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Chattanooga University records

 Collection — Box: UA-00-01-01 001
Identifier: UA-00-01-01

Scope and Contents

This series contains newspaper clippings, course catalogs, legal documents and other records regarding Chattanooga University from 1883 to 1930. Several legal documents pertain to the Methodist Episcopal Church Board of Education, the Freedmen's Aid and Southern Education Society and the involvement of these two entities in the foundation of Chattanooga University. A substantial portion of this series also contains newspaper clippings and a history manuscript pertaining to the controversy over the admission of black students to Chattanooga University.


  • Creation: 1883-1930


Language of Materials

This series contains materials in English.

Conditions Governing Access

This series is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright status of this series has not been evaluated.

Biographical / Historical

In 1873, an educational convention of the Methodist Episcopal Church attended by delegates from six of the regional conferences from the area defined by the church as the "Central South" met in Knoxville, Tennessee and unanimously adopted resolutions in favor of "One Central University for the Methodist Episcopal Church in the South." After more than a decade of politics, debates, and financial maneuvering, a charter for Chattanooga University was granted in July 1886, authorizing the institution to confer degrees. The charter stipulated that the school be governed by two classes of trustees, one elected by the Freedmen's Aid Society, and the other elected by the six conferences of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Shortly thereafter, the Board of Trustees selected Edward S. Lewis as the first president and dean of the university, and Bishop J.M. Walden as president of the board.

Chattanooga University began its first semester on September 15, 1886 with 118 students and eight faculty members in September 1886, with classes taking place inside of "Old Main", a four-story building on the center of the thirteen acre campus, the site of present day Race and Hooper Halls. Regional denominational politics of the Methodist Episcopal Church, including a controversy over policy with regard to racially integrated education, continued to impact the success of the fledgling Chattanooga University, and in 1889 it merged with Grant Memorial University (formerly known as East Tennessee Wesleyan University) in Athens, Tennessee. As part of the merger, John F. Spence, head of the Athens branch, was named President of the university. The newly consolidated institution changed names again later that year to U.S. Grant University.


0.42 Linear Feet (1 container)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This series was deposited with the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga on an unknown date by an unknown source.

Processing Information

Processing of this series is in progress.

Chattanooga University founding documents and records
Under Revision
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Collection Area Details

Part of the University Archives Collection Area

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Library
c/o Special Collections
600 Douglas Street
Chattanooga Tennessee 37403 United States