Crawford County, Pennsylvania

History & Biography

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the sum of $2,000 was granted by the State, which was subsequently increased to $7,000.  

    The very valuable library which the institution possesses was obtained mainly by the untiring zeal of Mr. Alden, who performed one or more tours through the Eastern States to solicit aid from learned and benevolent individuals for his infant seminary.  The most liberal contributor was the Rev. Dr. Bentley, a Unitarian clergyman, of Salem, Mass., who had spent his life in amassing one of the rarest collections of theological works in the country.  Harvard University had set her eyes upon this collection, and having bestowed a preliminary plum, in the shape of an LL. D. Diploma, patiently awaited the Doctor’s demise.  She occupied, however, the situation of Esau before Isaac, for Mr. Alden had previously “prepared the savory dish, and received the boon.” The portrait of Dr. Bentley still adorns the walls of the Hall of Allegheny Literary Society.  The valuable private libraries of Hon. Judge Winthrop and Isaiah Thomas, Esq., also both of Massachusetts, were added soon after to the College Library through the influence of Mr. Alden, the former being valued at the time at $6,500.  But notwithstanding these and other liberal endowments, the College, which commenced its existence as a Presbyterian institution, languished.  

    Its more successful rivals for Presbyterian support at Carlisle, Canonsburg and Washington, drew so largely upon the patronage which that denomination at that early day was able to bestow, that President Alden was obliged to abandon the work upon which his heart had been so largely set, and which, up to 1833, had been carried forward almost solely through his indomitable energy and perseverance.  In 1829 an attempt was made to institute a military school at the College, but it proved unsuccessful.  In 1833 the College was transferred to the care and patronage of the Erie and Pittsburgh Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and has since been in an exceedingly flourishing condition.  

    In 1851, the large three-story brick edifice east of the main building and beyond the ravine, containing the chapel, library, laboratory, &c., was

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