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Washington College Presidents' papers, early Presidents' papers

 Record Group
Identifier: WAC-003-001

Scope and Contents Note

This collection contains the papers of the early Presidents of Washington College. Beginning with Washington College’s first President William Smith through it’s fourteenth Dr. Charles W. Reid. Francis Waters served two times as President making him the fifth and nineth President. Due to the fires of 1827 and 1916 many of the early records were lost including the identity of the Presidents from 1805-1813. These papers consist of original materials, research from primary and secondary sources, facsimile copies, and published materials.

This Record Group is divided into thirteen groups: Group 1: William Smith papers; Group 2: Colin Ferguson papers; Group 3: Hugh McGuire papers; Group 4: Joab Goldsmith Cooper papers; Group 5: Gerard E. Stack papers; Group 6: Francis Waters papers; Group 7: Timothy Clowes papers; Group 8: Peter Clark papers; Group 9: Richard W. Ringgold papers; Group 10: Andrew J. Sutton papers; Group 11: Robert C. Berkeley papers; Group 12: Thomas N. Williams papers; Group 13: Charles W. Reid papers.


  • 1752-1997

Access restrictions

Collection in open for research.

Publication rights

Copyright has been assigned to Washington College. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Archives and Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Washington College as the owner of the physical items and as the owner of copyright in items created by the donor. Although copyright was transferred by the donor, copyright in some items in the collection may still be held by their respective creator(s). For further information contact the Archives and Special Collections.

Organizational History Note

Washington College was chartered in 1782. The school began as an academy for boys called the Kent County Free School, which was established by an act of the Maryland Assembly in 1723. It is the first college founded in the newly formed United States, the first college in Maryland, and the country’s tenth oldest institution of higher learning. General George Washington lent us his name and donated fifty guineas to our founding and served on the Board of Visitors & Governors. Unfortunately, the campus suffered two fires. The first was in 1827 and consumed most records of the college were destroyed. A second fire occurred in 1916 in William Smith Hall, which was only 9 years old at the time of destruction. The building housed everything central to running the campus and sadly the fire destroyed biology, chemistry and laboratory equipment, display cabinets, over 500 books in the bookstore, 125 hymnals, filing cabinets, framed pictures and 3,500 volumes in the library. Due to the fires, most materials in the archives date from the 1916 period and beyond. Today the Mission of the College is to cultivate responsible citizen-leaders through purposeful choices and enable a healthy and regenerative global community.


3.5 Cubic Feet (7 boxes)

Language of Materials


Physical and Technical Access Restrictions


Finding Aid to the Washington College President's Papers, Early Presidents' Papers
L. Sheldon
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Washington College Archives & Special Collections Repository

300 Washington Avenue
Chestertown MD 21620