|A Personal Word|
FIFTY-NINE years ago I came to Dickinson College as a Freshman, and for four years shared its teachings and fellowships. These four years saw the smallest college enrolment since 1836. I was thus in close association with the small student body and the members of the college faculty, only five in number the last half of my course. There were great disadvantages in this, but I think the advantages greatly outweighed them; and I came to love the College and its fellowships with a great love. In 1882, four years after my graduation, I gladly accepted an invitation to return to the College, and have now lived under its shadow for fifty-one years, serving the College nearly forty-eight of these years.
Retrospect shows me that I was always eager for stories of the earlier years of the College, and commencement periods were especially interesting because I could corner the old alumnus and get him to tell the story of his own college days. Bishop Bowman, General Rusling and Asbury J. Clarke thus told me of Durbin and Emory and McClintock, of Peck and Collins, of Johnson, and the exciting Civil War days.
When I first retired from the college presidency in 1928 I took pleasure in collating these memories and other information I had gathered; and when I found that my knowledge of the College failed me, especially of its early years, my whetted interest drove me to the many and diverse sources of our college history, to fill in the gaps. I thus read many of the old letters and other records bearing on the early days of the College. Quotations from them appear in the course of the story, many of them quaint and curious in expression after nearly a century and a half; but I have tried to report them as they appear in the originals spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and all.
The Committee of the Trustees planning for the Sesqui-
centennial of the College learned of my interest in the college story and asked me to enlarge the scope of my work to include a history of the College. I consented, and this book is the result. Responsibility for its appearance thus rests partly at least upon the Committee.
I had no thought that it could grow to the proportions it has attained; but it really threatened to get altogether out of bounds, and with no little regret I have been compelled to abridge and omit material which gave me pleasure in its collection. This is especially true of the history of the first fifty years, though even as thus abridged this part of the story may seem unduly long. I could not, however, bring myself to shorten the story of this period any further.
Most of the readers of this history are friends and alumni of the College, and know me personally. There will be no surprise, then, when they discover that the work is that of a life-time teacher rather than a writer. I count them as my friends all, and trust that they will be generous in their judgment of my work in an unaccustomed field, a work of love for the College which trained me as a boy and has given me worthwhile work as a man.
If the story deepens the love of the readers for the College as its preparation has deepened that of its writer, I shall be more than satisfied.
|J. H. Morgan|