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Knox College Library
Special Collections & Archives

2 E. South St.
Galesburg, IL 61401

Path: Library home > Special Collections & Archives > Archives > Lombard College collection

Lombard College Collection
Manuscript Collection

Historical notes: the Universalist Church established the Illinois Liberal Institute in Galesburg, Illinois in1853. A devastating fire in 1855 stalled the development of the new college. With a significant financial gift from Illinois farmer and businessman, Benjamin Lombard (1815-1883), the school recovered and became Lombard University. The official institution name was changed to Lombard College in 1899.

Women were admitted on an equal basis with men from the earliest days of the college. This open attitude reflected the Universalist philosophy and many Lombard women entered the service of the Universalist Church as ministers. So important was the college to the church that it became the seat of Ryder School of Divinity in the 1880s and remained so until 1913, when it was transferred to the Meadville Theological Seminary at the University of Chicago.

Not able to withstand the financial pressures of the Depression, Lombard was forced to close its doors. The last class graduated in 1930. Lombard did not merge, but many students finished their degrees at Knox College. Ever since, Knox has been the center of Lombard College alumni activities.

Sigificant alumni include:

NameClass yearNotable accomplishments
E.H. Conger (1843-1907)1862congressman, diplomat, ambassador to China at the time of the Boxer Rebellion
Carl Sandburg (1878-1967)1899-1902author, poet, Pulitzer Prize winner
Paul Jordan Smith (1895-1971) 1908editor, educator, poet
Sewell Wright (1889-1988)1911geneticist
Quincy Wright (1890-1971)1912educator, poet, economist
Theodore Wright (1895-1970)1915engineer, first director of Civil Aeronautics Administration
Evar Swanson (1902-1973)1924professional athlete: baseball & football; since 1929 remains the fastest player in baseball
Dorothy Tilden Spoerl (1906-2000)1927theologian, writer, educator

Notable faculty include:

  • Phillip Green Wright (1861-1934)
  • David Starr Jordan (1851-1931) -- Outstanding ichthyologist, President of Indiana University; founding President of Stanford University

Collection scope notes: The collection includes historical information and publications related to the founding, development and ultimate dissolution of Lombard College. Also included is information related to the academic atmosphere, the college campus and student activities. Some faculty and former students have files with personal data. Academic records are not part of this collection, but can be obtained from the Registrar of Knox College.

Collection range: 1854 - 1933; current relevant material added

Collection size: 30 linear feet

In addition: one oversize box, various items in safe, numerous publications shelved separately, and collections in remote storage.

Brief Inventory

Box 1History -- Charters and related documents

Box 2History -- Compiled histories

Box 3History -- Founding, early history & various topics

Box 4History -- Later history, dissolution, consolidation of the College

Box 5Lombard Bulletin and Alumnus and Lombard Letter

Box 6Lombard Bulletin (continued)

Box 7Campus & Buildings

Box 8Campus & Buildings -- Lombard Memorial Rock

Box 9Presidents

Box 10Trustees

Box 11Faculty -- General topics & individual files A-J

Box 12Faculty -- Individual files K-Z

Box 13Faculty -- Philip Green Wright

Box 14Academic Departments

Box 15Student Affairs & Student Series Classes 1854-1866

Box 16Students -- Classes 1867-1889

Box 17Students -- Classes 1890-1896

Box 18Students -- Classes 1897-1904

Box 19Students -- Classes 1905-1912

Box 20Students -- Classes 1913-1922

Box 21Students -- Classes 1923-1925

Box 22Students -- Class of 1925 -- Roy A. Lamb

Box 23Students -- Classes 1926

Box 24Students -- Classes 1927

Box 25Students -- Classes 1928-1929

Box 26Students -- Classes 1930-1933

Box 27Student Publications & Student Organizations A-K

Box 28Student Organizations L-Z

Box 29Fraternities

Box 30Sororities

Box 31Miscellaneous Campus Events 1855-1900

Box 32Miscellaneous Campus Events 1901-1924

Box 33Miscellaneous Campus Events 1925-1930

Box 34Commencement

Box 35Athletics

Box 36Alumni Affairs (for more on reunions see: Fifty Year Club)

Box 37Songs of Lombard

The following are oversized items.

Box 38Scrapbooks 1916-1918

Box 39Scrapbooks 1917-1919

Box 40Scrapbooks 1918-1921

Box 41Scrapbooks 1920-1922

Box 42Scrapbooks 1922-1923

Box 43Scrapbooks 1924

Box 44Scrapbooks 1923-1924

Box 45Scrapbooks 1925

Box 46Scrapbooks 1926

Box 47Scrapbooks 1927-1928

Box 48Scrapbooks 1929-1930

Publications shelved after Box 48:
[see full inventory for complete listings of volumes & issues.]

  • Lombard College Catalogues
  • Lombard Review
  • Songs of Lombard
  • Lombard yearbooks (The Lombard, The Thud, The Cannibal, The Stroller)
  • Lombard Review - Alumnus