Colonial colleges

The Colonial Colleges are nine institutions of higher education chartered in the American Colonies before the United States of America became a sovereign nation after the American Revolution.[1] These nine have long been considered together, notably in the survey of their origins in the 1907 The Cambridge History of English and American Literature.[2] Seven of the nine colonial colleges are part of the Ivy League athletic conference: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Penn, Columbia, Brown, and Dartmouth. (The eighth member of the Ivy League, Cornell University, was founded in 1865.)

The two colonial colleges not in the Ivy League are now both public universitiesThe College of William & Mary and Rutgers University, the state university of New Jersey. William & Mary was a private institution from 1693 until just after the American Civil War, when it received some support from the state. It became public in 1906. Rutgers became the State University of New Jersey after World War II.

The Ten Colonial Colleges

Seven of the ten colonial colleges began their histories as institutions of higher learning de novo (i.e., with no predecessor parent organization). Dartmouth College began operating in 1768 as the collegiate department of Moor's Charity School, a secondary school started in 1754 by Dartmouth founder Eleazar Wheelock. Dartmouth considers its founding date to be 1769, when it was granted a collegiate charter. The University of Pennsylvania began operating in 1751 as a secondary school, the Academy of Philadelphia, and added an institution of higher education in 1755 with the granting of a charter to the College of Philadelphia. The University of Henrico was dissolved by King James in 1624, seizing its assets.

Institution (present name, where different) Colony Founded Chartered First instruction (degrees) Primary religious influence Ivy League
Henricus Colledge
(University of Henrico) Defunct 1624
Colony of Virginia 1618 1618 Puritan-Anglican No
New College[nb 1]
(Harvard University)
Massachusetts Bay Colony 1636 1650 1642 (1642) Puritan (Congregational) Yes
The College of William & Mary Colony and Dominion of Virginia 1693[nb 2] 1693 Church of England[nb 3] No
Collegiate School
(Yale University)
Connecticut Colony 1701 1701 Puritan (Congregational) Yes
College of New Jersey
(Princeton University)
Province of New Jersey 1746 1746 1747 (1748) Presbyterian but officially nonsectarian Yes
College of Philadelphia
(University of Pennsylvania)
Province of Pennsylvania 1740[nb 4] 1755 1755 (1757) Church of England but officially nonsectarian[9][nb 5] Yes
King's College
(Columbia University in the City of New York)
Province of New York 1754 1754 Church of England with a policy of commitment to "religious liberty."[14] Yes
Rhode Island College[15] (chartered as the College or University in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, in New England, in America[16])
(Brown University)
Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations 1764 1764 Baptist (no religious requirement for admissions)[nb 6] Yes
Queen's College
(Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey)
Province of New Jersey 1766 1766 1771 (1774) Dutch Reformed No
Dartmouth College Province of New Hampshire 1769 1769 1768 (1771)[nb 7] Puritan (Congregational) Yes

Other colonial-era foundations

Several other colleges and universities can be traced to colonial-era "academies" or "schools," but are not considered Colonial Colleges because they were not formally chartered as colleges with degree-granting powers until after the formation of the United States of America in 1776. Listed below are the founding dates of the schools which served as predecessor entities and the years in which they were chartered to operate an institution of higher learning as well.

Institution (present name, where different) Colony/State Founded Chartered Religious Influence
King William's School, Annapolis
(St. John's College)
Province of Maryland 1696 1784 Non-sectarian
Kent County Free School
(Washington College)
Province of Maryland 1723 1782 Non-sectarian
Bethlehem Female Seminary
(Moravian College)
Province of Pennsylvania 1742 1863 Moravian Church
Free School
(University of Delaware)
Delaware Colony 1743 1833 Non-sectarian
Augusta Academy
(Washington and Lee University)
Colony and Dominion of Virginia 1749 1782 Presbyterian
College of Charleston Province of South Carolina 1770 1785 Church of England
Pittsburgh Academy
(University of Pittsburgh)
Province/Commonwealth of Pennsylvania[nb 8] 1770?[18] 1787 Non-sectarian
Little Girls' School
(Salem College)
Province of North Carolina 1772 1866 Moravian Church
Dickinson College Province of Pennsylvania 1773 1783 Presbyterian
Hampden–Sydney College Colony and Dominion of Virginia 1775 1783 Presbyterian

See also



Template:Lists of European universities and colleges by era

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