In 1833 the Georgia Methodist Conference first contemplated the establishment of a church-sponsored manual
labor school, where students would combine farm work with a college preparatory curriculum. In doing so, they planted the
seed that became Emory College and then Emory University.
the Georgia Conference Manual Labor School opened west of Covington, in Newton County, with physician and minister Alexander
Means as superintendent. During the first year of operation the school's debts mounted and subscriptions dwindled, but despite
these problems, the Board of Trustees, at the urging of Ignatius Few, asked the Conference to expand the school into a college.
The organization of Emory College began. At its first meeting the Board of Trustees accepted land belonging
to the Manual Labor School on which to situate the "contemplated college" and the proposed new town they would
The first literary society, Phi Gamma (for which Phi Gamma Hall was named), may have been founded even before
classes began in September. It was certainly founded by 1839, when a rival organization, the Few Society, originated.
Ignatius Alphonso Few, a Princeton-educated lawyer, a planter, and a skeptic-turned-Methodist, was elected
the first president of Emory College.
The first faculty members appointed by the trustees were: Alexander Means, George W. Lane, Archelaus Mitchell,
and George H. Round, all of whom were Methodist preachers.
one of the bitter disputes between North and South that eventually erupted into civil war, the General Conference of the
Methodist Episcopal Church focused on Bishop James O. Andrew, president of Emory's Board of Trustees and a resident of Oxford,
who had inherited two slaves and could not free them under Georgia law. After delegates voted to suspend Andrew, the church
split along sectional lines and Oxford became the intellectual center of Methodism in the Southeast.
Work began at Oxford on a much-needed main building, which would provide space for a library, science demonstrations,
classes, and an auditorium.
James R. Thomas, a graduate of Randolph-Macon College, a former president of Collinsworth Institute in Georgia,
and a former professor at Wesleyan Female College, became the fifth president of Emory College.
Thomas banned fraternities at Emory because rivalries between them had reached, he said, "a pitch of bloody desperation" and
late-night meetings had encouraged students to engage in "vicious revel."
Emory reopened in January with twenty students and three professors, one of whom was President Thomas. Passage
of Georgia's bill to finance the education of indigent and maimed soldiers brought many veterans to the campus as students
during the following year.
response to the need for "practical" education, Emory added to its standard four-year curriculum emphasizing the classics a three-year program that did not require Greek or Latin.
Luther M. Smith, an Emory College-educated lawyer and professor of Greek, became the sixth president of Emory
Sunrise prayers, previously mandatory for students, were discontinued.
L. Smith, an Emory-educated teacher of languages, a former president of Wesleyan College, a former member of the Georgia
legislature, and a Methodist minister, became the seventh president of Emory College.
The main building at Oxford, virtually destroyed during the war, was condemned, and Bishop
George F. Pierce,
who had been president of Emory College when the structure was erected, launched a major drive to raise funds for new buildings.
The master of arts degree became an earned degree requiring a thesis. Until this time, it was "conferred
on every Bachelor of Arts of three years standing or more who [had] been engaged since his graduation in some literary occupation
and [had] attained a good moral character."
Under President Haygood's direction, Emory College began to offer many technical and professional subjects
in addition to courses required for degrees. The classes were designed to produce citizens who would be skilled workers as
well as educated men.
At the College's first intercollegiate debate of record, Emory students and students from Mercer University
in Macon argued the question of women's suffrage. Emory students presented the affirmative position and lost.
Isaac Stiles Hopkins, a graduate of Emory, a Georgia Medical College-educated physician, and a Methodist
minister, became the ninth president of Emory College.
At a meeting of the Georgia Methodist Conference, a preacher known as "Uncle" Allen Turner declared that Georgia
Methodists should have their own college instead of supporting Randolph-Macon in Virginia.
On December 18, the General Assembly of Georgia chartered the Georgia Methodists Conference Manual Labor School.
10, the Georgia General Assembly granted the Georgia Methodist Conference, represented by Ignatius
Few, a charter to establish
a college to be named for John Emory, a popular bishop who had presided at the 1834 conference but had been killed in 1835
in a carriage accident.
Emory College classes began on September 17 for fifteen students.
Augustus Baldwin Longstreet, a Yale-educated lawyer, a planter, an editor, a judge, and the author of Georgia
Scenes, became the second president of Emory College.
In July the Emory College Board of Trustees took over all the assets and liabilities of the financially
shaky Manual Labor School.
became the home of a "Temple" of the Mystic Seven, reputedly the first chapter of a national fraternity to be established
in the South.
Emory College's first graduates -- Henry Bass, Adam C. Potter, and Armistead R. Holcombe -- received their diplomas.
L.Q.C. Lamar graduated from Emory College. He later served in the U.S. House of Representatives, as a U.S. senator, as
Secretary of the Interior, and as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Joseph S. Key graduated. Thirty-eight years later he would become the first Emory alumnus to serve as a bishop of the
Emory students debated the question "Should Georgia secede from the Union?" By a vote of members of the literary
societies, the negative won.
Alexander Means, a largely self-educated physician and chemist and a Methodist minister, became the fourth president of
The Atlanta Medical College was founded, becoming the first of several forerunners of Emory University's School of Medicine.
All Emory College dormitories, branded "facilities for mischief," were closed.
a delegate to the January convention that passed Georgia's act of secession, first spoke in favor of delaying the act, but
later voted for the Secession Ordinance in its final version.
In late April a Confederate flag was raised at Emory College, and volunteers for the Confederate Army were recruited.
In November Emory College closed its doors until, the trustees wrote, peace should "take the place of the present
public agitation." During the war the unused college buildings would first be commandeered as a Confederate hospital
and then occupied by Northern troops. Three Emory graduates would attain the rank of brigadier general: Edward L. Thomas,
James P. Simms, and Reuben W. Carswell. Thirty-five Emory men would lose their lives in the service of the Confederate Army.
The Board of Trustees lifted the ban on fraternities imposed twelve years earlier and gave official sanction to chapters
of Chi Phi and Kappa Alpha.
While Emory College was still struggling to overcome the financial devastation of the war, a nationwide economic panic
resulted in a drop in enrollment and a corresponding drop in school income.
Greene Haygood, an Emory-educated Methodist minister and a former editor of the Sunday School publications of the Methodist
Episcopal Church, South, became the eighth president of Emory College.
The Emory Mirror, the first major student publication for which copies of successive issues are extant,
was initially produced. In 1886 The Mirror and a shorter-lived rival called The Georgia College Journal merged
to form a new paper called The Emory Phoenix.
Haygood preached a Thanksgiving Day sermon entitled "The New South," in which he urged Southerners to put provincialism
and illiteracy behind them and to cultivate the growth of industry. The printed sermon later fell into the hands of George
I. Seney, a New York banker and Methodist layman, who responded by giving $130,000 to Emory College. Part of the money was
used to finance the construction of Seney Hall.