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Papers of Elijah E. Edwards

Identifier: UEEE

Scope and Contents

The Papers of Elijah E. Edwards consists of materials dated 1846 to 1881. Six bound journals in the collection chronicle four years of his life. They include three years as a student at Asbury University in Greencastle, Indiana, and one year as president of Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. Sketches of many places Edwards saw in his life and personal acquaintances are located among the text of the journals. His letter accepting the position of president and a report he wrote to the governing body of the school are also present in the collection as is a copy of the Act for the establishment and location of an Agricultural College and a Certificate by Wm. M. Clark, Secretary of State of the State of Colorado to certify laws pertaining to the Agricultural College of Colorado.


  • Creation: 1846-1881


Restrictions on Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection. Materials are very fragile and require researchers to take extreme care when handling them.

Restrictions on Use

Not all of the material in the collection is in the public domain. Researchers are responsible for addressing copyright issues.


Elijah Evan Edwards (1831-1915) was born in Delaware, Ohio, on January 26, 1831. His father was a Methodist minister and the family moved frequently during Edwards' youth. The Edwards family moved to Indiana in 1836, and Elijah Edwards enrolled at Asbury University (now DePauw) in 1844. He graduated with a B.A. degree in 1853.

After graduating from college, Edwards married Alice L. Eddy and he was employed as a teacher at several schools. He became a Methodist Episcopal Church minister by 1858, and later volunteered with the Seventh Minnesota Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. He was commissioned as a chaplain during the war. After the war, Edwards taught for a while and then worked as the assistant editor of the Central Christian Advocate for several years. In 1872, he was a professor of physics and natural history at McKendree College in Lebanon, Illinois. In 1877, Asbury University bestowed an honorary doctorate on Edwards. He remained at McKendree College until 1879, when he accepted the offer to be the first president of Colorado State University.

Edwards traveled to Colorado several times before moving here; however, they were short visits. He served as president from 1879 through 1882. Edwards conducted morning chapel services, oversaw the handful of faculty members, and reported to the school's governing body. The board and Edwards had different visions for the school and after three years, Edwards resigned as president.

After resigning from Colorado State University, Edwards taught at several schools throughout the midwest. In 1888, he changed religious affiliations and was confirmed in the Episcopal Church. He was ordained the following year. His wife Alice died in 1896, and three years later he was briefly married to Ellen R. Tingley.

Edwards lived most of his life in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Wisconsin; however, by 1913, Edwards was living in LaBelle, Florida, with his son Elmer and daughter-in-law Theresa. Edwards died on November 10, 1915, and was buried in nearby Fort Myers, Florida. Amateur historian James R. Miller discovered Edwards' unmarked grave in the 1960s and Colorado State University placed a marker on the site.


0.5 linear feet (1 document case)

Language of Materials



Elijah Evan Edwards (1831-1915) was the first president of Colorado State University from 1879 through 1882. Journals from several years he spent as a student at Asbury University (now DePauw) comprise the bulk of the collection. His work at Colorado State University is represented by six journals and a few documents. The collection includes bound journals, clippings, correspondence, ephemera, and a report.


Arrangement is by material type. The collection consists of two series in one document case:

Series 1: Journals, 1846-1881

Series 2: Documents, 1879 and 1881


The Papers of Elijah E. Edwards were acquired by Colorado State University Libraries over a period of years from multiple individuals. Dr. George H. Glover donated five of the journals in 1920. Charles Wetzler donated the second volume of "Scribblings of a Sophomore" later the same year. The Libraries accessioned the journals into the general collection. In 1973, Dick Stevens donated the president's report to the University Archive. The journals were transferred from the Libraries' general collection to the University Archive in the 1970s.

Online Materials

Materials have been scanned and are available through the Colorado State University Libraries website. In the electronic version of this document, direct links appear in context.

Related Collections

The Papers of Elijah E. Edwards is related to many collections in the Archives and Special Collections Department due to the natural relationship of University records. Some related materials in the Colorado State University Archive are the James R. Miller, Historic Photographs, State Board of Agriculture, Ruth J. Wattles, and the University Historic Photograph collections. Miller wrote the unpublished "Pioneer College President" about Edwards' tenure at Colorado State University. It is available in the archives, call number: LD1153.M56.

The following repositories house additional materials related to Edwards:

Elijah E. Edwards Civil War journals, 1864-1865, P470, Minnesota Historical Society.

"Elijah Evan Edwards Papers, Class of 1853," Oct. 29, 2009. Finding aid at the Archives of DePauw University and Indiana United Methodism, Greencastle, Ind.: DePauw University.

Separated Collections

Research materials compiled and sent to the Archives and Special Collections Department by a relative of Edwards and student papers were separated from the collection and placed in the administrative file. Some of these materials are restricted from researcher access; unrestricted materials may be requested for viewing.


Processing was completed in April 2008. Materials were in no discernable order. All six journals are extremely fragile and were individually placed in phase boxes by the Libraries' Preservation Department. Documents were placed in acid-free folders and all materials were placed in an acid-free box.

Inventory Note

Note: Title information supplied by the archivist is bracketed. Estimated paginationis preceded by an "e."

Guide to the Papers of Elijah E. Edwards
Edited Full Draft
Prepared by Colleen M. McCorkell
Copyright 2008
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the CSU Libraries Archives & Special Collections Repository

Fort Collins Colorado 80523-1019 USA