Edward H. Magill Papers
Scope and Contents
Organized into nine series:
- Genealogical materials
- Swarthmore College papers
- Reference material
- Post Office records
- Published articles and speeches
- Writings and speeches
- Lecture notes
- Financial papers
Limitations on Accessing the Collection
Copyright and Rights Information
Biographical / Historical
Magill was regarded as being academically well prepared to assume the presidency of the College. However, his appointment had much to do with the fact that he also believed in strict discipline and the principles of a guarded education. The first president, Edward Parrish, resigned in February 1871, largely in disagreement with the Board of Managers over the primary mission of the College. Magill was named President of the College, but the Board of Managers assumed the majority of the executive powers. Magill favored electives and wanted to make Swarthmore more than a sectarian college, but rather than confront the Board, he implemented his 100 Rules, strict rules of social conduct, as a means to answer the Board's concerns.
While the College's social rules were strict during Magill's term of office, Swarthmore also made significant academic progress. Swarthmore's first class graduated in 1873, consisting of five women and one man; by 1881 students began publishing the school newspaper, The Phoenix. In 1881, a fire swept through Parrish Hall, the College building, gutting the interior. Plans for rebuilding began as quickly as two weeks later. Classes were held in temporary facilities in nearby Media until Parrish reopened in 1882. The library increased its volumes, and a science and engineering building, meeting house, and the observatory were added to the campus. As part of his job description, Magill also served as postmaster of the Swarthmore Post Office.
Though the College began predominantly as a preparatory school, Magill worked hard to change that. By 1890 the College was twice as large as the preparatory department, and two years later the latter was abolished completely. Near the end of his tenure as president, the majority of Magill's rules were liberalized to attract more students. By the time he retired as president in 1889, Swarthmore was fully established as a college, and its reputation was growing. Magill retired from the presidency in 1889, but continued to teach French at the College until 1900. Edward H. Magill married a second time in 1902, to Sarah E. Gardner, and he died December 10, 1907.
17 Linear Feet (34 boxes)
- 1 photograph dated April 2, 1883 of Schofield School was removed to PA 100/S3/S3. Pictured in the photo are the students lined up in front of the old (1870) and next to the new (built 1882) schoolhouses in Aiken, South Carolina.
- 1 photograph of Sarah Warner Magill. Placed in the General Photo. file- Portraits, Magill.
- 1 folder labeled Correspondence 1891 containing letters addressed to President Magill's successors, Appleton and DeGarmo; moved to the papers of those two presidents, series D03 and D04.
- 1 folder labeled Correspondence 1892 concerning potential college students; removed to the DeGarmo series D04.
- 1 folder labeled Correspondence 1912-1913; removed to the Joseph Swain series D06.
- Finding Aid for Edward H. Magill Papers, 1867-1907
- Finding Aid Prepared by FHL staff
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
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