The Announcement [catalog] of Kentucky University [Transylvania University] for the Year 1865-’66, Lexington, KY., 1865. Unlisted author.

The Announcement [catalog] of Kentucky University [Transylvania University] for the Year 1865-’66, Lexington, KY., 1865

Cincinnati: Caleb Clark Book & Job Printer, 1865. Wraps. Complete 24-page pamphlet. Sound binding. Removed from a sammelband so a little rough along the left edge. Minor soiling to the cover, otherwise in nice shape. Very good. Item #009090

In 1780, before Kentucky was a state, the Virginia Assembly (perhaps prodded by Governor Thomas Jefferson) chartered Transylvania Seminary, then affiliated with the Episcopal Church, as the first college west of the Allegheny Mountains. It began in a log cabin in Boyle County and moved to Lexington in 1789. Ten years later, it changed its name to Transylvania University. By 1818, it included a medical school, a law school, a divinity school, and a college of arts and sciences.

About the same time, Bacon College of Georgetown was established and it soon changed its name to Kentucky University. At the end of the Civil War, both Kentucky University and Transylvania University were in dire financial straits, and the state legislature approved a merger in hopes of solving their fiscal crises. The new combined institution used Transylvania’s campus while perpetuating the Kentucky University name.

The merged university was organized with subordinate colleges including the Agricultural and Mechanical (A&M) College of Kentucky, publicly chartered as a department within Kentucky University as a land grant institution under the Morrill Act. However, due to problems related to having a federally funded college controlled by a religious body, the A&M college was spun off in 1878 as an independent, state-run institution. The Agricultural & Mechanical College of Kentucky soon developed into the state’s flagship public institution becoming the University of Kentucky.

In 1908, due to confusion between the names of Kentucky University and its daughter school, the University of Kentucky, Kentucky University reverted back to its old name, Transylvania University.

This catalog is from the 1865-1866 school year, the year of the merger, and it reflects some of the related organizational issues. It identifies a “College of Science, Literature, and the Arts” with Schools of the Bible, Philosophy, Mathematics, Natural Science, English Language and Literature, Ancient Languages, Modern Languages, and the Arts as its principal academic body. It further notes that it also had a “College of the Bible” and that “The College of Law” and “The Agricultural and Mechanical College” (the future University of Kentucky) would soon open. It additionally mentions plans to establish Medical, Normal (that is, Teaching), and Commercial Colleges. The catalog identifies the school’s Board of Curators, Faculty, and Alumni. It also lists the requirements for admission, a guide to the admissions process, course of instruction summaries, and degree requirements. It concludes with short paragraphs about the merger and its libraries, museum, and laboratories followed by an “Annual Report of the General Assembly of Kentucky” about the institution.

A terrific ephemeral piece of early Kentucky educational history. Quite scarce. As of 2018, no other examples are for sale in the trade, and no auction records are listed at ABPC or the Rare Book Hub. OCLC shows that only two institutional libraries, the University of Kentucky and the American Antiquarian Society, have examples in their collections.

Price: $250.00

See all items in Education, Ephemera
See all items by