Office of the President (Joseph Torrey) Records
Scope and Content Note
The first subseries contains the university materials, which is a relatively small part of the collection. Nevertheless, among the records are a number of historically important developments at the university, including the effort to raise funds in support of it. The correspondence files contain letters over the duration of Torrey's long association with the university as faculty and then president. There are a number of notable Vermonters and other UVM presidents and faculty, including early conservationist and intellectual George Perkins Marsh, Calvin Pease, Worthington Smith, and lawyer and judge Jacob Collamer.
Much of this collection is not related to Torrey's tenure at the University of Vermont as professor and president, but to his personal life. Aside from family and personal correspondence, In addition to Torrey's diaries during his trips abroad in 1828 and 1829, there is family and personal correspondence; and family items such as a series of notes and diaries in shorthand and Greek by Charles C. Torrey, grandson of Joseph.
- Torrey, Joseph, 1797-1867 (Person)
Collection is open for research.
All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the University Archivist.
Torrey, Rev. Joseph (1797-1867), 1862-1866. President during the years of the Civil War, Torrey's tenure was deeply affected by the war. Only six students graduated in 1865; three, the following year. Yet the four years of his tenure saw some of the most dramatic developments in the university's history, which would have far-reaching effects for the college and for the state of Vermont.
Born in Rowley, Massachusetts, in 1797, he graduated from Dartmouth College in 1816 and from Andover Theological Seminary in 1819. After preaching at the Congregational Church in Royalton, Vermont, he was appointed professor of Greek and Latin at UVM in 1827. In 1842, after the death of James Marsh, he became professor of moral philosophy. A committed scholar more than an administrator, his tenure was marked not by innovative academic or financial reform, but by the effects of events external to the university. Most important of these was the passage of the Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862, named for its sponsor Justin Morrill, U.S. Representative (and later Senator) from Vermont, which provided each state with government land for which to support the establishment of a state agriculture college. In Vermont, 150,000 acres were set aside. Governor John G. Smith (UVM 1841) advocated the merging of UVM, Norwich University, and Middlebury College into a single corporation, and in 1863, the Vermont legislature passed the Chandler Act designed to unite the three into the Vermont State University and Associated Colleges. Both Norwich and Middlebury declined, and in November 1865, the legislature provided for UVM to incorporate with the State Agricultural College. Once again, the Board of Trustees would become comprised partly of members elected from the legislature, and the governor would serve ex-officio. The sale of the land provided by the U.S. government for the support of agricultural colleges would nearly double the value of the university's assets.
Perhaps it is fitting that the man responsible for significantly augmenting the university's academic resources in 1836 with the purchase of 7,000 books for the library should preside over a change that would move the college into the modern era, with the establishment of the agricultural college and all that it signified. His long service to the university spanned most of UVM's formative years. In 1866, in poor health, he resigned as president and died in 1867 at the age of seventy.
Sources consulted in the preparation of this note and others in Record Group 2 include:
Daniels, Robert V. editor. The University of Vermont : The First Two Hundred Years Hanover, NH : University of Vermont : Distributed by University Press of New England, 1991.
Lindsay, Julian Ira. Tradition Looks Forward; the University of Vermont: a history, 1791-1904. Burlington [University of Vermont and State Agricultural College] 1954.
Marshall, Jeffrey. Universitas Viridis Montis, 1791-1991: An Exhibition of documents and artifacts telling the story of the University of Vermont. Burlington, Vt.: University of Vermont, 1991.
Smallwood, Frank. The University of Vermont Presidents: Two Centuries of Leadership. Burlington, Vt.: University of Vermont, 1997.
0.834 Linear feet
Language of Materials
Torrey was appointed professor of Greek and Latin at UVM in 1827. In 1842, after the death of James Marsh, he became professor of moral philosophy. He served as President of the University from 1862-1866. The records document a number of historically important developments at the university, including the effort to raise funds in support of it. The correspondence files contain letters over the duration of Torrey's long association with the university as faculty and then president. Much of this collection is not related to Torrey's tenure at the University of Vermont as professor and president, but to his personal life.
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- Guide to the Office of the President (Joseph Torrey) Records
- Finding aid prepared by Sylvia Bugbee
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Part of the University of Vermont Archives Repository
Silver Special Collections Library
48 University Place, Room B201
Burlington Vermont 05405 U.S.A. US