Records relating to the founding of the Boylston Professorship of Rhetoric and Oratory
- Harvard University. Corporation (Organization)
Extent.98 cubic feet (1 half-document box, 1 portfolio folder)
The records were assembled as an archival collection by the archivist at an unknown date from various sources without regard to original provenance in order to document University professorships.
Although pleased with the news of his appointment, Adams, currently representing Massachusetts in the United States Senate, had reservations about some of the provisions in the Professorship statutes. Adams informed the Corporation on August 6, 1805 that he could not accept the Boylston Professorship unless specific statutes were amended. He explained that as a member of the United States Senate he could not possibly meet the requirement of residing full-time in Cambridge during the school year. Adams also expressed his dissatisfaction over the requirement that the Boylston Professor make a declaration of religious faith. Adams questioned the College's authority to impose such a test or declaration.
On September 2, 1805, the Corporation voted to amend the residency requirement of the Boylston statutes to accommodate Adams's senatorial duties. The Corporation also voted to insert a less objectionable declaration of faith into the statutes to make it more acceptable to Adams and voted to provide a substitute professor when the Boylston Professor was away. Despite these amendments, Adams raised further objections. In a letter to the Corporation on October 11, 1805, Adams criticized the provision for the appointment of a substitute professor claiming that such an appointment would be inconsistent with the original intention of the Professorship and lead to some "unpleasant differences between the two teachers." Determined to secure Adams's services, the Corporation on May 21, 1806, appointed another committee to draft further alterations to the statutes. These alterations finally satisfied Adams and allowed him to teach on a part-time basis and to determine which Boylston duties he would fulfill, without a substitute professor.
Adams's lectures as the Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory began on July 11, 1806. By August 12, 1808, Adams had completed thirty-six lectures. Adams repeated the first twenty-four of his lectures in the new academic year, but after he was appointed minister to Russia in July 1809 by President James Madison, Adams resigned his professorship. In August, the Corporation appointed the Reverend Joseph McKean as the new Boylston Professor. When McKean's selection was accepted by the Corporation, the Boylston statutes were revised again to require that the Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory reside at Cambridge near the College to perform all the duties of his office.
- "Boylston Professorship of Rhetoric and Oratory" in Harvard University History of Named Chairs, Sketches of Donors and Donations. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Secretary to the University, 1991.
- Goodfellow, Donald M. "The First Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory." The New England Quarterly 19 (September, 1946) : 372-389.
- Quincy, Josiah. The History of Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts: John Owen, 1840.
- Reid, Ronald F. "The Boylston Professorship of Rhetoric and Oratory, 1806-1904: A Case Study in Changing Concepts of Rhetoric and Pedagogy." The Quarterly Journal of Speech 45 (October 1959) : 239-257.
<emph render="italic">Formerly UAI 15.950pf Rules, Directions, and Statutes of the Boylston Professorship of Rhetoric and Oratory in Harvard College, [1806 May 21 - 1809 August 31] </emph>
- See UAI 15.970 Box 2, Folder 1
This finding aid was created by Dominic P. Grandinetti in May 2011.
Preservation and description of the Records relating to the founding of the Boylston Professorship of Rhetoric and Oratory was supported, in part, by the Arcadia-funded project Harvard in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries.
- Harvard University. Corporation. Records relating to the founding of the Boylston Professorship of Rhetoric and Oratory, 1772-1809: an inventory
- EAD ID
Part of the Harvard University Archives Repository
Holding nearly four centuries of materials, the Harvard University Archives is the principal repository for the institutional records of Harvard University and the personal archives of Harvard faculty, as well as collections related to students, alumni, Harvard-affiliates and other associated topics. The collections document the intellectual, cultural, administrative and social life of Harvard and the influence of the University as it emerged across the globe.
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