(AUG. 13, 1810-MAR. 16, 1898)

"It is not his marvelous business career which made him the professor of millions, but as the manager and practical owner of four banks, the director of railroads and other corporations, the possessor of immense timber and coal lands and improved real estate, his intelligent comprehension, fertile suggestions and wise conclusions, that  Mr. Tome has always secured the confidence and deference of his associates."

Tome Scientific Building
Photograph Courtesy of Dickinson College Archives

The Tome Scientific Building was made possible by the generous gift of the Hon. Jacob Tome.  Tome was one of the most remarkable men of his time, born in Manheim Township, York County, PA .  After the early death of his father, Tome was forced to quit his education and make his own way in the world.  He worked various jobs throughout the country, and despite the fact he had little education was even able to teach for a short while in a country school.  In 1833, he settled down in Port Deposit, Maryland, where he established his permanent home.   While living in Maryland, Tome invested his labor and money into a  lumber company and thus began his successful  investment career.  Soon Tome invested in prosperous railroad dealings, and eventually found he would have the most success in the banking field.  He established four banks in Port Deposit, in Elkton, in Hagerstown, Md., and in Fredricksburg, Virginia.    Tome proved to be a remarkable and generous business man with a worth of millions.
Tome was not as successful in the political world as he was at business.  Still, he was elected by the Union Party of Cecil County to the State Senate where he acted as Chairman of its Finance Committee for several years.  In 1871, he had been nominated  by the Republican party for Governor, but was defeated by the Democratic candidate.
In his private life Tome proved to be most generous.  He married Eva S Nesbitt in October of 1884, but sadly, they lost all their children at infancy.  Though he had no children of his own and had little education, he contributed greatly to institutions of higher education.  He is best remembered for founding the Jacob Tome Institute (later the Tome School for Boys) in Port Deposit in 1894.    He served on the board of Trustees at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and contributed largely to the support of the College.  His generous donation of $25,000 was used to finance the building of a new Science Building, that now still bears his name.

Kristen McLane

All information drawn from the Dickinson College Archives