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Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.). Treasurer



Both Northwestern University's Evanston Campus and the city of Evanston originated with the purchase of 379 acres from John H. Foster by the University's Trustees in 1853. Over the next twelve years the University opened its doors, the village of Evanston was platted, recorded and incorporated, and the University acquired additional real estate holdings. The Trustees purchased the Billings, Robinson, and Snyder farms and were made a gift of lands owned by Orrington Lunt. These holdings made Northwestern the largest land owner in and around Evanston.

The early Trustees, most notably Dr. John Evans, foresaw the growth of the area around the new university and urged that, although Northwestern needed the funds from real estate sales, there should be a portion of the holdings reserved from sale as a long term investment. These lands were to be leased to provide income while the property appreciated and the University's assets grew. This policy was followed well into the twentieth century.

Oversight and manipulation of the University's real estate holdings rested with a number of Trustee committees and University officers. The individuals most involved in Northwestern's real estate transactions were the Financial Agents. Agents were essentially paid fund raisers and income producers who were either elected from the Trustee's ranks or appointed. During Northwestern's early history a number of men were designated Agents, including Trustee Samuel Jewett and Professor Henry Noyes. The two most active agents were Philo Judson and Thomas Hoag. Judson was a Trustee and in 1859 was named Secretary of the Board of Trustees. Between 1852 and 1859 Judson raised money through the sale of scholarships and the management of the University's real estate. For these services he was paid $1000 per year, a sum later raised to $1500.

After Judson's resignation as Agent the duties of Agent were shared by committees of the Board, appointed Agents, and the Secretary of the Board. In 1867 the Treasurer of the Board of Trustees, Thomas Hoag, assumed the additional title of Financial Agent and powers approximating those of Judson in the earlier period. He managed the real estate holdings but no longer raised funds in other manners. He was recompensed on a commission basis for both sales and leases made. This arrangement continued until 1892 when Hoag resigned his agency.

The University's Agent was empowered to make leases for those properties reserved from sale on terms he deemed reasonable, within guidelines established by the Board of Trustees. Guidelines included minimum return rates on a parcels valuation and lease terms. His role was to make the most favorable leases possible. The Agent, upon making a lease, submitted it to the Board of Trustees which had the final approval on all real estate transactions. It is apparent that the early history of Northwestern University and the city of Evanston are inextricably linked through a series of real estate transactions that shaped both the town and the institution.

Found in 9 Collections and/or Records:

Fraternity and Sorority Accounts Ledger

Identifier: 7/1/11
Abstract This series consists of one volume of financial accounts of twelve fraternities and sixteen sororities at Northwestern University, for the period 1912 to 1938. Fraternities and sororities, while sanctioned by the University, are none the less autonomous fiscal units. The University donated the land for chapter houses and subsidized construction, but the individual chapters and their national affiliations were financially responsible for the houses. In addition, the University maintained...
Dates: 1912-1938

Northwestern University Loan Accounts with the Board of Education of the Methodist Episcopal Church

Identifier: 7/1/6
Abstract This series consists of six volumes of student loan disbursement and repayment records spanning the period 1873 to 1933, and concentrating on the school years 1893-94 to 1921-22. All six volumes employ the same format. They are divided into three sections: an alphabetical index; an account of current loans; and a permanent record of student loan accounts. The index refers to the individual accounts in the permanent record section for that volume. The account of current loans contains entries...
Dates: 1873-1933

Rent Books and Ledgers, Vice President for Business and Finance

Identifier: 7/1/4

This series consists of the five Rent Books and one Rent Ledger that document Northwestern University's role as a major landlord in Evanston. The volumes cover the period from 1877 to 1915.

Dates: 1877-1915

Student Aid Ledgers

Identifier: 7/1/9
Abstract This series consists of seventeen volumes of student aid records for Northwestern University students, for the academic years 1933/34 to 1949/50. The information entered on each page is essentially the same for all volumes, although the arrangement of the volumes varies: the name of the aid source, the assigned university account number, name and school of each individual receiving aid from a particular source, the amount awarded or loaned for each term, and the total for the year. As...
Dates: 1933-1950

Sundry Accounts Receivable General Ledger

Identifier: 7/1/8
Abstract In order to centralize its bookkeeping functions, Northwestern University created accounts for a variety of non-official events and activities that took place on the University campus, as well as for all official University business. This series consists of one volume of accounts receivable for various non-official functions. The volume is arranged alphabetically by the name of the account and divided by alphabetical tabs. Accounts were held with individuals, including faculty, staff and...
Dates: 1935-1937

Treasurer's Day Books

Identifier: 7/1/7
Abstract This series includes two volumes used by Northwestern University's Treasurer to record day to day transactions under his aegis from 1854 to 1870. The bulk of the transactions, both receipts and payments, were for cash. The transactions are entered chronologically, with each days' entries balanced at the close of the day. The cash received was credited to the Treasurer's cash account in the Accounts Ledgers and vouchers were credited or debited from the appropriate account. Entries are in a...
Dates: 1854-1870

University Accounts Records

Identifier: 7/1/2
Abstract The volumes in this series provide a comprehensive record of the financial transactions of Northwestern University between 1853 and 1903, and useful information for the years 1903-1933. The information recorded in these volumes includes various expenditures for salaries, fuel, etc., and receipts for tuition, rents, investments, etc., in a double entry bookkeeping format. The volumes comprising this series are of two types. There are volumes of original entry and volumes of final entry. In...
Dates: 1853-1933

University Financial Reports

Identifier: 7/0/1

This collection is comprised of annual reports reviewing the financial conditions of Northwestern University during the preceding year. They were prepared for submission to the Board of Trustees by a succession of university officials known sequentially as the Treasurer, Treasurer and Business Manager, Comptroller, etc.

Dates: 1876-1977

University Real Estate Sales Records

Identifier: 7/1/3
Abstract This series consists of one volume in which University real estate sales information for forty one transactions, spanning the period November 22, 1886 to March 10, 1893, are recorded. Entries are chronological and include date of sale, buyer's name, sale price, terms of sale, date land was deeded to buyer, a legal description on the parcel, and remarks. The remarks cover payments made, notes on other University lands purchased by the same individual, and land traded as part of the sale. The...
Dates: 1886-1893

Additional filters:

Real property--Illinois--Evanston 2
College students--Conduct of life 1
College students--Scholarships, fellowships, etc. 1
Greek letter societies 1
Greek letter societies--Finance 1