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Edward Dwight Eaton papers

Identifier: MC 002

Scope and Contents

This collection is organized into two series.

Series 1. Correspondence - Personal and college-related correspondence. One particularly rich set of letters were written between James Demarest Eaton to his younger brother "Eddie" Edward Eaton. James was a graduate of the Beloit College class of 1869, and Edward was a Beloit College graduate of 1872, and later Beloit College President.

The letters span James Eaton's first months and years at Beloit College (1860s), and describe his classes, his activities, and his friends. They also include news and gossip about family and friends from their hometown of Lancaster, WI.

Series 2. Subject Files - Includes biographical materials, inauguration documents, a few news clippings, some of his and his family's writings, and his Alumni Office file.


  • Other: Date Not Yet Determined

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research; however, certain materials are fragile and require Archives staff for handling, or use may be restricted altogether.

Biographical / Historical

Excerpted from "Seven Presidents of Beloit College" by Dr. Robert Irrmann:

President Chapin's choice as his successor, unanimously agreed to both by Trustees and Faculty, was Edward Dwight Eaton, Beloit '72. Eaton had taken his theological degree at Yale in 1875, and then spent the following year in study at Leipzig and Heidelberg. In 1886 he was Pastor of the First Congregational Church in Oak Park, Illinois, and the youngest member of the College's Board of Trustees.

At his election, the College was in serious financial difficulties, faced with growing competition from both public and private universities, and forced to assess its role in higher education. The era of foundation building was ending; could a small religious college survive for effective participation in American education? Edward Dwight Eaton gave a possible response to that question. Establishing warm and cooperative rapport with both his Trustees and Faculty, he "remade" the College along more modern lines. Life membership on the Board was terminated, the Board was enlarged, and Eaton brought men of substance and vision to its service. The rigidity of the old curriculum was loosened, new departments instituted, and a younger faculty brought to reinforce the remainder of the Old Guard. And it was in Eaton's administration that the campus grew in size and buildings: Pearsons Hall of Science, The Chapel, Emerson Hall, the old Library, and the first Chapin Hall.

A man of international reputation in church and missionary circles, President Eaton brought world attention to the College, through his own work and through the work of Beloiters in both Near and Far East. A musician of sensitive nature, President Eaton embellished the Sunday Vesper Service that older alumni hold in reverent memory. From 1886 to 1905, and again from 1907 to 1917, Edward Dwight Eaton led Beloit College always to a larger role in liberal education.


3 Linear Feet (5 boxes, loose volumes)

Language of Materials



Edward Dwight Eaton was the second president of Beloit College, serving two separate terms, 1886-1905 and 1907-1917. This collection gathers his personal and Beloit College-related correspondence, correspondence with his family, some biographical materials, inauguration documents, a few news clippings, some of his and his family's writings, and his Alumni Office file.

Related Materials

Alumni Classes and Organizations records (AC 8)
Beloit Area collection (AC 17)
Board of Trustees records (AC 107)
Buildings and Properties collection (AC 24)
Commencement records (AC 35)
Curriculum records (AC 38)
Development records (AC 41)
Fraternities and Sororities records (AC 54)
Sports collection (AC 99)
Treasurer records (AC 106)
Frank G. Logan collection (MC 66)
Irving Maurer papers (MC 4)

Edward Dwight Eaton papers
Michelle Tom
June, 2013
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Repository Details

Part of the Beloit College Archives and Special Collections Repository

700 College St.
Beloit WI 53511 USA