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RG 2.0.3 The Papers of the Office of the President of Gettysburg College: Milton Valentine (1868-1884)

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Milton Valentine (1825-1906) served as the third president of Pennsylvania College of Gettysburg for 16 years from 1868 until 1884.  Born near Uniontown, MD in 1825, he was a member of the graduating class of 1850, the first alumnus to become president of the College.  After graduation, he served for two years as a tutor in the preparatory school while attending the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg.  Licensed in 1852, he served parishes in Winchester, Va., Pittsburgh, Greensburg and Reading before being called to the Seminary as Professor of Ecclesiastical History and Church Polity.  He received an honorary D.D. degree from Pennsylvania College in 1866.

Inaugurated as President of Pennsylvania College on December 21, 1868, in Christ Lutheran Church, Valentine was a reluctant chief executive serving primarily out of a pronounced sense of duty.  While more comfortable as a teacher, (as president he occupied the professorship of Intellectual and Moral Science), Valentine, nevertheless, lead the institution faithfully during a period of hard financial times for the country and for the Lutheran church.  When the Board, in 1973, undertook an ambitious program to raise $125,000 expecting the president to lead in this effort, Valentine announced his intention to resign.  After the Board refused to accept his resignation and raised his salary, as before, Valentine reluctantly agreed to stay but asked the Board to make every effort to improve the financial position of the college and to relieve him from "some of the confinement and drudgery hitherto attached to the office."

In March 1884, after accepting a call to return to the seminary faculty, Valentine again resigned.  He remained an active member of the Board of Trustees until his death in 1906.

Scope and Content Notes:

While the papers of President Milton Valentine do not exist as a distinct collection, materials regarding his presidency, gathered together in this record group, provide a glimpse of his leadership of the College and relationship with the faculty. The record group is made up primarily of original reports that President Valentine submitted to the Board of Trustees on behalf of the faculty, most often during the June meeting from 1868 through 1879.  These reports contain information about the academic program and governance of the College and include statements about enrollment and the general health of the student body, disciplinary actions taken, adjustments made to instructional assignments, recommendations to fill vacancies at the college and in the preparatory program, changes to the curriculum, requests for support for teaching equipment and building renovations, lists of candidates to be approved for the  Bachelors degree and second or Masters degree*,  discussions of college publications, and  a review of Board and faculty interaction regarding the instruction in and governance of the preparatory program.  The collection also contains original printings of programs, sermons, lectures, newspaper articles, and promotional materials issued by the College during his presidency including two copies of the inauguration program with his inaugural address, a Baccalaureate Discourse delivered June 12, 1879, and a sermon given on his eightieth birthday.

(*During this period, the College conferred a second degree in the arts, sometimes 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).

Download Finding Aid - Adobe PDF (51KB)

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