INTERESTING TO NOTE
Some of the founding fathers of Illinois Wesleyan University/Academy include William H. Allin, John Magoun,
John W. Ewing, John E. McClun, William H. Holmes, Kersey
H. Fell, Rev. Peter Cartwright, James Allin, Rev. John S. Barger,
Charles P. Merriman, W.C.
Hobbs, James Miller, Isaac Funk, William Wallace, Rev. James F. Jaques, Silas Watters, Rev. William J. Rutledge, Rev.
Thomas P. Rogers, Lewis Bunn, James Laeton, Rev. Thomas Magee, Rev. John Van Cleave, Rev. C.M.
Holliday, Rev. Linus Graves, Rev. Reuben Andrus, Rev.
James C. Finley, and Rev. David Trimmer.
Other notable figures associated with the school outside of President Abraham Lincoln, Illinois
Governor Joseph Fifer, and Supreme Court Justice David Davis
include Jesse Fell, and Maj. John Wesley Powell (was a faculty member from 1865-67 before leaving to
Peak, the Colorado River, and the Grand Canyon from 1867-72). In a bit of irony, both
Lincoln and Fell were also involved in the founding of Illinois State Normal (now Illinois State) University in 1857, which is less than a
mile up the street from Illinois Wesleyan.
In the first year that course work was offered at Illinois Wesleyan, language, geometry, algebra, & philosophy courses cost $5.00
per quarter, English grammar was $4.00, while orthography & arithmetic were $3.00.
According to information
found in the 1857-58 school catalog, it states the
following about the Preparatory Department: “This will be under the immediate supervision of the Faculty, assisted by
such Tutors as may be necessary to accomplish their work. It is preferred that Students preparing for the College Classes should make
their preparation here rather than elsewhere for an advanced standing. If we must be responsible
for the final credentials of the scholar, we
would prefer laying the foundation of his
However, in the 1902-03 catalog, the Academy (still referred to as “Preparatory School”) was given the following write-up: “The
prime purpose of this school is to furnish a thorough
preparation for admission to college. The courses of study offered are equal to the requirements of the best fitting schools. No subject is omitted
which is indispensable either to the knowledge or mental discipline requisite for successful collegiate
these courses are designed primarily to
fit the pupil for college, they are, also, admirably arranged for those who are seeking high grade
academic attainments. Their component parts are well selected and placed in logical order, thus offering the best possible results to those who can pursue
only a limited course of study.
preparatory courses of study are offered—The Classical, The Latin-Scientific,
and the English—each leading to Freshmen rank and requiring one hundred forty-six semester
hours for its completion. These hours are distributed as follows:
“Classical Course:--Mathematics 34, English Language 33, History and Civics 21, Latin
30, Greek 20, Science 8.
“Latin-Scientific:--Mathematics 34, English Language 35, History and Civics 21, Latin 30, Science 16, German 10.
34, English Language 35, History and Civics 21, Latin 20, Science 16, German 20.
semester hour in English Classics is required throughout the
entire course, and one in elocution during
the third and fourth years of the Latin-Scientific courses, and one in
the fourth year of the Classical course.
RELATION TO THE COLLEGE
"The Preparatory School is closely allied to the College of Liberal Arts, and feels
in many ways its elevating influence. Its students meet in chapel with the college students. They recite in part to teachers who are members
of the college faculty and have the benefit of the college laboratories, museums, libraries, and Christian associations. They also have the same rights in
the gymnasium and the athletic park. Such associations and privileges
are very stimulating and helpful to preparatory students.
"Yet the preparatory school has a distinct organization of its own. It is under the immediate
supervision of a principal of established reputation who gives it his entire time and energy. In addition to the help given
by members of the college faculty, he has an assistant of ability and experience whose work is exclusively in this school.
The preparatory students have their own class organizations, literary societies, literary contests, and graduation exercises,
and upon completing the course certificates are presented to them by the President of the University.
"While under the careful oversight so important for students of this grade, they also have
every opportunity and incentive for the development of manly and womanly character. Every effort is made to awaken in them
a noble ambition and to help them to lay a foundation, both moral and intellectual, upon which they may safely and successful
"While the preparatory courses of study cover four years, a student may enter any one of
them at any point for which he is prepared, and advance as rapidly as he is able to do satisfactory work. No examinations
are required for admission, but applicatns should have a fair knowledge of the common school branches.
"Students are assigned to classes according to the judgment of the principal, who reserves
the right to make subsequent changes, if they beccome necessary.
"Applicants desiring credit for work done elsewhere should bring formal statements from
their teachers, showing amount and character of the work for which they wish to receive credit."
A BIG THANKS....
to archivist Meg Miner at Illinois Wesleyan University's Ames Library. Photographs and
catalogue descriptions have been provided by Tate Archives & Special Collections, The Ames Library, Illinois Wesleyan
University. Find out more about IWU at: http://www.iwu.edu/library/contact/tate_archives.shtml
Also, a written history about the school entitled "The Illinois Wesleyan Story 1850-1950"
by Elmo Scott Watson (IWU Press, Bloomington, Illinois 1950) helped provide a history of the school as well as a list
of the founding fathers and notable subjects in the school's history.
IF YOU HAVE MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT US!!!!
Our address is listed below, or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact us thru the Guest Commentary page. We would love to find out more about the Preparatory Academy of Illinois Wesleyan University, its activities,
and other famous students.
6439 N. Neva
Chicago, IL 60631