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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Ann Arbor in Washtenaw County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

The Making of a Great University

 
 
The Making of a Great University Marker image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, February 19, 2020
1. The Making of a Great University Marker
Inscription.  
When classes began in 1841, Mason Hall (left) housed classrooms, a chapel, a library, a museum, and dormitory rooms. Two professors taught thirteen students Greek, Latin, mathematics, and rhetoric. South College (right), a second classroom-dormitory block, was added in 1849.

Henry P. Tappan, UM's first president (1852-1863), envisioned a great university that would make Ann Arbor "a new Athens." An early advocate of scientific research and the practical use of knowledge, he added an observatory, a chemical laboratory, and a law building. Affirming UM's nonsectarian nature, he recruited intellectually distinguished young men to join the existing faculty of Protestant clergymen. He ridiculed providing "vast dormitories for the night's sleep, instead of creating libraries and laboratories for the day's work." After 1858 students lived in rooming houses. Briefly, after the Civil War, UM was the nation's largest university with 32 professors and more than 1,200 students, over half in medicine and law.

Tappan's vision was advanced by James B. Angell, who added over 30 buildings during his presidency (1871-1909). Latin and
Top panel (Mason Hall and South College ca. 1860), upper left image. Click for full size.
Bentley Historical Library
2. Top panel (Mason Hall and South College ca. 1860), upper left
The Law Building, completed in 1863 north of Mason Hall, was expaneded and remodeled many times. It was renamed Haven Hall after the Law Quadrangle was completed in 1933, and provided offices and classrooms until destroyed by fire in 1950.
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Greek were no longer required, seminar teaching was introduced, and laboratories and clinical teaching expanded. Colleges, schools, and departments evolved: Dentistry and Homeopathic Medicine 1875, Pharmacy 1876, Engineering 1895, and Forestry 1903. Angell staunchly supported coeducation. Foreign student enrollment rose, especially from China, after Angell's two years there as U.S. minister.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Education. A significant historical year for this entry is 1841.
 
Location. 42° 16.546′ N, 83° 44.454′ W. Marker is in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in Washtenaw County. Marker is on South State Street north of South University Avenue, on the right when traveling south. Marker is between the Michigan Union and the University of Michigan College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 530 South State Street, Ann Arbor MI 48109, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Michigan Union and the Peace Corps (within shouting distance of this marker); Law Quadrangle (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); The President's House (about 700 feet away); William L. Clements Library (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Central Forty and The Diag (approx. 0.2 miles away); Martha Cook Building (approx. 0.2 miles
Top panel, left image. Click for full size.
Bentley Historical Library
3. Top panel, left
Dedicated in 1873, University Hall linked Mason Hall and South College. It contained a large auditorium, a new chapel, lecture rooms, and offices. For decades the symbol of the university, it was completely obscured by Angell Hall in 1924 and demolished in 1950.
away); The Michigan Ross Bur Oak (approx. ¼ mile away); The Denison Archway (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Ann Arbor.
 
Also see . . .  Site 14a. State Street: in front of Michigan Union. Marker on the Downtown Ann Arbor Historical Street Exhibit website. (Submitted on February 24, 2020, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.) 
 
Top panel, lower right image image. Click for full size.
Bentley Historical Library
4. Top panel, lower right image
Henry Philip Tappan, UM's first president, was a brilliant eduator and eloquent speaker who fired the students' enthusiasm. The regents, antagonized by his arrogant manner and liberal approach to religion, fired him in 1863 despite vigorous public protest. President Angell later said Tappan was "the largest figure of a man ever to appear on the campus, and, he was stung to death by gnats!"
Bottom panel, upper left image. Click for full size.
Bentley Historical Library
5. Bottom panel, upper left
Student surveyors from the engineering class of 1875. The previous year Professor Joseph B. Davis had organized the first surveying field work camp in the nation. He advised his students, "Young men, when theory and practice differ, use your horse sense!"
Bottom panel, upper middle image. Click for full size.
Bentley Historical Library
6. Bottom panel, upper middle
Dr. Eliza Mosher, an 1875 graduate of the Medical School, was persuaded by President Angell to give up her private practice in 1896 to become the first Dean of Women. As Professor of Hygiene in the Literary Department, she was also the university's first femal faculty member.
Bottom panel image. Click for full size.
Bentley Historical Library
7. Bottom panel
President James Burrill Angell (circled), who sought to make Michigan "part of the great world of scholars," with his distinguished faculty in 1876. To his immediate right sit Latin Professor Henry Simmons Frieze, three-time acting president and founder of the University Musical Society, and History Professor Charles Kendall Adams, who introduced the seminar method.
The Making of a Great University Marker image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, February 19, 2020
8. The Making of a Great University Marker
The newly renovated Michigan Union is in the background.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on February 24, 2020. It was originally submitted on February 24, 2020, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan. This page has been viewed 71 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on February 24, 2020, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.

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Apr. 19, 2021