Name: Himes, Charles Francis (1838-1918) MC 2000.1
Material: Family Papers (1797-1934)
Volume: 18 linear feet
Donation: Gift of Mary Himes Vale and Sarah Vale Rush, 1947
Usage: These materials have been donated without restrictions on usage.
Charles Francis Himes
was born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania on June 2, 1838 to William D.
Himes and Magdalen Lanius. As a boy, Charles Francis attended the
New Oxford Collegiate and Medical Institute in Adams County, PA, which
was headed by Dr. M. D. G. Pfeiffer. He entered Dickinson College
in the Spring of 1853 as a sophomore and became a founding member of the
school's Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity. After graduating in 1855, Himes
taught mathematics and natural sciences at the Wyoming Conference Academy
in Wayne County, PA. A year later he moved to the Midwest to teach
at public schools in Missouri and Illinois, and shortly thereafter returned
to the east to accept a position at the Baltimore Female College.
In 1860, at the age of 22, he was appointed Professor of Mathematics at
Troy University in Troy, New York, teaching there for three years.
Himes enrolled at the University of Giessen in the Hanover region of Germany
in 1863, earning his Ph.D. after two years of study. Upon his return
to the United States, he was named Professor of Natural Science at Dickinson
College, a position which he would hold for three decades.
During his long tenure at Dickinson, Himes was instrumental in expanding the science curriculum and in arranging the construction of a new building dedicated to the science departments, the Jacob Tome Scientific Building, completed in 1885. He also helped establish a Scientific Society for the students in 1867. He served as Secretary and Treasurer for the Board of Trustees from 1868 until his retirement in 1896, and also served as Acting College President during the academic year 1888-89. In addition, Himes authored the first narrative history of the institution, A Sketch of Dickinson College, in 1879.
Besides his professional duties for the college, Himes was active in various personal pursuits as well. Among these many activities, he was a prominent member of the Hamilton Library Association in Carlisle, PA, and the Cumberland County Historical Society, even serving as president for a time. He was an honorary member of the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, lecturing there on a regular basis, and was also a member of the American Philosophical Society and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Beginning in 1901, he also served as president of the Pennsylvania German Society, an organization with which he had been actively involved since 1897. He was also an avid traveler, making numerous extended trips to Europe throughout his life.
Beginning in 1858, he developed a life-long interest in photography, studying and teaching the techniques of this newly evolving form of popular art and science. He published a work titled Leaf Prints: or Glimpses at Photography in 1868, an early exposi
tion of some of his work, and in 1884 he began teaching
photography during summer programs at Mountain Lake Park, Maryland.
He shared his work and knowledge with other amateur photographers through
various associations, becoming a member of the Pennsylvania Photographic
Society in 1860, the Amateur Photographic Exchange Club in 1861, and, later
in life, pursuing photographic efforts through the Hamilton Library Association.
Himes took an active interest in the study and writing of history as well, particularly focusing on subjects that related to Dickinson College and the Cumberland Valley. Through his writings on such figures as Colonel Robert Magaw and Judge Thomas Cooper (The Life and Times of Judge Thomas Cooper, 1918) and his lectures on a number of topics before the Cumberland County Historical Society, and even through his photographic work, Himes demonstrated his strong commitment to practicing, preserving, and promoting history.
Charles Francis Himes married Mary Elizabeth Murray, daughter of Reverend Joseph Alexander Murray and Ann Hays Blair, on January 2, 1868. Charles and Mary had two daughters, Mary Murray, born in December 1868, and Anna Magdalen, born in March 1880. Mary Murray married Thomas Eyster Vale in September 1905, and had two daughters, Mary Himes and Sarah Elizabeth. Anna Magdalen married Reverend George Valentine Metzel in March 1904 and had two sons, Charles Francis and George Valentine. At the age of fifty-six, Mary Elizabeth Murray died in Owaneco, Illinois on December 3, 1904 while visiting relatives. Charles Francis Himes died at eighty years of age at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore on December 6, 1918.
The Charles Francis
Himes Family Collection is housed in 34 document boxes, 6 oversized folders, and
569 photograph folders, and the materials are divided into 15 individual series
which are titled and ordered as follows: Correspondence (Bound), Correspondence
(Loose), Ephemera, Journals, Legal and Financial Papers, Miscellaneous,
Newspaper Clippings, Pamphlets (Bound), Pamphlets (Loose), Photograph Albums,
Research Notes and Writings, Speeches and Lectures, Artifacts, Oversized, and
Photographs. Each series has been
separately described and inventoried.
collection primarily provides evidence of the personal and professional life of
C. F. Himes, student, photographer, scientist, teacher, administrator, amateur
historian and father. Also found in
this collection is evidence of the lives of family members including, most
notably, C. F. Himes' wife Mary and her father Joseph A. Murray. Information on Dickinson College is featured prominently
throughout this collection through the close association of C. F. Himes with the
institution during most of his life.
Beyond family and institutional history, this collection offers information on a number of social, political, economic, and historic topics. Some of these broader topics include post-secondary education in the latter half of the nineteenth century, south central Pennsylvania society, the history of photography, and nineteenth century travel.
This collection was collectively processed by the students of History 305 during the Spring semester 2000, named as follows: Andrew Averill, Laura Dettloff, LeAnn Fawver, Carolyn Fenton, Mark Fifer, Christine Line, Maureen McIlhaney, Robert Reeves, Erika White, and Regan Winn. Robert Reeves is responsible for the final editing of the collection register in August 2000.