Columbian College, 1822, Historical Sketch

Columbian College, in the District of Columbia, is situated on an eminence, one mile and a half north of the President's house, adjoining the northern boundary of the city of Washington, commanding a prospect of the cities of "Washington, Georgetown, and Alexandria, and the Potomac river, for about fifteen miles, to Fort Washington and Mount Vernon.

The premises, containing forty-seven acres, were purchased in November, 1819. The College edifice was begun in March, 1820, and finished in the fall of 1821. It is 117 feet long, 47 feet deep, and five stories high, including the basement and attick. Two handsome brick houses, for Professors, besides convenient out-buildings and appurtenances, are also completed.

The institution was incorporated by an act of Congress of February 9, 1821. No religious test is required of candidates for any situation in the College, either as trustee, instructor, or student ; but all persons, conforming to the principles of morality, are entitled to equal privileges and benefits.

There are three Departments in the College, Classical, Theological, and Medical; the last of which is not yet brought into operation. A Law Department is also contemplated.

The Theological Department commenced its operations in September, 1821, and the Classical Department in January, 1822. The coursc of instruction in the Classical Department is the same as that of the most respectable Colleges in the United States, accommodated alike as a foundation to all learned professions.

The present number of students in the College is fifty-four. There are two vacations in each year : the first, from tha second Wednesday in July to the second Wednesday in September ; the other, from the third Wednesday in December to the second Wednesday in January. Annual commencement, third Wednesday in December.


Rev. Obadiah B. Brown, President—Rev. Luther Rice, Treasurer and Agent—Enoch Reynolds, Esq. Secretary—Rev. Burgis Allison, D.D.— Rev. Thomas Baldwin. D. D.—Mr. Daniel Brown—Thomas Corcoran, Esq.—Rev. Spencer H. Cone—Rev. Richard Furman, D. D.—Mr. Joseph Gibson—Hon'ble Return J. Meigs, jun.—Rev. Robert Semple— Mr. Joseph Thaw.


Rev. William Staughton, D.D. President, and professor of general history, logic, rhetoric, and belles-lettres.

Rev. Ira Chase, professor of the learned languages.

Rev. Alva Woods, professor of mathematics and natural philosophy

Thomas Sewall, M. D. professor of anatomy and physiology.

James M. Staughton, M. D. professor of chemistry and geology.

Elijah R. Craven, M.D. professor of botany.


Mr. Rufus Babcock, Rev. Samuel Waite, Mr. William Ruggles, Mr. Alexis Caswell.


Rev. William Staughton, D.D. professor of divinity and pulpit eloquence.

Rev. Ira Chase, professor of languages and biblical literature.

Rev. Alva Woods, professor of ecclesiastical history and Christian discipline.

"Literary and Benevolent Institutions," The Washington Directory showing the Name, Occupation, and Residence, of each Head of a Family and Person in Business, Washington, D. C., December, 1822, page 130-131.

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