Knox College Library

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Gale Family Papers Manuscript Collection

Biographical Notes: George Washington Gale (1789-1861) was among the founders of Knox College and Galesburg, Illinois. He also served as trustee (1837-1861) and professor of moral philosophy at Knox College from 1840 to 1857. Born in Separate, Dutchess County, New York, G.W. Gale was educated at Union College (1814) and studied theology at Princeton, Hudson Presbytery (1819) and Union College. He then was an itinerant Presbyterian preacher and gained some notoriety as a revivalist. In 1826 he founded the Oneida Institute, Whitesboro, New York and remained there until 1835 when plans began for what became Knox College (1837). G.W.Gale was the inspiration and motivator of the enterprise that became Knox College. He brought with him family, friends and investors and established the college and the community where he remained in until his death.

Scope Notes: The collection consists of financial papers of George Washington Gale I, his father, wives, and children; also correspondence dealing with family affairs and the college and church between 1820 and 1862. Included is material pertaining to the controversy between the Presbyterians and Congregationalists in Galesburg over control of the church and college. Two disputing factions in the community were led by G.W. Gale I and Jonathan Blanchard, President of Knox College.

Many of the letters and documents in this collection are accompanied by typescript transcriptions. The original manuscript and typescript of the autobiography of G.W. Gale I included in this collection is located in the Archives safe. Daguerreotypes and tintypes of Gale family members are filed with other such material in the Photography Collection in the Archives.

Collection range: 1812-1861
Collection size: 2.5 inches
Donor: Gale family members 1941, 1956.
Other more recent acquisitions have been added to this collection.