Talk:Colonial colleges

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INTRODUCTORY NOTE: The following content is the result of the merging of two pages and their respective discussion pages, one for Talk:Colonial Colleges, and an earlier article Talk:List of colonial colleges based on a redirect I did between the two articles a few days ago. Many thanks to Nunh-huh for properly merging these discussions. The collaboration between the contributors of both the pages will, I hope, lead to a better, more comprehensive article (so far it has).ExplorerCDT 20:27, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC)


I am curious as to where Georgetown University falls in your categorization of our nation's oldest colleges. They can trace their history back to 1634 when the first jesuits arrived and established a school, but most place the founding in 1789. It is important to remember that the school predates the establishment of Washington DC and encountered significant prejudice as a Catholic-affiliated institution in its early years. They were not officially chartered until the mid 19th Century when one of their alumni was elected to Congress and introduced the resolution granting charter himself.


In chosing how to name each institution, I thought it would be most useful to give the name in common use during each college's colonial existence. So, for exampel, Brown had not yet acquired its new name but Harvard and Yale had. (Not that their old nomikers — "the new college" & "the collegiate school" — were real names anyway.) That's why I don't think "the Charity School of Philadelphia" is the most appropriate name for Penn — it only lasted for a relatively short time under that name, and it wasn't a college yet at that point. (And colleges, after all, are what the article is really about.) Doops 04:09, 22 Aug 2004 (UTC)


Nunh-huh, I don't see how "Puritan is too broad a class for Yale." With a lower-case p, I suppose puritan can refer to any sect of any religion who believe in purifying things; but with a capital P, I think everybody knows we're talking about the Puritans of colonial New England, whose name came from the fact that, at least initially, their English forbears believed in Purifying the Church of England from within (as opposed to other nonconformists like the Pilgrims and the Quakers and so forth who just quit the C of E altogether). Indeed, I could just as easily say "Congregational is too broad a class" since any sect of any religion who believes in congregational organization (as opposed to church hierarchy) could be called "congregational" with a lower-case C.

The real point is that there was no official organized church which founded Harvard, Yale, and Dartmouth — there was never an organized church called the "Puritan Church" and the "Congregational Church" as an organization considerably postdated their foundation. The people who founded the schools were all what-we-would-today-call-puritans, of course; and assumed that their institutions were too; and fired their presidents if their unorthodox views couldn't be overlooked — but all this was simply de facto. The puritans of colonial New England were simply the reality, mostly defined not by what they were, but by what they weren't — they weren't popists; they weren't almost-popists like the Church of England; they didn't believe in crazy notions like anapedobaptism or pacifism or levelling. All of those groups (when the puritans allowed them to function at all in New England) had to organize themselves; but the puritans just took themselves for granted. "Puritan" and "Congregational" were still adjectives, not names.

Returning from my empty pontifications to the article at hand: there's no reason to change Yale's affiliation without changing Harvard's and Dartmouth's too since they were all participants in the same basic situation. Now it's true that by the 18th century the adjective "Puritan" was probably less in fashion than "Congregationalist" and so I can see a case for using the latter. But I would push for "Puritan" on the grounds that it's clearer to the reader: "Puritan" is the name we all immediately associate with colonial New England, even if they didn't go around applying that name to themselves all the time. "Congregationalist" on the other hand pobably suggests the friendly, inoffensive, rather liberal Congregational Church (or, today, UCC) into which the Puritans somehow evolved. At any rate, I'm changing the labelling of the article to better reflect reality. Doops 06:15, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I disagree. I think "Puritan" is associated with Massachusetts, and "Congregationalism" with Connecticut. Yale has always considered itself a Congregationalist institution. Pierpont, Andrew and Woodbridge, who founded the college, had all been ordained by their Connecticut congregations. Pierson, the first rector, was a congregational minister, who obtained the permission of his congregation at Killingworth before accepting the position as rector at Saybrook. While this is to some extent a matter of the "fineness" to which one "lumps" or "splits" the designation (one could characterize them all as "Christian" or "Protestant", though that would hardly be helpful), the early history of the college centered around congregational issues. Its great controversies were focused on issues of congregationalism, not puritanism, e.g the Saybrook Platform of 1708 enforcing consociation, the orthodoxy of rectors, the issues of what congregation students belonged to. When Congregationalism was disestablished as the state religion, Yale founded a "Congregationalist" divinity school, not a "Puritan" one - though of course this was post-colonial. - Nunh-huh 06:43, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Well, I always knew that the founders of New Haven and Connecticut colonies had their differences with Massachusetts norms; but I guess I've never heard all the details before. Based on what you've written, would I be right in surmising that a major difference is that in Connecticut ministers were actually ordained by their congregations while in Mass they were ordained by other ministers? Interesting. That said, though, although Connecticut may hence have taken the principle of congregationalism further than Mass, wouldn't you still call the massachusetts churches "congregational" (insofar as they called their own pastors, even if they didn't ordain them)? And wouldn't you still call the Connecticut ones "puritan" (insofar as they are an offshoot of the Massachusetts ones)?

Also, I think it's fair to say that a major factor here is simple chronology: the world of 1700 was considerably different from that of 1640. The differernces between the foundations of Harvard and Yale may have as much to do with that as with geography, no? Would you say that the great controversies in Mass in 1700 were about puritanism? As I wrote in my earlier post, I am dubious (although I cannot claim to be an expert on the topic) that anybody in either state went around calling himself a "puritan" in the year 1700 — surely that would have seemed a rather old-fashioned word?

You're certainly right that a great deal depends on how much fineness is needed. Despite their differences — which I suppose I ought to learn more about someday — surely the chuches of Massachusetts and Connecticut were more alike than not; and if Harvard hadn't suddenly gone unitarian in the early 19th century, you can bet that it too would have founded a congregationalist divinity school. So, here's a question: if you had to lump the three schools in question under one name, which would you advocate? Although I certainly acknowledge the deficiencies of my knowledge on the subject, I still have to wonder about the issue of clarity to the reader, who will most likely not be a church historian. I still think that despite the word's deficiencies, 'puritan' is probably clearest. Doops 07:11, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Yes, the differences are certainly a matter of chronology as much as geography, and I agree that the founders of Yale in 1701 would not call themselves "Puritans": that is rather my point! Granularity is therefore the issue: I think lumping Harvard & Yale together blurs a distinction that should be made. Certainly you are correct that the distinction should be made between Anglicanism on one hand and the tradition they represent on another, but I think the finer distinction is worth making. When Thomas Clap established a professorship of divinity (Yale's first professorship) in 1745, he turned to the General Association of the Congregational Churches of Connecticut for support, and when he established the first college church in America at Yale it was as a congregational church. Hopefully you will like the compromise I have have suggested, listing both denominational attributes for Yale, which should make it clear no matter which word the reader is more used to. - Nunh-huh 07:39, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)

P.S. I promise not to try to persuade you that Princeton was Congregational just because it was founded by a former congregationalist in a snit over an expulsion from Yale<g>.

Below the table, the article talks about "the nine" colonial colleges and "the two" that aren't Ivy League members. But the table lists more than that in both categories. Can someone who knows their early American education history better than I clear this up? Bbpen 14:52, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Oh. Heh. In my rush to read the table, I missed the explanation above it. Bbpen 14:58, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I redid the explanatory text at the top a bit to give more stress to the actual Colonial Colleges. Personally, I don't think that the seven colleges not chartered as colleges until after the revolution belong in this article, at least in such a prominent position, since they have not been historically considered "Colonial Colleges", nor were most of them institutions of tertiary educations ("colleges") until well after the Revolution. Nevertheless, their inclusion is certainly informative and factual, if somewhat off-topic, so I opted not to delete them. Instead, I boldfaced the Colonial Colleges in the list. Hopefully, the (albeit brief) confusion experienced by Bbpen and no doubt others will be obviated in the future. ///Citizen Sunshine 23:40, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)

FYI, on an old if not stale point. Presbyterians and Congregationalists both saw themselves as the legitimate Church of England. Both Massachusetts and Connecticut were Church-State, and later, college theocracies. Both were charted by a King. Each in turn were chartered by the state government. Massachusetts charter was revoked on June 18, 1684; many Englishmen assumed that "the calf died with the mother" and Harvard was now no longer legitimate. Though both were Congregationalist, they, of course, split over time. Harvard followed the Cambridge Platform of polity, Yale followed the Sabyrook platform. With the Cambridge polity, each individual parish elected its own minister; with the Saybrook polity, county level "consociations" were involved in the decision process. Princeton, though founded by a former Yale educated Congregationalists, followed the Westminster Presbyterian platform, which was more like the Saybrook platform. Its real distinction was that it was NEW LIGHT, not OLD LIGHT. I'll try to see if any of this should be added to the article.Harrycroswell (talk) 13:06, 24 July 2014 (UTC)

Colonial colleges?[edit]

Shouldn't this be at Colonial colleges? Darkcore 07:02, 18 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Let's not. I hate that policy and I wish I knew how to get that changed. There are some circumstances where matters of aesthetics and balance should overcome the titling policy. —ExplorerCDT 06:13, 20 Dec 2004 (UTC)

  • P.S. According to convention, so should Main Page, but when that gets renamed, this can. Until then, down with the Naming Convention policy. —ExplorerCDT 20:51, 20 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Columbia as an American Oxford?[edit]

On 22 December 2004, Mat334 added this belowstated text, which I removed shortly after. He attempted to insert it on 15 December, but I removed it then pending verification. I do not think the passage is relevant, but as it currently stands, it is unverifiable and I do not believe it should be in the article as such.

In his book "Stand, Columbia", Robert McCaughey describes a plan devised before the American War of Independence by President Cooper of King's College and several Governors, "by which King's College would be given university status and would preside over the other colonial colleges, as Oxford and Cambridge did over their respective residential colleges". The university would have been known as "The American University". However, as McCaughey notes, the concept would neither have been approved by Parliament nor the other colonial colleges.

I confronted Dr. McCaughey via e-mail regarding this statement, and he said he had written such a passage in his book Stand, Columbia: A History of Columbia University (Columbia University Press, 2003) ISBN 0231130082. I prompted him for citations where I could verify it, as he did not footnote this in his book. I further stated frankly that on its face value the passage looks like an attempt to aggrandize Columbia as in other college and state histories, and in the biographies of royal governors at the time (Franklin in New Jersey, Bernard in Massachusetts, Tyron in New York, Trumbull in Connecticut) none mention their endorsement of such a plan, much less the existence of a proposal. No state archives (and I called many archivists I know this past week), save New York's, even records gubernatorial correspondence with Myles Cooper, the Columbia (then Kings) president. He demurred at the suggestion and has since avoided providing citations. As such, it is unverifiable and such speculative misinformation does not belong parading around as a fact in an encyclopedia article. —ExplorerCDT 15:20, 22 Dec 2004 (UTC)

  • Sir, the primary source document you are looking for describing the "American University" is titled "Draft of Charter for the American University in the Province of New York", Public Records Office, Colonial Office 5, America and West Indies, vol. 1106, pg. 63-122. You may locate this document in either the Library of Congress or the University Archives & Columbiana Library on the Columbia campus, Low Library 210. This is neither unverifiable and nor speculative. As such, it is not misinformation. Furthermore, the proposal was offered by Cooper and his associates to Parliament, as they sought a royal charter for a university, on a visit to England in 1771, hence why you may not find it among state archives. However, as mentioned above, copies exist both within Columbia's archives and the Library of Congress. Please add the documented, verifiable information now. —ttan 18:13, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • Do not make demands or ultimata, like Mat334 does. I will be seeking verification of this at the New York Public Library this afternoon. Pending verification, we can discuss this, because whether or not the document is what you say it is, you still fail to show how mentioning a failed pipe dream is relevant to the article (or more relevant than say mentioning the failed Harvard-MIT merger). Do not presume to think you can simply demand. —ExplorerCDT 19:08, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • Sir, I have already provided you with two locations, namely the Columbia University Archives & Columbiana Library and the Library of Congress. Since the Columbia Archives are as easily accessible by subway as the New York Public Library, and since they generally allow public access for valid reasons (and from personally knowing the Curator, yours is a valid reason), I am curious as to why you do not conduct your research and seek your verification there. —ttan 17:22, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • Simply, it is easier for me from where I am right now (at work) to walk to the NYPL (9 blocks), than it is to hop on the subway (which would require me to walk over to Herald Square, take the Q northbound, get out, walk over to Columbus Circle to grab the A) taking an hour or so just in transit to Morningside Heights. Further, I know the NYPL has the collected PRO documents, I'm familiar with where they are, and I know the people who staff the room they're in. Who knows how much time I'd spend up at the Low Library, in comparison. Lastly, the Library of Congress and Columbia aren't the only ones to have a copy. —ExplorerCDT 19:35, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Earlier, ExplorerCDT, you said:

"It's up to you to either take your lumps and accept the deletion of this claim or prove my edit wrong through sufficient documentary evidence establishing your claim as fact. Something that is, at this time, lacking. Thus, if you take it as a challenge and prove successful, I will not have any problem with such an edit."


"... I will continue deleting the reference until it is verifiable."

I believe that in my place, ttan has proved successful in providing sufficient documentary evidence establishing my claim as fact, and that my claim is now verifiable. As such, according to what you said, I will append my claim to the article once more and do not expect it to be deleted again. I will wait 24 hours to do this in case you have any further objections. Mat334 16:23, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)

  • It will be preemptorially deleted until I can get to the NYPL to verify it. Just claiming a source exists isn't enough. I couldn't get there last Thursday, followed by closures observing the Christmas holiday, and that they are closed today (Monday), the earliest I can get there is 11 a.m. tomorrow. Trust me, I'll consider restoring the text (copyedited, of course) if that source establishes your point. However, you and User:ttan have failed to establish how a failed plan is relevant to the article (the other condition I set). —ExplorerCDT 18:12, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • ExplorerCDT, this matter is frustrating me more and more every time I take a moment to look at it. From what you said on my talk page (as quoted), the condition was that the claim be "verifiable". The claim is now verifiable. Furthermore, I do not see why you are so important that you yourself must verify it before it can be included in the article. I remind you that you do not own the article. Nevertheless, I am more than happy to wait until the end of tomorrow before including it. As to whether it is "relevant", you raise a valid point. Perhaps I should create an article called "The American University"? However, at present, it seems reasonable to include such information under "Colonial Colleges" (or rather (preferably), "Colonial colleges"). I would be interested to hear whether you think a new article is warranted, though I suspect that you would favour consolidation judging solely from your expressed desire for consolidation of articles related to Columbia University. Mat334 23:23, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • Independent verification is a very important thing. I'm not going to take a claim that there's an obscure colonial record proving this on its face value, as my experience has shown when you scratch below the surface of some people's writings some colonial documents are used to justify things they never even talked about. If you want to write an article on the failed pipe dream of Myles Cooper, go right ahead. That's your prerogative. As to the matter of relevancy, you haven't sufficiently stated why it is relevant -- or any more relevant as a failed plan (pipe dream) than mentioning the proposed merger of Princeton and Rutgers, or Harvard and MIT, or Harvard and Yale, or for that matter mentioning New Hampshire's attempt to revoke a charter and take over Dartmouth. Failed plans aren't notable, because almost every person on the face of the planet has probably put forward a dozen that never got off the cocktail napkin on which they were written. Furthermore, failed plans aren't relevant. Lastly, consolidation is a good thing, especially with regard to Columbia, because the number of Columbia-related articles have turned into poorly-written and badly-organized and ever-expanding Columbia-cruft. As to your frustration, deal with it. If you can't, I recommend you get professional therapy with your problem. —ExplorerCDT 23:39, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • I give up. As far as I am concerned it is both relevant and true. It is relevant because it was a grand plan that concerned all colonial colleges in what would become the United States. Thanks to ttan, I have established that it is true, and I am sure that your research will confirm this (especially once you read the document that ttan referred you to). Concerning my frustration, I can deal with it. However, I will not be writing a new article on the subject, nor will I further press to include this particular fact. I really can't bothered - indeed, I even feel that I am wasting my time writing this comment. I have far more profitable and worthwhile ways to spend my time. I don't expect any reaction to this - I won't be checking back, or at least not very much. Enjoy developing this article, ExplorerCDT. Mat334 22:13, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)

(Editorial Note: I reconfigured and made minor format changes–indents mostly–to the section created by ttan entitled Columbia as an American Oxford, Verified which was in response to the initial post I made above in this section, and chose to combine it with into the one section for the sake of argument continuity. There is no need to create a new section everytime someone responds to an above section, and I thought the creation of a new section was superfluous and would potentially breed discontinuity.ExplorerCDT 19:17, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC))

As ExplorerCDT if you click on the name was apparently a "sock puppet" for a user who was banned from Wikipedia, and his strange editing activities are a decade old,I suggest restoring the reasonable, well researched, and useful passage on "Columbia as Oxford".Harrycroswell (talk) 12:30, 24 July 2014 (UTC)

article hijacking[edit]

Hi, Doops here, the original creator of this article (i.e. List of colonial colleges; all further references in these two ¶s to "this" article refer to that article, whose history has been merged into this page's). In mid-November, User:ExplorerCDT started another article, Colonial Colleges (with unexplained capitalization), which basically borrowed much of the content of this article and put a different spin on it; a glance at the original first version of that article makes it clear that it was not written independently but was in fact based directly on this one. Today, ExplorerCDT has deleted this article's content and redirected it to his article, calling List of colonial colleges a "duplicate" of his/her article. This is a little high-handed, I must say. I realize that there is no "ownership" of articles in the wikipedia, and there's no sense in which this is "my" article; but I can't help feeling that ExplorerCDT's actions constitute something of an end-run around me and other users who have contributed to this article — instead of engaging us, he/she's created his/her own version and then deleted ours.

Furthermore, the two versions were not identical; and while I agree that there's no need for two articles on this subject, it's my opinion that this version had both a better title ("List of...") AND better content ("date first degrees granted" is solid and concrete in ways that "foundations" often aren't; integrating ancient schools and academies into the list is needlessly confusing). Now, that's just my opinion, and I have no right to impose it, which is why I didn't peremptorally delete ExplorerCDT's article back in November; I feel that he/she should have shown the same courtesy and, if bothered by the duplication, should have instituted a talk page discussion about the relative merits of the two articles and their titles. I have no stomach for a fight, so I'm not gonna start reverting; I'm just writing this rant for the sake of history. Doops 22:56, 22 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Actually, I never saw your version of the article before this morning. The only reason I came to your version was because I happened to check out "What links here" when looking at Columbia University, because I'm planning to consolidate stuff regarding Columbia. The original rationale I had for creating Colonial Colleges was because of a red link in the Rutgers University page I was editing. It did not dawn on me to seek out your list, because I didn't think there would be a list when an article was merited. I chose to take the material from thefreedictionary (which ironically is verbatim to "your" article), since I did not quickly find any material on Wikipedia. In the process, I removed the "degrees granted" column, because I couldn't verify that information (though I do have it so that I can eventually get around to it). So far, six out of the nine schools have not responded to my query e-mails regarding that issue. Further, I feel I improved upon the topic by some of the inaccuracies in the article. The other schools outside the traditional collection of Colonial Colleges—which I agree confuse the issue—were added recently. However, as their inclusion is are verifiable and relevant, I did not delete them despite my misgivings. I redirected yours both out of being bold (as policy directs us to do in our editing), and because your List of colonial colleges wasn't a list, it was a table. —ExplorerCDT 00:27, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC)
"thefreedictionary" is a direct copy of Wikipedia under the GDFL, so there's nothing coincidental or ironic about it being identical to Wikipedia. The material you copied from there to Wikipedia originated on Wikipedia - Doops started the article on June 27, 2004; you copied his material from "thefreedictionary" back to another Wikipedia article on November 14, 2004. The histories of those two articles are now one. - Nunh-huh 00:43, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC)
P.S. The explanation for the capitalization, I disagree with the Naming Conventions policy, as was stated recently on the Talk page for Colonial Colleges (above, now that the two pages were merged). —ExplorerCDT 00:27, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC):;
Of course, conventions exist because different people have different opinions about naming, and if everyone simply valued their own opinions as most important we'd have lots of duplicate articles and pointless page moves. Conventions are meant to prevent that sort of thing: they won't work if everyone disregards them and acts "boldly" rather than acts to obtain concensus on naming conventions. - Nunh-huh 00:43, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I've merged the histories of the two articles. "Cut-and-paste" operations obscure the original authorship, and ought to be avoided. There is now just one article, with a combined history; the current content, however, will still have to be determined by the usual consensual editing practices. - Nunh-huh 00:10, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I'm glad to hear that there was a misunderstanding at the root of things; that's comforting. I suppose that there's enough information in this article that it doesn't need to be called a "list," so I won't argue that. (However, the fact that it's a table is neither here nor there — plenty of wikipedia "lists" are in table format.) I've reincorporated some of the lost intro material and made some other formatting changes; let me know what you all think. Doops 06:33, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • I apologize if it appeared as if I were hijacking your article. That was not my intention. I do look forward to working together with you, and applaud your recent edit of the article reincorporating some of the other article's information, and dividing the 7 institutions not chartered as degree-granting institutions to a new section to avoid confusion. My only addition will be to add a paragraph break above the first table, since it buts up right against the preceding paragraph and looks bunched. Hope you won't mind. —ExplorerCDT 16:21, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Great; thanks. Happy ending after all! It's a festivus miracle. Doops 17:17, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Virginia's Indian College[edit]

Shortly after the creation of the Virginia colony, the settlers sought to establish a school mostly intended to educate the Native Americans (mostly to christianize them). This effort was the first. Whether or not it was just a simple school or a college is another matter to be discussed, verified, etc. It was shortlived, because it closed up shortly after an Indian uprising in 1622. Is this worth researching for, or adding to, the article? —ExplorerCDT 19:14, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Perhaps you're thinking of Henricopolis? Sure, I'll add a link to it. Doops 22:37, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Looks good. —ExplorerCDT 22:45, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC)

religious influence?[edit]

See, here's the problem. While I'm sure at least a couple of these institutions had explicit religious ties (somebody help me out with an example), and at least Penn (and possibly others) was/were explicitly non-sectarian, most of them simply said nothing one way or the other. To take the example I know best, Harvard had no formal ties to the puritan church — indeed there was no such thing as the "puritan church." It was all just taken for granted in Massachusetts. How strong was the influence? Well, on the one hand Henry Dunster was forced to resign after admitting to anapedobaptist beliefs; on the other hand, students faced no religious test and the education was the traditional English University curriculum, certainly not a seminary's. Seen in this light, then, it seems a little unfair for Penn to claim "non-sectarian" status, despite its official avowal to that effect, since, like the other insitutions, it certainly had religious influence. Hence my proposed compromise wording. Doops 19:48, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)

  • I put "Puritan" for Harvard long ago solely because other (more ancient) sources used the word Puritan over "Congregationalist" which seemingly is more correct nowadays. Religious influence is one thing, in Colonial America everything had a religious influence. Penn was founded by Franklin (who was quite agnostic, even atheistic, in his beliefs) as a non-sectarian institution explicitly to be counter to the schools founded with religious affiliations. Thus, in the case of Penn, there was no organized religious body (be it a diocese, or bishopric, or classis, etc.) that sought to establish the school subordinate to the power of a respective religious body or dictate that instruction carried out under the guidance of that denomination's precepts. The institutions had definite affiliations with a church body. We really ought to remove the category of "Religious Influence" and retitle it as "Religious Affiliation" in my opinion, as it is a more accurate categorization given the level of influence. —ExplorerCDT
OK, but that's precisely my point: everything was fuzzier back then. I am not aware that ANY of these colleges were "subordinate to the power of a respective religious body"; possibly the Anglican ones had the very remote and little-involved Bishop of London as "visitor" or some such — but certainly none of them (unless Rutgerrs, about which I know very little) was as subject to a denomination the way religious colleges are nowdays. On the other hand, none of them, not even (to my knowledge) Penn, was as secular as secular colleges are nowday — there was mandatory chapel, etc. I know that Penn is very proud of its non-sectarian foundation, but I think that to make themselves stand out Pennsylvanians tend to exaggerate the religious ties of other colleges. Given the relative homogeneity of those colonies, it was only natural that a Massachusetts college should appear to be Puritan, a Rhode Island one Baptist, a Virginia one Anglican — but that doesn't mean there was institutional control. "affiliation" would be much harder to establish than "influence"; that's why I originally titled the column with the latter. (Likewise, my preference for de facto evidence was what led me to date colleges by first degrees granted rather than theoretical foundation.) Doops 20:40, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Name change[edit]

Looks like the WikiNazis won out finally enforcing the naming conventions rule (with which some of us strenuously disagree) and lowercasing the word "colleges" in the article's title. —ExplorerCDT 15:37, 12 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Collegiate School of Connecticut[edit]

Nunh-huh reverted not only my change of the Collegiate School to the Collegiate School of Connecticut in this article, but my addition of the Collegiate School of Connecticut to the intro paragraph of Yale University. Please see Talk:Yale University for a discussion of this. –MementoVivere 02:38, 20 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Founded? Chartered?[edit]

I guess "founded" is self-explanatory, but what is "chartered"? Can someone who knows add a definition of the two? Bbpen 18:18, 1 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Though "charter" may mean different things in different times and places, what it means in the context of colonial colleges is a document granting permission of the monarch for the founding of a college, or, if already established, granting it such privileges as the ability to grant degrees. In most cases, the founding occurred first, followed later by a charter granting the right to grant degrees. Another measure of when a school can be said to have been established would be the date on which the first degree was granted. - Nunh-huh 22:51, 1 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Names in list[edit]

After months of secret itching to do so, I've finally been bold and switched the name conventions back to a form not seen since this article's early days: the instituations are now listed by their colonial-era names with modern names being the afterthought. I have two main reasonings for this:

  1. The table already listed old colony names, not modern state names; it's only logical to do likewise with institutions for the sake of coherency.
  2. The new arrangement doesn't make for the unsettling conflation between real, actual names with long-term existence (e.g. "Queen's College") and initial "referred-to-as" monikers which don't deserve to be given such unnatural prominence (e.g. "New College").

Please also note the explanatory sentence in the preceding ¶. Ta-da. Doops | talk 7 July 2005 06:27 (UTC)

Makes sense to me. But what about the second list ("Other colonial-era foundations")? Bbpen 7 July 2005 12:43 (UTC)

Public Ivy[edit]

I removed the reference to William and Mary as a "public ivy." It is completely unrelated to its status as a colonial college. Also the "public ivies" aren't a formally recognized or even easily defined list. Bindingtheory 00:50, 5 January 2006 (UTC)

Removed the public ivy reference again. It belongs on the College of William and Mary page, not the colonial college page. It is a random fact unrelated to the institution's status as a colonial college. The references to the ivy league itself make more sense here since the ivy league is a formally recognized group, and their association with one another as a league is directly related to the fact that they were nearly the only colleges in existence during their early history. -Bindingtheory 20:15, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

Dates of Founding[edit]

The only remotely neutral policy is to use the official date of founding as listed by the schools themselves. Harvard should be listed as 1636, Wm and Mary as 1693, Penn as 1740. Add a short footnote if further explanation is necessary. More detailed info should go in the articles on the actual schools. -Bindingtheory 18:53, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

The note explaining Penn’s founding was over 35% of the length of the text of the article itself (ie. Minus the charts and notes). I just don’t think that’s proportional to the importance of that subject in this article. The old version of the note has a basic explanation of the 1740, 1749, 1751 dates, and the 1755 charter is listed in the chart, so that a reader can make up his/her own mind on the topic, plus a wikilink back to the UPenn page, which goes into more detail. If further detail is necessary, then I think it belongs on the Penn page, which is explicitly about that institution. At least for now, I’m reverting it back to the old version of the footnote, with an additional statement that there is disagreement about the date, hopefully with discussion to follow here on the Talk page. -Bindingtheory 15:27, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

As someone who attended none of the universities listed, nor have ever been employed at any of them, I can only (neutrally) observe there is nothing neutral whatsoever in the founding dates listed by the schools themselves. The column on the table labeled "founded" should probably read "founding date from the university's web site as written by the current marketing department". Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Penn all played rather silly games trying to push back their founding dates - presumably for marketing purposes -- not just once, but thorough out their history. Yale's President Clap started this in 1765; Harvard has changed the date on its seal (!) several times. Presumably they figured no one would notice. In particular, using the founding of grammar "feeding" academies sometimes in the same town as the college as the start date is foolish; Connecticut, for example, had a law that required towns over 500 to have a grammar or secondary school; by 1756 there would be over sixty towns and theoretically 60 secondary schools in CT alone. Penn would not even get on the list by this criteria. The only data that matters is, indeed, as others have noted, the first instruction date. The table should be sorted by this date.Harrycroswell (talk) 10:04, 18 July 2014 (UTC)


The second half of the first paragraph does little to explain "college" vs. "university" in these schools or in the U.S. in general. It is abstruse for readers unfamiliar with American terminology and mystifying for readers unfamiliar with anything else. That the schools changed their names is obvious from the table. I'm not sure why the issue needs to be addressed here anyway. "College" is the usual generic term for institutions of higher education in the U.S. A quick statement to this fact and a link to the article College would explain the situation.

The information at College#The origin of America's usage would be a benefit to this article to more fully treat the colonial colleges collectively. -Acjelen 05:51, 28 January 2006 (UTC)


I like the two-column "founded/chartered" presentation and I like the current presentation of facts.

Of course... this still doesn't solve the problem of how to list them by "antiquity" since they are currently in order neither by if the institution's officially-claimed founding date (which would place Penn fourth) nor by date of charter (which would put Penn sixth, after Columbia!) Not doing anything about this... so long as the situation is clear and fairly presented to anyone who actually can manage to care about it, which it currently is. Dpbsmith (talk) 16:08, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

I like the two-columned chart, too. At one point I thought about putting in Date Founded, Date instruction began, Date chartered, Date of first degree granted, Date of first Ph.D granted, and Date institution received its current name, but obviously the chart would get a little big. I like the references you added to footnote 3, btw. I think that's so much better than writing everything out. It includes the relevant info without making the article unwieldy.
as far as ordering the institutions, how about alphabetical by current name? Not as satisfactory as a chronological listing, IMO, but at least nobody can argue the order! -Bindingtheory 16:23, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
As an unconcerned reader (I was graduated from Lawrence University in Wisconsin with its own bragging rights and rivalries), I think the table should be sorted by date of charter, as that can be firmly established, or alphabetical by name. If the "colonial" name is given prominence in the table then that name should be used to determine alphabetical order. -Acjelen 19:44, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
Who says you can't argue about alphabetical order? You've already laid out one point to dispute about. And there's still a slow-motion simmering stew going on at Public Ivies (no, don't look) about whether to alphabetize the University of Arizona, say, under "U" or under "A." Dpbsmith (talk) 20:56, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
Wow. I ignored your advice and looked (at the article, not the discussion). Are all these "Ivies" just the academic equivalent of VH1 programming? I wish I knew a couple of deletionists, though Southern Ivies looks good and is more than just a list. I guess I never realized the pull the Ivy League has on academic snobbery. -Acjelen 00:26, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

The best order would be that of earliest degrees granted. Harvard's, for example, was 1642. Doops | talk 20:29, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

It would be interesting to note the earliest degrees granted in the article, and possibly even order them by this standard. This certainly seems to be a strong candidate for impartial ordering of the institutions. Indeed, I strongly prefer a chronological ordering, but believe that the date of charter might be best. However, I would appreciate some clarification on the status of institutions between founding date and the date of charter and what rights are generally entailed by obtaining a charter. For most the date of founding and chartering is the same, but for Harvard and Penn there were some years before a charter was obtained. Need the charter be the result of an act of the state legislature or some other government entity? Thanks. btm talk 05:38, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
The more I think about it, the more I agree with the idea of listing insitutions by the year of the earliest degree granted. The ideal way would be to rank them by order in which the first student upon whom a degree was conferred enrolled at the institution, but perhaps that is a bit much. btm talk 09:44, 7 February 2006 (UTC)
I don't care as long as a) the table is presented in such a way as to make the situation clear at a glance; b) any date which falls into the area of "opinion" rather than "obviously objective encyclopedic fact" has a footnote, and the footnote presents whatever degree of detail is necessary to present the issue.
I have a very, very mild preference for "founding date claimed by the university" for two reasons, one being the academic procession thing; I'm told that while the marching order is set by the host institution they usually do so by asking the attendees to give their founding dates and accepting the self-reported date. I'm no expert on such things but this would seem to be the only situation in which universities officially and publicly present a comparison or rank order of their "age." My informant says that Princeton's acquiescence should be deemed evidence of good manners, not acknowledgement of the truth of Penn's claim, but nevertheless it would seem to be an objective way of placing institutions in order.
I think inspection of almanacs will indicate that they tabulate in order of self-reported founding date.
In other words, there's a tradition that self-reported founding date is what "counts" in establishing "age" for ranking purposes, which is precisely why there is so much exaggeration and fudging.
Alphabetical would be silly.
I'm darned if I know how to choose "neutrally" between "date chartered," "doors opened/first classes," and "first graduates." In objective reality, those first graduating classes are always so tiny... and I'll bet that on inspection those dates are not as easy to pin down as you'd expect. I'll bet there is some case where some school conducts classes in a living room for a few years, graduates somebody, and then there's a hiatus and some buildings get built and then a graduating class of a couple of dozen graduates a few years later... Dpbsmith (talk) 11:45, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

Penn nonsectarian?[edit]

Brown's website says[1]:

Brown was the Baptist answer to Congregationalist Yale and Harvard; Presbyterian Princeton; and Episcopalian Penn and Columbia. At the time, it was the only one that welcomed students of all religious persuasions (following the example of Roger Williams, who founded Rhode Island in 1636 on the same principle).

Penn, however, says [2]

Unlike other American Colonial colleges, the new school would not focus on education for the clergy.

and refers to it as "nonsectarian"[3]:

Penn was founded on unique grounds in the history of education. In Philadelphia Benjamin Franklin sought not only to create a local institution of higher learning, but also to provide an education that did not fit the models already established in New England and Virginia. In Europe and the colonies up to that time, such schools had emphasized the training of new clergymen. The goal of Franklin's nonsectarian, practical plan would be the education of a business and governing class rather than of clergymen.

These don't actually contradict each other, but I'm beginning to think there's something that needs to be looked into. Dpbsmith (talk) 19:39, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

I graduated from Penn in 1988, and this is the first I've ever heard of Penn being connected to the Episcopalian Church in any way. As for the Quaker designation, yes, it's the nickname of the sports teams, but Quakers played no role in the founding of the school. Penn's secular foundation was consistent with Franklin's wish to teach practical subjects to students, in contrast with a curriculum of classical languages offered by such schools as Harvard and Yale.

Like you say, there isn't an inherent contradiction here, but the claims sound as if they are overly simplified. However, I don't view either claim with particular suspicion. Brown claims to have been founded clergymen, but offered admission to other denominations (I wonder if they would have accepted/did accept atheists, and whether candidates had to make their religion known), and Penn was founded as explicitly nonsectarian, although I believe that religion also played a significant role here (even considering only the 1749 Franklin lineage of the university). If I am able to turn up anything interesting on these two particular schools, or other colonial era schools, I'll try to remember to note it here.
On a related note, I've got no idea where the following claim is from:
Franklin was involved with both the 1740 project and the new Academy.
In fact, the referenced pages seems to contradict the claim:
The signal event was the debate over the founding date of the University that began in 1896 when The Alumni Register promoted the story that the University’s origins lay in George Whitefield’s Charity School that was ostensibly founded in 1740. Because this school was to be located in the church building later acquired by the board founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1749 to house his new Academy, it could be claimed as the beginning of the University.[4]
Although one of the trustees offered a well-situated building lot, Franklin focused on the property and unfinished "New Building" of the evangelist George Whitefield. There, in 1740, a group of working class Philadelphians had decided to erect a great preaching hall, the largest building in the city, which would also serve as a charity school for "the instruction of poor children." The fundraising, however, for both the building and the school had fallen short and the plans for both chapel and school were suspended. Franklin saw an opportunity to open his Academy quickly and inexpensively and in January 1751 did so, incorporating and also opening a charity school in accordance with the intentions of the original "New Building" donors.[5]
Finally, the George Whitefield page mentions Franklin, but it gives no evidence of the claimed connection. I'm removing the claim, as it seems that the only connection is that, in 1749 or thereafter, Franklin agreed to operate a charity school. btm talk 09:01, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, I wrote that and I evidently screwed up. I thought that I had seen it somehow, somewhere, because I thought that that there was supposed to be some kind of connection between the two organizations, and I thought there was some overlap in the constitution of the two boards, including Franklin. Through my efforts, that footnote has gotten quite long, disorganized, and unreadable.... Dpbsmith (talk) 10:59, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
For some reason, I originally missed your (what I see now as) obvious, but not explicit, point: Penn was nonsectarian when it opened in 1751, but Brown, founded in 1764, claims to be the first to allow men of any religion to attend. That certainly is something to mull over. Is Brown subtly charging that Penn wasn't truly nonsectarian? Or did Brown find a weasely way to claim that is was first to embrace this egalitarian ideal? And I'm also curious about whether either school allowed admission without considering religion, denomination, etc. (or lack thereof) altogether. btm talk 09:59, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
"And I'm also curious about whether either school allowed admission without considering religion, denomination, etc. (or lack thereof) altogether." Yes, this is exactly what I'm wondering about. Even in 1751-1764 etc, there must have been some stray Jews around the Colonies...
I'm also interested in Brown's labelling Penn as "Episcopalian." My suspicion is that this isn't based on deep analysis, but just a notion that 1740 on the seal + statue of George Whitefield = Episcopalian. Dpbsmith (talk) 10:59, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
Frederick Rudolph writes in his A History of the American College and University[6] (p. 16): "In the case of the College of Philadelphia denominational affiliation was nonexistent, although it was widely known that the chief executive officer, the provost, was an Anglican." btm talk 06:25, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
In American Higher Education: A History, Christopher J Lucas has a very interesting take on the influence of religion on the colleges. "Religious diversity throughout the colonies precluded the possiblilty that any one sect or denomination could long exercise exclusive control over whatever college it might establish. Hence toleration was essential. ... No college found it possible to impose a religious test for admission or doctoral requirements for graduation; and members of minority congregations invariably were assured freedom of religious belief while attending the school of the dominant faith" (p. 107.)
More interesting stuff on the College of Philadelphia can be found here and here. btm talk 08:23, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
And see the material on Brown I found in the 1911 EB and added to Brown University's History section. Apparently their charter said the board was to consist of exactly so many Baptists (22/36), so many Friends, so many Congregationalists, and so forth. Dpbsmith (talk) 12:03, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

King Williams School a.k.a. St. John's College[edit]

St. John's College, as it now stands, is without religious affiliation. The new program, began in 1939. In the article, under religious influence, is listed "many Christian sects". The school is centered around the Great books of Western Civilization, and there are many religious authors on the program, including the old and new testaments of the Bible, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, Dante, and countless others like Kierkegaard and Pascal who are clearly christians of their own kind. But, the school also reads hundreds of non-religious authors.

On their website, the school says "The College was founded in Annapolis in 1696 as King William's School and chartered in 1784 as St. John's College. A second campus was opened in 1964 in Santa Fe. St. John's is a four-year, co-educational, liberal arts college with no religious affiliation." I am not familiar with the schools religious influences before it became a great books school, but maybe you'll consider changing the entry or footnoting it like some of the others. Thanks.

More on Penn's religious affiliations[edit]

Last time I looked at this topic, I was feeling rather irritated by the issue of Penn's trying to have it both ways (as represented by the presence of Whitefield and Franklin statues on campus). Dammit, if they wanna be 1740, they gotta be Episcopalian!

But on thinking about it some more, it seems to me that the most neutral thing to do, as with founding dates, is to use the institution's own self-description, which in the case of Penn is "nonsectarian," and add a clarifying (or clouding, as the case may be) annotation. Even though I think it's contradictory to claim a founding date of 1740 and a nonsectarian heritage, that is in fact exactly what Penn claims.

Now, as to the Quaker origin. What about that? Oddly, I did some fairly casual Googling and couldn't find any particular reference to the University of Pennsylvania as having being influenced by Quakerism. Obviously, Quakers were influential in everything going on in Philadelphia at the time, and, yes, I know what Penn's athletic teams are called... but Benjamin Franklin was not a Quaker, and our University of Pennsylvania article does not mention Quakers in other than an athletic context.

The Penn website's historical timeline of Penn in the age of Franklin doesn't mention Quakerism. William Smith, the first provost, was Anglican.

I notice too that despite Quakerism's historical respect for women, Penn seems to have been fairly late at being coeducational...

So, what's the case for saying that Penn had a Quaker affiliation at the time of its founding? Dpbsmith (talk) 18:01, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

P. S. Yes, I know that Penn, the person, himself, was a Quaker... but we are not talking about William Penn University (which, for the record, does in fact claim to have been "founded by Quaker pioneers in 1873"[7]) Dpbsmith (talk) 18:09, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

Some cursory googling on Penn's website and elsewhere have failed to turn up any statements about any formal connection between Penn and Quakerism, historic or otherwise. Haverford College's statement that "Founded in 1833, Haverford is the oldest institution of higher learning with Quaker roots in North America.[8]," which implies that Haverford doesn't consider Penn to have "Quaker roots." Since I didn't run across any obvious evidence of any dispute about this, I think we can say Penn was not historically a "Quaker school" and that it's only Quaker in the sense of being part of the Quaker State, etc. Dpbsmith (talk) 12:58, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

The Other Queen's College[edit]

The section for "other" colonial foundations seems to be meant for current colleges and universities that descend from colonial academies. Therefore these two notes seem inappropriate and were removed:

"There is, however, the case of Queen's College, in the town of Charlotte, North Carolina, which was granted a charter by the Colonial Legislature in December, 1770. The school's charter, however, was repealed by Royal Proclamation due to the school's ties to the Presbyterian Church."

I cannot find an institution existing today that claims to be descended from this Queen's College. And:

"There is also the case of Georgetown University, whose history of teaching in the same location can be traced back to 1634 (see Note 7, below."

Without explaining that a colonial academy occupied the site and that it was transformed into Georgetown, this seems inaccurate and at any rate superfluous, since it's covered in the note.

1dell1 21:07, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

Georgetown's founding date[edit]

  • Georgetown's founding date, however, remains controversial. Some note that Jesuit teaching actually began on the site where Georgetown still stands in 1634. However, formal construction of the college campus began in 1788, which is why 1789 is considered its true founding date.

No sources are provided for the assertion that Jesuit teaching began in 1634, nor for any "controversy" about the founding date. Georgetown's website gives a founding date of 1789, describes Georgetown's history as extending "from 1789 to the present," and mentions no dates earlier than 1784, when founder Fr. John Carroll was appointed Superior to the American Mission.[9]

Material suggesting an earlier "founding" should not be placed in the article without a good, verifiable supporting reference. Dpbsmith (talk) 00:30, 20 November 2006 (UTC)

Disputed: Rutgers and W&M asked to join Ivy League[edit]

I am disputing the claim that Rutgers and W&M were asked to join the Ivy League but declined. William & Mary was a public university at the time, and had been for a long time. The Ivy League, in contrast, was purposefully made up of private schools. W&M also had never played Yale in football, had only played Princeton 1 time in 80 years of the sport, etc. It had no rivalry with any of these schools. While Rutgers did enjoy a football rivalry with Princeton at the time, Rutgers had just merged with the University of Newark and so was a very large university with branches in different geographic locations... it would be hard to see them being asked as well. I find it highly doubtful. Also, would not one writer in the Internet Age have written an article lamenting the fact that one of these schools did not accept the invitation? ExplorerCDT cited numerous rolls of microfilm as his "source", saying that if he had to list an article, it would be a list of over 500 and too lengthy. He has consistently avoided the question as to why he can't list just one or two articles with actual dates, that someone could easily verify. Until specific articles with specific dates can be listed and verified, I am disputing the accuracy of these claims. Wise 13:01, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

Please use Ivy League (talk) to discuss this issue. Uris 13:39, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Worldwide view[edit]

In my opinion, this article either needs to cover colonial colleges across the world, such as those that existed in the UK, or it needs to move to a more appropriate page name to allow for such an article to exist. I did flag this issue with {{worldview}}, but it has been removed, so I'll reinstate until a consensus can be reached -- Ratarsed (talk) 20:54, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

This article is about colleges in the American Colonies. If an article needs to be written about other colleges, write it. Once it's written is the time to worry about disambiguation. Just because two things were called colonial colleges doesn't mean they have any fundamental similarities or any reason to coexist within one article. - Nunh-huh 21:44, 17 April 2008 (UTC)
So you won't object if this gets moved to, say, Colonial college (United States), to allow for the disambig and other options to be writen? -- Ratarsed (talk) 22:36, 17 April 2008 (UTC)
If another article is written that needs disambiguation, this article can by all means be retitled if needs be. I wouldn't choose that title, though, regardless of what title the other (hypothetical) article has. - Nunh-huh 23:03, 17 April 2008 (UTC)
What would you suggest? As far as I can see, that would be what WP:NAMING would give (No title case, as not a proper noun; singular form & precision in brackets) -- Ratarsed (talk) 23:27, 17 April 2008 (UTC)
There are all kinds of possibilities, none of which involve parenthetical expressions that no one would guess to look under; American colonial colleges, Colleges of the American Colonies, Colonial colleges in America, etc. etc. Pointless to discuss, really, until there's an actual article so that we can see how commonly the subject of that article is referred to as Colonial Colleges, so we see if an actual disambiguation page is needed. A preliminary Google-fu suggests uses of the term to refer to anything not covered in this article are rather uncommon. - Nunh-huh 23:38, 17 April 2008 (UTC)
Unfortunately my German is a bit rusty, but I'm suggesting an article similar to which has a worldwide view on the subject of colonial colleges; Ultimately you will always get the difference between colleges to train colonials, and colleges set up by colonies -- Ratarsed (talk) 09:32, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
I don't think the institutions in the German article have much to do with the institutions in this one. First off, I'd translate Kolonialschule as "colonial school", not "colonial college"; even after reading the article I'm not entirely certain that Kolonialschulen issued degrees, or even that they taught subjects at the college level - indeed, those subjects mentioned - agriculture, trade, and commerce - are more closely associated with trade schools than colleges. The German article also claims that the British instruction for colonists was largely carried out in universities that had not been established explicitly for this purpose. An article on such institutions might be interesting, but there's little actual information on them in the German article. A good secondary source, if one exists, would be needed to create a decent article. - Nunh-huh 03:36, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
What's a trade school? is that like a (UK) college? In addition, as far as I can remember from rather rusty German, they use the term Hochschule for what I'd call a college (I.e. tertiary education for vocational subjects) or Universität for what an American would call a college (I.e. tertiary education for non-vocational subjects); the actual word 'college' stems from the romantic languages, which is why there isn't any specific form in the Germanic languages. For sources of those set up as colonial colleges in the UK, there is: [10] [11] [12]. The German article does mention others in the Netherlands, for example. I must admit, I'm a little surprised that the term 'colonial college' is not mentioned at all on the article on colleges (especially in the section on the Origin of U.S. State Colleges), given the depth of coverage in the current article here. -- Ratarsed (talk) 13:19, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
Well, yes, then, what you would call a college, I'd call a trade school. The institutions covered here are what I'd call a college. None of these colleges are state colleges. From the references you've provided, my impression that what you are calling colonial colleges are training institutes rather than institutions that confer advanced degrees. - Nunh-huh 14:16, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
Correct, they don't confer degrees - I never claimed they did, nor did they; because out of the US, only universities can, as I understand it -- The whole reason of my concern that this article only covers the US definition, without even mentioning the other type (I.e. it only covers colleges set up by colonists in the colonies). -- Ratarsed (talk) 16:51, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
So the answer is to write the article about that other kind of "colonial college" so we can include a link to it. - Nunh-huh 03:33, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
Which brings us back to the original issue that the article is about colonial colleges in the US, so surely it would need to move to make way for the more generic article? -- Ratarsed (talk) 15:42, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
Which means it can be discussed when the article is something besides hypothetical. - Nunh-huh 05:35, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Pittsburgh Academy[edit]

The source provided states that Pittsburgh Academy (the elementary forerunner to the University of Pittsburgh) was founded in 1786 and chartered the following year. This source also mentions "a school...beginning probably in 1770" but this is too vague, uncertain and unverifiable (see How to Use Sources). Other sources given show various other dates but none mention that same date or anything within ten years of it. Additionally, a cursory view of the university's webpage will also reveal no official claim to any date before 1786. As a result, and unless another source mentioned this date clearly, this cannot be held as a widely accept date and must not be included according to WP policy. No matter how hard you try to shoehorn your institution as a colonial-era related institution it simply does not fit. If you have a problem with this, I suggest you open an RfC or provide another source that clearly supports your proposition. Anubis3 (talk) 08:14, 23 December 2009 (UTC)


Please fix the article. The same style of numbering is used in both the explanatory notes and the reference footnotes. Racepacket (talk) 11:07, 18 April 2011 (UTC)

Reverted changes[edit]

With these two edits, User:Sammy Houston has turned this article back into a kludge (i.e. "An ill-assorted collection of poorly matching parts, forming a distressing whole"), with bizarre templates in the "See also" section and paragraph after paragraph outlining each college's claims to being a "Colonial College." I believe that this is the wrong way to go, and I invite users to discuss those changes. Instead, I believe that this article should return to this state, which is more list-like. Any other comments --GrapedApe (talk) 03:24, 28 April 2011 (UTC)

  • Agree with GrapedApe per kludge rationale. Also worth mentioning is User:Sammy Houston's additions of superfluous / tenuous portals and templates to myriad articles dealing with baptism and colonial history, specifically in Rhode Island for whatever reason. This user needs to read WP:NENAN. Jrcla2 (talk) 03:23, 10 May 2011 (UTC)
    • Change has been made. No comment from Sammy Houston, whose input was solicited 2 weeks ago.--GrapedApe (talk) 04:58, 11 May 2011 (UTC)

Historical Synopses for Each Colonial College[edit]

Disagreement with recent deletions. Thanks for your message, GrapedApe. What on earth is a "Kludge"? Why do a number of Wikipedia users invent esoteric terms to codify their subjective tastes? That's simply bizarre. This is not a computer science or neuroscience or aerospace related article. This article concerns colonial history. If anyone can find a reference to a "kludge" in a serious discussion of colonial American history, please share it with us. I did not create this article or add the synoposes of histories for the colleges. I added to some of those synopses. I recommend that the synopses be restored because they add useful and interesting depth to this article as well as content that may not be available in the articles concerning the respective colleges. This is not a question of supporting claims of these colleges to being viewed as colonial colleges but, rather, providing readers with some basic information about significant colonial era events, personalities and principles that led to the unique considerations surrounding the foundation of each of the 9 colleges.

As an aside, I notice that both of the above commenters appear to have affiliations with universities that are not featured in this article. That may explain why the relevance of some of the historical content is not apparent. As for the suggestion of "superfluous" portals, the Calvinism portal is very much relevant to this article as covered above in the discussion of the Puritanism of several of the founders of many of the colonial colleges, the colonies in which those colleges were founded and the creeds celebrated, practiced and enforced in the early colonial years of several of these colleges. Also, there's a difference between baptism and Baptists. Baptists played a unique role in American history in promoting religious and academic freedom through the King Charles II charter for the colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Conversely, British loyalists played a noteworthy role in restraining independent currents at King's College in New York.

I recommend that the synoposes be restored and maintained and that the portals relevant to the religious institutional underpinnings and roots of each of the colonial colleges be restored for clarity and relevant information. That is vital for understanding the historical evolution of each of the colleges to their very different contemporary institutional identities.

Please sign your posts by adding four tildes (~~~~) after making comments. All I'm going to respond to is "As an aside, I notice that both of the above commenters appear to have affiliations with universities that are not featured in this article. That may explain why the relevance of some of the historical content is not apparent.". I don't know where User:Sammy Houston gets that idea from, considering my "College of William & Mary alumni" userbox has been prominently displayed on my userpage for the entire duration of my (at this point) 4.5-year Wikipedia career. I'm fully aware of the relevance and historical significance, but I still side with User:GrapedApe in that this article is not the place to be adding tenuous backdrop. Jrcla2 (talk) 20:09, 15 May 2011 (UTC)

Brown naming[edit]

If anyone wants to pore over and figure out at what point between 1770 and 1779 the "Rhode Island College" moniker was officially adopted, more power to you. In 1773, Manning was the president of the College or University in blah blah blah. In 1772, a list of worthy recipients of degrees from Rhode Island College was proposed. In 1775, the corporation referred to it as "the College in the Colony of Rhode Island". In 1776, there was a vote by the "Fellows and Trustees of Rhode Island College". In 1780, there's an advertisement for "the College in this Town". I give up. :-) --SarekOfVulcan (talk)

Section on Colonial Colleges during the Revolutionary War?[edit]

Should a short section be added for what happened to Colonial American colleges in the 13 states during the Revolutionary War? A lot of people assume that the Colonial period ended in 1783, not 1776. Technically, the period seems to be defined in Wikipedia's article Colonial history of the United States as anything relating to the modern territory of the USA from 1492 to July 4, 1776 -- but other parts of Wikipedia such as the Timeline of Colonial America referenced in that same article seem to extended it to 1783. In fact, the British occupied most of the colleges at one point. The entire country was not fully "American" until the British pulled out of NYC. The Wikipedia timelines notes, "1783 – September: Britain signs the Treaty of Paris, recognizing American independence. November 25: The British evacuate New York, marking the end of British rule, and General George Washington triumphantly returns with the Continental Army." A section on what the war did to the colleges might be of interest (most of them closed for a period of time). Also, what happened to the College of Philadelphia during the war, its confiscation by the Republic of Pennsylvania and renaming, and the founding of two new colleges in wartime by Provost William Smith could be mentioned, though the two colleges might be left off of the table. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Harrycroswell (talkcontribs) 14:17, 24 July 2014 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Requested move 6 April 2016[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: moved to Colonial colleges. No prejudice against a new RM arguing the merits of whether it should be a plural or not, but clearly there is a consensus to move away from the "list of" format. Jenks24 (talk) 16:10, 2 May 2016 (UTC)

List of Colonial CollegesColonial colleges – Article has background on the topic, not just a list, and there is no other actual article about that topic. Article also includes content about associated topics or groupings, which is suitable if this article is about the grouping but not if this article is only a list of the group's members. Alternative title is singular Colonial college, not sure which is better. I'm not doing it WP:BOLDly because there was previously an attempt at writing an articel about the group after this list-of article existed. That one got merged into here rather than vice versa, want to make sure that wasn't just a chronological/avoidance-of-WP:CONTENTFORKING solution. DMacks (talk) 21:22, 6 April 2016 (UTC)

This seems like a good idea. I would argue that the choice between "Colonial colleges" and "Colonial college" depends on whether we consider this a proper noun or not. If it's about colonial colleges generically, then the article should be singular: "A colonial college is one founded before blah blah blah." If it's about a proper noun group, then I'd say it should be plural: "The Colonial Colleges are a group of blah blah blah." Esrever (klaT) 23:55, 6 April 2016 (UTC)
It seems more like a lay-language description identifying the set rather than than the name of an actual organization. Doesn't appear to be capitalized in the few cited refs that seem to be about this group as a group. Note to self...once this is settled, will also have to handle DAB vs Colonial College. DMacks (talk) 02:36, 7 April 2016 (UTC)
Whereas I think it describes a proper set: they are a discrete collection of colleges, even if they aren't organized as an actual organization. Still, I'll happily defer to whatever consensus develops here. Esrever (klaT) 03:54, 7 April 2016 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

External links modified[edit]

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