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Fowler, Charles Henry, 1837-1908



  • Existence: 1837 - 1908


Charles H. Fowler was born in Canada in 1837, but his family moved to Illinois just four years later. He studied at the Rock River Seminary and then the Genesee Wesleyan Seminary, which is now Syracuse University. He continued his religious studies at Evanston’s Garrett Biblical Institute. During his time at Garrett, he helped rescue passengers from the shipwrecked steamer Lady Elgin (1860).

He married Myra Amanda Hitchock in 1868. In 1872 he accepted an offer to be president of Northwestern, just 11 years after declining the institution’s original offer to him. Fowler had no background in educational administration when he took the job, but he still left his mark on the university.

Like his predecessor Erastus Haven, giving women the education they deserve was an outspoken top priority of Fowler’s. He established the Woman’s College of Evanston (formerly the Evanston College for Ladies) and appointed Frances Willard the first Dean of Women.

Fowler also founded the short-lived College of Technology at Northwestern in 1875. Although it only lasted until 1877 due to funding and staffing issues, it is notable as the precursor to the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, established in 1908. Fowler left Northwestern in 1876 to become editor of New York City’s The Christian Advocate. He died in New York in March of 1908.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Charles H. Fowler (1837-1908) Papers

Identifier: 3/6

Papers of Charles Henry Fowler, president of Northwestern University (1872-1876)

Dates: 1872 - 2009