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RG 2.0.1 The Papers of the Office of the President of Gettysburg College: Charles Philip Krauth (1834-1850)

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Charles Philip Krauth (1797-1867) served at the first president of Pennsylvania College of Gettysburg for 16 years from 1834 until 1850.  Born in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, the son of an immigrant Lutheran parochial schoolmaster and church organist, his family moved first to York, then to Baltimore, finally settling in Lynchburg, Virginia. While preparing for a career in medicine, Krauth gradually came to believe that he was destined for the ministry.  He was not college educated but instead qualified for ordination in the Lutheran church through the usual apprenticeship with two experienced pastors.  His contemporaries described him as a man with a brilliant mind, a wonderful faculty of acquiring knowledge and an industrious reader.  While in his first parish in Martinsburg and Shepherdstown in Virginia, he joined with Samuel Simon Schmucker in the early planning for the establishment of a Lutheran theological seminary in America and in March 1826 was selected as secretary of the first Board of Trustees for the seminary to be located in Gettysburg.

Krauth's interest in Lutheran higher education remained strong, as shown by his selection to the first Board of Trustees of Pennsylvania College of Gettysburg in 1832 and his elections the following year to the position of Professor of Biblical and Oriental Literature at the seminary and by his college board colleagues to replace Schmucker as Professor of Intellectual and Moral Science at the college.  In that same year he became chairman of the college faculty and in April 1834 was unanimously elected President of Pennsylvania College.

At his inauguration at the beginning of the following Winter Session, President Krauth described the system of education in America as being deficient, calling in response for a greater breadth and

depth of learning. He saw education as providing the keys to open the pleasures of life while increasing in those so educated the capacity to be useful to the church, society and the developing nation.  This was his vision for Pennsylvania College.   During his early years as president, the Board of Trustees arranged for the erection of a proper college edifice, giving him the added responsibilities for managing this educational and residential facility. The following statement, added to the college catalogue beginning in 1839, clearly portrays President Kurth's approach to the care and nurturing of the students.  "The discipline of the Institution is, as nearly as possible, parental..... The President, under whose immediate supervision the building is placed, lives in it with his family, and together with the Tutors and Professors, exercises a constant guardianship over the whole establishment: so that parents from a distance have all the security they may desire for the proper government of their children."   Charles P. Krauth conscientiously carried out the duties assigned to him by the Board of Trustees.  He continued to serve as chair of the faculty, a body in which his role was that if first among equals.  No evidence appears to suggest less than a harmonious relationship among the faculty and between the faculty and the Board of Trustees during his presidency.

During most of his presidential years Krauth continued to teach at the seminary.  Finally, in 1850 he resigned from the presidency of the college in order to become the Professor of Biblical Philosophy and Ecclesiastical History in the seminary, a position that he held until his death in 1867.  Krauth continued as an active and involved member of the College Board for the remainder of his life, occasional attending college faculty meetings as an advisory member.

Scope and Content Notes:

This collection consists primarily of original handwritten semi-annual reports submitted by President C. P. Krauth to the Board of Trustees of Pennsylvania College of Gettysburg from April 1834 through September 1846.  The first three reports are identified as being from the President; however, beginning in September 1836, they are acknowledged as reports of the faculty.  President Krauth continued to prepare the reports, (they are clearly in his handwriting and signed by him), but his colleagues on the faculty reviewed the document in detail and made their own suggestions for changes before their submission to the Board.  The original documents reveal some of these changes.  In many cases the reports presented formal resolutions passed during a faculty meeting from the previous session. The reports also contain references to documents directly submitted to the Board from other members of the faculty or from the Principal of the preparatory department.  The reports are arranged chronologically. The collection also includes a ledger containing President Krauth's notes, prepared in 1834, for eight lectures on Mental Philosophy and a copy of a letter of introduction for Rev Krauth, his wife and party for a visit to the U.S. Congress.   

The trustee reports review the instructional program and governance of the College during the years covered and include reports on student enrollment, formation and acquisitions for the library, acquisitions of science apparatus and a mineral collection, examination and approval of candidates for the degree, disciplinary actions and dismissals, recommendations for faculty positions, staffing for the preparatory department, provisions for a diploma and printed catalogue, solicitations for contributions, changes to the courses of study, policies regarding the transition to the new college edifice, residence policies for those living in the college building, use and maintenance of the college edifice, list of candidate for the A.M. degree1, need for a second building and more space for the preparatory department, changes to student fees, destruction of property, and campus upkeep and improvements.   

1During this period, the College conferred a second degree in the arts, referred to as a Masters degree, at the end of three years or later on graduates who had engaged in literary or professional study since graduation and who had sustained a good moral character. Most often these where graduates who continued their studies at seminary or who prepared for a career in the law or medicine.

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