Academy History in Albany

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Topic: Founding of Albany Academy

On Sunday, April 18, 2021, 07:41 PM (MT)
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© John McClintock, Albany, NY, 2018
Header December 17, 1797   Albany    NY   United States
Tags SCI #school #Albany Academy
Event Birth of Joseph Henry. Henry believed his date of birth was in 1799, but the baptismal record at First Presbyterian Church (entered Jan. 21, 1798) specifies this date.
Header January 18, 1813   Albany    NY   United States
Tags EDU #city #school #Albany Academy
Event Notice was given that the corporation having made a large appropriation for the establishment of a city academy, a meeting of the citizens to confer upon the important subject was requested to be held at the Capitol on the 28th inst.

At that meeting, Archibald McIntyre was appointed chairman, and a committee of fourteen chosen to devise a plan for the future institution. [vM]
Header January 18, 1813   Albany    NY   United States
Tags EDU #school #Albany Academy
Event The Common Council resolved "that a general meeting of the citizens be called at the Capitol. . .to consult on the expediency and necessity of instituting an academy in this city." The meeting of citizens returned a resolution "that a committee of fourteen persons be appointed to devise an eligible plan, to carry into effect the object of the Common Council." Through the leadership of Mayor Philip Schuyler Van Rensselaer, brother of the Patroon, officials moved quickly. The city resolved to sell an old jail and make the proceeds available "for the establishment of a City academy."
Header January 25, 1813   Albany    NY   United States
Tags EDU #city #school #Albany Academy
Event Citizens met in the [Old] Capitol in response to the call by the Common Council and proposed the writing of a plan for an academy. Archibald McIntyre presided. A committee was appointed. Their names are lost.
Header January 28, 1813   Albany    NY   United States
Tags EDU #city #school #Albany Academy
Event The committee appointed by the citizen meeting on instituting an academy in Albany reported that the Common Council should appoint a board of trustees.
Header February 1, 1813   Albany    NY   United States
Tags EDU #city #school #Albany Academy #Regents
Event Common Council applied to the Board of Regents for a charter of a city academy, "stating that they had contributed in land and money equal to thirty thousand dollars, for the use and benefit of an Academy, to be erected in the City of Albany, . . . that the said Academy might be incorporated and become subject to the visitation of [the Regents], and that Stephen Van Rensselaer, John Lansing, Junior, Archibald McIntyre, Smith Thompson, Abraham Van Vechten, John V. Henry, Henry Walton, William Neill, John M. Bradford, John McDonald, Timothy Clowes, John McJimpsey, Frederick G. Mayer, Samuel Merwin and the Mayor and Recorder of the said City, ex-officio, might be trustees of the said Academy by the name of 'The Trustees of the Albany Academy'"
Header March 4, 1813   Albany    NY   United States
Tags EDU #school #Albany Academy #Regents
Event University of the State of New York Board of Regents replied to the Common Council of the City of Albany granting a charter of incorporation to Trustees of the Albany Academy, naming its board of trustees, as presented in the Council's petition. The mayor and the recorder of the City of Albany were to be trustees ex officio:

"Now KNOW YE, That. we, the said Regents, having enquired into the allegations contained in the instrument aforesaid, and found the same to be true, and conceiving the said Academy calculated for the promotion of literature DO by these PRESENTS, pursuant to the statute in such case made and provided, signify our approbation to the incorporation of the said Stephen Van Rensselaer, John Lansing, Junior, Archibald McIntyre, Smith Thompson, Abraham Van Vechten, John V. Henry, Henry Walton, William Neill, John M. Bradford, John McDonald, Timothy Clowes, John McJimpsey, Frederick G. Mayer, Samuel Merwin, and the Mayor and Recorder of the said city, ex-officio, by the name of the 'Trustees of the Albany Academy,' being the name mentioned in and by the said request in writing; ON CONDITION that a part of the principal or estate before mentioned, sufficient to produce one hundred dollars annual income at least, shall be set apart, and shall not. be diminished or otherwise appropriated, and that the said income thereof be applied solely to the maintenance or salary of the Professors or Tutors of said Academy.

In testimony whereof we have caused our common seal to be hereunto affixed the fourth day of March in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirteen.


Francis Bloodgood,
Header March 23, 1813   Albany    NY   United States
Tags EDU #school #Albany Academy
Event The first meeting of the Board of Trustees of Albany Academy under the charter. Three trustees resigned, Chancellor Lansing, Judge Thompson, and Abraham Van Vechten. Among their reasons was the regulation that no Regent could serve as a school trustee. Theodore Sedgwick, Harmanus Bleecker and John Duer replaced them.
Header February 6, 1815   Albany    NY   United States
Tags EDU #city #school #Albany Academy
Event The Common Council appropriated $25,000 for a building for Albany Academy. Later, this amount was amended to add whatever funds that might be necessary. The total turned out to be $90,000. The Academy 50th Anniversary book waxed eloquent over the meaning of these civic acts:

"It was a. noble and munificent gift, honorable to those who made it, and it. may well he doubted, whether one wiser, or more lasting in its benefits, was ever made by the city. Within its walls, during eight and forty years, five thousand of the youth of our city have received those lessons which were to fit them for the duties of life. No one can estimate the insensible, and withal potent influence upon the minds of all those youths, of its beautiful exterior--of its large and lofty schoolrooms--of its stately chapel--of its ample halls, filled with well arranged libraries and scientific collections. Time has not rendered it in any degree unfitted for its purposes, nor unworthy of its position among the public buildings of the city."
Header February 28, 1815   Albany    NY   United States
Tags EDU #city #school #Albany Academy
Event The Common Council "Resolved, That Messrs. Van Rensselaer, Brinkerhoff, Humphrey and Brown, be a Committee to confer with a Committee of the Trustees of the Albany Academy on the subject of a suitable plan or plans for an Academy [building] in this City; and that the said Committee report such plan or plans together with estimates of the expense thereof to this Board, as soon as the same may be practicable."
Header March 13, 1815   Albany    NY   United States
Tags EDU #city #school #Albany Academy
Event The Common Council of the City of Albany "Resolved, That the Academy be built of brick with a front ornamented by freestone." And, "Resolved, That his Honor, the Mayor, Messrs. Brinkerhoff, Humphrey and Stewart, be a Committee to engage the necessary workmen and materials, and to proceed to build and finish the said Academy." Later, freestone was applied to the entire edifice.
Header July 29, 1815   Albany    NY   United States
Tags EDU #city #school #Albany Academy
Event Mayor Philip Schuyler Van Rensselaer laid the cornerstone of the building to house the city's academy. As counterpoint to the newspaper article printed in June, 1815, the 75th Anniversary book offers its judgment on the role of the Dutch in establishing the school on such a magnificent scale:

"No doubt a plainer building would have answered the purpose; but the majority of the Common Council of that day were Dutchmen, and to them the cause of education went hand in hand with the cause of religion - both were equally dear - the schoolmaster and the minister were among the first settlers in a new colony; and with such inborn and lofty thoughts of the value of a high academical education, it is not surprising that they erected a building in conformity to their ideas of the great and lasting work that was to be done therein."
Header September 11, 1815   Albany    NY   United States
Tags EDU #school #Albany Academy #Union College
Event Professors Dr. Benjamin Allen and Dr. Joseph Shaw, with trustees Dr. William Neill, Dr. T. Romeyn Beck and Mr. Theodore Sedgwick, formally opened the Albany Academy in a building rented from Kiliaen K. Van Rensselaer on the southeast corner of State and Lodge streets. The scene is described in the Seventy-Fifth Anniversary book:

"The committee sat around a desk in a back room of the building, fronting on Lodge street; the boys were brought in by their parents; names, ages and proposed studies were registered; and then, seated on the benches which had been placed around the room, they listened to a few remarks from the Principal, Dr. Allen; and the first day of school at the Albany Academy was over."

Principal Benjamin Allen, LL.D., taught mathematics and natural philosophy. Allen, then of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and previously a professor at Union college, had the handsome salary of $2,500 and a dwelling, in addition. "He was a man of commanding presence, of dignified manners, and had a high reputation for literary and scientific attainments."

Rev. Joseph Shaw, LL.D. was the classical master, a post he held until his death in 1824. His salary was $2,000. His successor was the prolific writer of grammars and texts, Rev. Peter Bullions, D.D., who served until 1848. These two men built a classical studies department equal to or surpassing that of most colleges of the day. When Beck succeeded Allen as principal in 1817, he and Joseph Henry and Dr. Philip Ten Eyck did the same for the department of mathematics and natural philosophy. A third faculty member, a tutor for English studies, was appointed at a salary of $1,000. This was Moses Chapin, later Judge Chapin of Canandaigua. See the 75th Anniversary book for comments on Beck, Bullions, and Ten Eyck (pages 18-20).

The school opened with eighty students, Enrollment rose to 90, of whom 68 were in the classical department and 22 in the English department. Tuition started at $8.00 per quarter. At the end of the first year, it was raised to $12.50 for the classical department and $10 for the English. This was ten to twenty times the cost of attending the Lancaster School.
Header August 14, 1817   Albany    NY   United States
Tags EDU #school #Albany Academy
Event Dr. T. Romeyn Beck was appointed principal of the Albany Academy, and professor of mathematics. [vM]

Items ending with "vM" are taken verbatim from Munsell's "Notes from Newspapers"
Items ending with "vM EDB" are taken verbatim from Munsell's "Every Day Book"
If Munsell used variants for the same word, one is chosen to simplify searches
Untagged items are copyright, John McClintock, Albany, NY.

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