With these words, Daniel Webster concluded his successful defense of the inviolability of the royal charter of Dartmouth College External, which was originally obtained on December 13, 1769.
It is, Sir, as I have said, a small college. And yet there are those who love it!
Letter, Thomas Jefferson to William Plumer regarding the Dartmouth College Case, July 21, 1816. Words and Deeds in American History: Selected Documents Celebrating the Manuscript Division’s First 100 Years
In his landmark Dartmouth College v. Woodward decision (1819), Chief Justice John Marshall (1755-1835) supported the inviolability of the charter as a contract and ruled that the college, under the charter, was a private and not a public entity. As such, the school was protected from the state’s regulatory power through the contract clause of the United States Constitution.
The ninth oldest college in the United States, Dartmouth was founded when Reverend Eleazar Wheelock, a Congregationalist minister seeking to expand his school into a college, relocated his educational establishment from Connecticut to Hanover, in the royal Province of New Hampshire. Wheelock’s earlier school, the Moor’s Charity School, was primarily for the education of Native Americans. The Royal Governor John Wentworth provided the land upon Dartmouth was built and conveyed the charter from King George III to establish the college. Wheelock’s charter was to create a college for the “education and instruction of Youth of the Indian Tribes in this Land…and also of English Youth and any others.”
Dartmouth’s first classes, consisting of just four students, were held in a single log hut in Hanover in 1770. As of 2007 there were approximately 4,100 undergraduates and 1,600 graduate students enrolled in the four-year, private, liberal arts college. The school has thirty-nine undergraduate academic departments and programs in the arts and sciences (as well as nineteen graduate programs). Dartmouth College is the home of the nation’s first professional school of engineering, the world’s first graduate school of management, and the nation’s fourth oldest medical school.
- Search across the collections on Dartmouth to find more materials such as a panoramic photograph showing the Earl of Dartmouth laying the corner stone of new building at Dartmouth College on October 26, 1904.
- Search on Dartmouth College in the pictorial collections for various images, which are primarily buildings.
- Also search on Dartmouth College in Built in America: Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record, 1933-Present for more information on various buildings on the campus such as the Webster Cottage and Wentworth Hall.
- American Landscape and Architectural Design, 1850-1920: a Study Collection from the Harvard Graduate School of Design External contains images of school buildings.
- Search on the term college in Touring Turn-of-the-Century America: Photographs from the Detroit Publishing Company, 1880-1920 collection for a wide variety of images, primarily of East Coast colleges.
- Search Today in History on the terms Howard, Columbia, Fisk, Princeton, University of Chicago, University of Iowa, Yale, Vassar, Cornell, or Georgetown for features on these institutions.