Skip to main content

Maine State Seminary records

Identifier: CA02.82

Scope and Content Note

The Maine State Seminary Records includes handwritten materials relating to the founding of the Maine State Seminary, later called Bates College. The collection includes petitions signed by citizens of 14 towns requesting the State incorporate and endow the Maine State Seminary (Jan-Feb 1855); the 1856 bond giving title for the land where Bates College was built, signed by Ammi R. Nash and Alonzo Garcelon; bills and correspondence concerning the construction of Hathorn and Parker halls (1856-57); Maine State Seminary faculty meeting minutes (1857-1859); a grade book covering the period 1861-1863; a registry book containing lists of graduates and recipients of various honors and awards; and correspondence (1854-1856) of the building committee concerning the construction of Hathorn Hall, of which the first cornerstone was laid on June 26, 1856. Correspondents in the latter file include G.S.H. Bryant, William H. Littlefield, Francis Lyford, and William P. Frye.


  • 1854 - 1898


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

The collection is the physical property of Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library. Bates College holds literary rights only for material created by College personnel working on official behalf of the College, or for material which was given to the College with such rights specifically assigned. For all other material, literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. Researchers are responsible for obtaining permission from rights holders for publication or other purposes that exceed fair use.

Historical Note

In September 1854, the Parsonsfield Seminary, located in Parsonsfield, Maine, burned down. This school had been organized in 1832 and was affiliated with the Freewill Baptists. A number of men who would later be connected with Bates College were associated with Parsonsfield, including Hosea Quinby, John Fullonton, and Oren B. Cheney.

When Oren B. Cheney heard about the fire at Parsonsfield, he vowed to build another educational institution in Maine to replace Parsonsfield. By January 1855, petitions were being sent to the State of Maine urging the government "to incorporate a Literary Insitution under the name of 'The Maine State Seminary,' and suitably endow the same."

The Maine State Seminary, the institution that would become Bates College, was incoporated that same year, 1855. The Seminary welcomed its first class '84 men and 53 women' in September 1857. Although affiliated with the Freewill Baptists, the seminary was not limited to persons of any single religious denomination.

In 1864, the institution was re-incorporated as Bates College, and the Seminary became a department of the new College.


1.92 Linear Feet (2 manuscript boxes, 1 volume)

Language of Materials



The Maine State Seminary records include correspondence, items relating to the construction of the Seminary (later, Bates College), and several ledgers. Most of the records cover the period prior to the renaming of the Seminary as Bates College, in 1863. This collection, when studied in conjunction with the records and items in the Related Materials section of the finding aid, serve to give a good, general picture of the activities of the College in its earliest decades.

Organization and Arrangement

The records are arranged into two series, then alphabetically by folder title. The series are: I. Catalogs; II. Administrative records.


Guide to the Maine State Seminary records, 1854-1898
Edited Full Draft
Pat Webber
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Edition statement

Repository Details

Part of the Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library Repository

70 Campus Avenue
Lewiston Maine 04240 United States of America