In September 1854, the Parsonsfield Seminary, located in Parsonsfield, Maine, burned down. This school had been organized in 1832 and was affiliated with the Freewill Baptists. A number of men who would later be connected with Bates College were associated with Parsonsfield, including Hosea Quinby, John Fullonton, and Oren B. Cheney.
When Oren B. Cheney heard about the fire at Parsonsfield, he vowed to build another educational institution in Maine to replace Parsonsfield. By January 1855, petitions were being sent to the State of Maine urging the government "to incorporate a Literary Insitution under the name of 'The Maine State Seminary,' and suitably endow the same."
The Maine State Seminary, the institution that would become Bates College, was incoporated that same year, 1855. The Seminary welcomed its first class '84 men and 53 women' in September 1857. Although affiliated with the Freewill Baptists, the seminary was not limited to persons of any single religious denomination.
In 1863, the institution was re-incorporated as Bates College, and the Seminary became a department of the new College.
The Maine State Seminary Records includes handwritten materials relating to the founding of the Maine State Seminary, later called Bates College. The collection includes petitions signed by citizens of 14 towns requesting the State incorporate and endow the Maine State Seminary (Jan-Feb 1855); the 1856 bond giving title for the land where Bates College was built, signed by Amnie Nash and Alonzo Garcelon; bills and correspondence concerning the construction of Hathorn and Parker halls (1856-57); Maine State Seminary faculty meeting minutes (1857-1859); a grade book covering the period 1861-1863; a registry book containing lists of graduates and recipients of various honors and awards; and correspondence (1855-1856) of the building committee concerning the construction of Hathorn Hall, of which the first cornerstone was laid on June 26, 1856. Correspondents in the latter file include G.S.H. Bryant, William H. Littlefield, Frances Lyford, and William P. Frye.
The records are arranged into two series, then alphabetically by folder title. The series are: I. Catalogs; II. Administrative records. This arrangement also includes two oversize volumes (Series I) stored in their own boxes.
The collection is open for research.
The collection is the physical property of Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library. Bates College holds literary rights only for material created by College personnel working on official behalf of the College, or for material which was given to the College with such rights specifically assigned. For all other material, literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. Researchers are responsible for obtaining permission from rights holders for publication or other purposes that exceed fair use.
Seminary Advocate (newspaper), Edmund S. Muskie Archives & Special Collections Library, Bates College
CA 02.01, Office of the President, general records, Edmund S. Muskie Archives & Special Collections Library, Bates College, http://abacus.bates.edu/muskie-archives/EADfindingaids/CA0201.html
CA 02.03, Office of the President, Oren B. Cheney records, Edmund S. Muskie Archives & Special Collections Library, Bates College, http://abacus.bates.edu/muskie-archives/EADfindingaids/CA0203.html
CA 02.04, Office of the President, George C. Chase records, Edmund S. Muskie Archives & Special Collections Library, Bates College, http://abacus.bates.edu/muskie-archives/EADfindingaids/CA0204.html
CA 02.80, Cobb Divinity School records, Edmund S. Muskie Archives & Special Collections Library, Bates College, http://abacus.bates.edu/muskie-archives/EADfindingaids/CA0280.html
CA 02.81, Nichols Latin School records, Edmund S. Muskie Archives & Special Collections Library, Bates College, http://abacus.bates.edu/muskie-archives/EADfindingaids/CA0281.html
These records are indexed under the following headings in the Bates College Library catalog. Researchers wishing to find related materials should search the catalog under these index terms.
Bates College (Lewiston, Me.)--History
Free Will Baptists (1780?-1911)--Archival resources
Maine State Seminary (Lewiston, Me.)--Archival resources
Maine State Seminary (Lewiston, Me.)--History
Accession No.: xx-061.
Maine State Seminary records, Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library, Bates College.
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