of the collection consists of college and general correspondence and special subject files.

CC-2.4 contains the Thomas A. Spragens Papers, a large and significant collection of material from an important period in the history of Centre College and of American higher education. The bulk of the collection is essentially President Spragens' office files, and maintains the original order of the files. Another group of records concerns Centre's relations with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.) and (U.S.A.). Smaller collections deal with other aspects of the Spragens' presidency.

CC-2.5 contains the Richard L. Morrill Papers. Consisting almost entirely of office files, the group maintains the original order and folder designation of the records.

CC-2.6 contains the Michael F. Adams Papers, Centre president from 1988 to 1997. Although few items have been processed, there exists in the archives a large amount of unprocessed material, including correspondence, installation material, subject files, and Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) papers.

CC-2.7 contains the John A. Roush Papers, Centre president from 1998 to the present. Very little has been added to this collection.

Collection Inventory
James McChord Papers
On March 4, 1820, the Board of Trustees of the newly chartered Centre College elected James McChord as its first president, but he suddenly died on May 29, 1820.
Folder 1Correspondence, dated December 5, 1808
Folder 2Biographical data and miscellaneous materials concerning James McChord
Volume 1McChord, James. A Plea "For the Hope of Israel." Philadelphia: Port Folio Office, 1817
Jeremiah Chamberlain Papers
Jeremiah Chamberlain served as president of Centre College from 1822 until 1826.
Folder 1Correspondence, 1823-1826
Folder 2Correspondence, 1830-1845
Folder 3Correspondence, 1846-1851
Folder 4Announcement for the opening of Louisiana College (under President Jeremiah Chamberlain) January 1, 1827; pencil sketches of the designs of monuments to Jeremiah and James Chamberlain at Oakland College, 1852
Folder 5Newspaper clippings on the murder of Chamberlain; consists of one copy of The Daily Picayne (New Orleans) September 13, 1851, "The tragedy at Oakland College" and "The late tragedy in Mississippi"
Gideon Blackburn Papers
Gideon Blackburn served as president of Centre College from 1827 to 1830
Folder 1Correspondence, 1829-1831
Folder 2Biographical data and miscellaneous materials concerning Gideon Blackburn
John C. Young Papers
Box 1
John C. Young served as president of Centre College from 1830 to 1857
Folder 1Correspondence, undated, and dated 1832-1836
Folder 2Correspondence, 1837-1851
Folder 3Correspondence, 1853-1857
Folder 4Reports to Board of Trustees, dated 1840, 1844, and 1845; "Students at different periods at Centre College" (transcript, original Breckinridge Family Papers, Library of Congress)
Folder 5Miscellaneous biographical material on John C. Young and the Young family; wills of John C. Young and Zillah Y. Jacobs; agreement between the Centre College Trustees and Eugenia Young, Sarah L. Young, and Zillah Y. Jacobs establishing the John C. and William C.Young Foundation.
John C. Young Papers
Box 2
Volume 1Young, John C. Address of Rev. John C. Young Delivered at His Inauguration as President of Centre College, Danville, Nov. 18, 1830. Lexington, Ky.: T.T. Skillman, 1830
Volume 2Young, John C. Address to the Senior Class, Delivered at the Commencement in Centre College, September 22d, 1831. Danville, Ky.: J.J. Polk, 1831.
Volume 3Young, John C. Redemption by the Blood of Christ. A Sermon Preached in the Presbyterian Church, in Harrodsburg, Ky., on Sunday, March 13, 1831. Lexington, Ky.: Thomas T. Skillman, 1831.
Volume 4Young, John C. Address on Temperance: Delivered at the Court House in Lexington, Ky. Lexington, Ky.: T.T. Skillman, 1834.
Volume 5Young, John C. "Conversion of Sinners" Presbyterian Preacher, vol. 4, no. 11. Pittsburgh, 1836.
Volume 6Young family record book
Volume 7Journal of manuscript lectures, dated August 5-October 25, 1788, owned by Rev. John Young, the father of John C. Young
Lewis W. Green Papers
Lewis W. Green served as president of Centre College from 1857 to 1863.
Folder 1Correspondence, undated, and dated 1858-1863
Volume 1Addresses Delivered at the Inauguration of Rev. Lewis W. Green, D.D., as President of Transylvania University and State Normal School, November 18, 1856. Frankfort, 1856.
Volume 2Inaugural Address Delivered Before the Synod of Kentucky, at Lebanon, October 14, 1848. Frankfort, 1858.
William L. Breckinridge Papers
William L. Breckinridge served as president of Centre College from 1863 to 1868.
Folder 1Correspondence, 1863-1864 (photocopies)
Folder 2Miscellaneous biographical information
Folder 3A Christian College: Its Instruction and Its Government. The Inaugural Address by Rev. Dr. William H. Breckinridge, President of Centre College. Cincinnati, 1864.
Ormond Beatty Papers
Ormond Beatty served as president of Centre College from 1868 to 1888. See also CC-72 Beatty Family Papers for non-presidential material relating to Beatty.
Folder 1Correspondence, 1869-1872
Folder 2Correspondence, 1873-1875
Folder 3Correspondence, 1876-1878
Folder 4Correspondence, 1879-1891
Folder 5Correspondence, 1882-1883
Folder 6Correspondence, 1884-1888
Folder 7Biographical data and miscellaneous materials
Folder 8Speeches, addresses, and miscellaneous essays
  • Beatty, Ormond. "State Education." Delivered Before the Committee of the House of Representatives on the A. and M. College of Kentucky (University of Kentucky), on the 16th and 23rd of January 1882. Danville: Kentucky Advocate, 1882
  • Beatty, Ormond. Baccalaureate address, 1886
Volume 1Manuscript of address to the graduating class of 1886.
William C. Young Papers
William C. Young served as president of Centre College from 1888 to 1896.
Folder 1Correspondence, undated and dated 1890-1893
Folder 2Biographical data and miscellaneous materials
Folder 3Inaugural program (October 9, 1889)
William C. Roberts
William C. Roberts served as president of Centre College from 1898 to 1903.
Folder 1Correspondence, 1898-1901.
Folder 2Correspondence, 1903.
Folder 3Biographical data and miscellaneous materials
Folder 4Inaugural Address (October 13, 1898).
Volume 1Book of published sermons and miscellaneous materials by William C. Roberts.
Frederick W. Hinitt
Frederick W. Hinitt served as president of Centre College from 1904 to 1915.
Folder 1Correspondence, 1901-1905
Folder 2Correspondence, 1906
Folder 3Correspondence, January-October 1907
Folder 4Correspondence, November-December 1907
Folder 5Correspondence, January-June 1908
Folder 6Correspondence, July 1905-June 1909
Folder 7Correspondence, July 1909-October 1910
Folder 8Correspondence, March 1911-June 1913
Folder 9Correspondence, July 1-5, 1913
Folder 10Correspondence, July 8-September 25, 1913
Folder 11Correspondence, October 1913-January 1915
Folder 12Biographical and inaugural materials
Folder 13Speeches, addresses, miscellaneous essays
  • Hinitt, Frederick W. "What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." New York: The College Board of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.
  • Hinitt, Frederick W. ""Religion and education, or, What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." Danville, Ky.: Central University, 1914
William A. Ganfield Papers
William A. Ganfield served as president of Centre College from 1915 to 1921.
Folder 1Correspondence, May 1915
Folder 2Correspondence, August-July, 1918
Folder 3Correspondence, August-September, 1918
Folder 4Correspondence, October-November, 1918
Folder 5Correspondence, December 1918-July 1919
Folder 6Correspondence, June 1920-December 1921
Folder 7Speeches, addresses, miscellaneous essays
  • Ganfield, William A. "Our Changing Social Order." Address by Ganfield before the Kentucky State Bar Association at Louisville, Ky., July 6, 1916. Louisville: Westerfield Bonte Co., Inc., 1916
R. Ames Montgomery Papers
R. Ames Montgomery served as president of Centre College from 1922 to 1926.
Folder 1Correspondence, undated, and dated February 1922-February 1925
Folder 2Inaugural materials
Folder 3Speeches, addresses, miscellaneous essays
  • Montgomery, R. Ames. "History of Centre College Goes Back to Pioneer Days."
  • Montgomery, R. Ames. "The Function of the Christian College." Inaugural address by Montgomery, Danville, Ky., June 11, 1923. Includes other addresses
  • Montgomery, R. Ames. "The Winning Team." Collection of talks delivered in the college chapel Monday mornings following football games. 1923
Charles J. Turck Papers
Charles J. Turck served as president of Centre College from 1927 to 1936.
Folder 1Correspondence, 1927-1929; July 1932; July 25, 1934
Folder 2Biographical data and miscellaneous materials
Folder 3Inaugural program (October 21, 1927)
Folder 4Speeches, addresses, miscellaneous essays
  • Turck, Charles J. "In memory of Mr. J. A. Cheek" May 30, 1934
  • Turck, Charles J. "Centre College, 1846-1840.": July 24, 1930
  • Turck, Charles J. "Centre College of Kentucky." 1929-30
  • Turck, Charles J. "Education and Presbyterianism in Kentucky." Delivered at the 150th anniversary of the establishment of Presbyterianism in Kentucky, Harrodsburg, Ky. October 20, 1933
  • Turck, Charles J. "The Legal History of Centre College"
  • Turck, Charles J. "The Story of Centre College" Fall, 1958
  • Turck, Charles J. Untitled brief biography of President John C. Young submitted to the Dictionary of American Biography. December, 1934
James H. Hewlett Papers
James H. Hewlett served as president pro tem of Centre College from 1942 to 1944 and 1946.
Folder 1Correspondence, 1937-1938
Folder 2Correspondence, December 1942
Folder 3Correspondence, January 1943
Folder 4Correspondence, February 1943
Folder 5Correspondence, March 1943
Folder 6Correspondence, April 2-April 19, 1943
Folder 7Correspondence, April 20-May 19, 1943
Folder 8Correspondence, May 21-31, 1943
Folder 9Correspondence, June 1943
Folder 10Correspondence, August 1943
Folder 11Correspondence, September 1943
Folder 12Correspondence, October 1943
Folder 13Correspondence, November-December 1943
Folder 14Correspondence, January-February 1944
Folder 14Correspondence, March 1944
Folder 14Correspondence, April 1944
Folder 14Correspondence, May-July 1944
Folder 15Speeches, addresses, miscellaneous essays
  • Hewlett, James H. "Centre College." 1936
  • Hewlett, James H. "Tribute to a College." Delivered as part of a radio program, January 21, 1944 by WHAS, Louisville on the 125th anniversary of the christening of Centre College
  • Hewlett, James H. Untitled address probably delivered as part of a program honoring Centre's 125th anniversary. May 20, 1944
Robert J. McMullen Papers
Robert J. McMullen served as president of Centre College from 1944 to 1946.
Folder 1Correspondence, September, 1945; May 8, 1946
Folder 2Inaugural program (May 26, 1945)