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Hinman, Clark T. (Clark Titus), 1819-1854



Clark Titus Hinman, the first president of Northwestern University, was born August 3, 1819. He was a Methodist clergyman who received his denomination's license to preach at age 19. After graduation from Wesleyan University, Hinman served for seven years on the faculty—two of those as principal—of Newbury (Vermont) Seminary (1839-1846). In 1846 he became principal of the Wesleyan Seminary of Albion, Michigan. Wesleyan later became Albion College and Hinman is considered the first president of that school.

As a representative of the Michigan Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Hinman accepted an appointment as a ministerial member of Northwestern's Board of Trustees in 1851. His energy, piety and remarkable public speaking abilities made Hinman the unanimous choice of his fellow trustees to assume responsibilities as Northwestern's first president in 1853.

Hinman's primary goals as president were to raise an endowment for the University and to make Northwestern the central Methodist-affiliated institution of the region. Hinman journeyed frequently across northern Illinois and the wider Midwest, then known as the Northwest, in pursuit of his goals. He spoke on behalf of the University to gatherings of Methodist clergy and was responsible for the sale of many perpetual scholarships, an early vehicle for fundraising. Although Hinman kept a home in Chicago, Northwestern's founder John Evans credited him as instrumental in the selection of Evanston for the University's location.

On October 24th 1854, a year before Northwestern actually opened, Hinman took ill and died while traveling to meet his family in New York. He left behind a wife, Martha A. Morse Hinman, and three young children. Hinman is memorialized through Northwestern's Hinman House residence and Evanston's Hinman Avenue. The former Hinman Literary Society, the University's first student organization, took its name in honor of President Hinman.

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

Clark Titus Hinman (1819-1854) Papers

Identifier: 3/1

Methodist minister Clark Titus Hinman was elected the first President of Northwestern University in 1853, but died before the University opened in 1855. This artificial collection consists of biographical material and correspondence postdating his life; there is also one original sermon.

Dates: 1846-1976

Hinman Literary Society (1857-1915) Minute Books and Librarian's Record

Identifier: 31/6/8

Founded in 1855, Hinman Society was the first literary society at Northwestern University. These records consist of 2 volumes of minutes and 1 volume documenting the Society's library.

Dates: 1857-1882

Additional filters:

Evanston (Ill.) 1
Literature--Societies, etc. 1
Methodist Church--Clergy 1