Willamette University Trustees' Report 1853

Transcript of Original Document

To the Hon. the Secretary of the Territory of Oregon

In accordance with the requirements of the Act of the Legislative Assembly incorporating the Trustees of the Wallamette University, a report of the Oregon Institute (its preparatory department, and the only one yet organized) is herewith presented

The studies pursued are: Reading, Writing, Geogra-phy, (with map drawing, Orthagraphy, Punctuation, Arithmetic (mental and written), History, Grammar Natural Philosophy, Chemistry, Astronomy, Logic, Rhetoric, Botany, Moral Science, Algebra (Davies Elementary, + Davies' Bourdon) Geometry (Elementary and Davies' Legendre) Trigonom-etry, Surveying, Drawing, needlework, Music (vocal + Instrumental), Latin, and Elocution.

The members of the School, both male and female are required to furnish a composition or declamation weekly: the advanced students being required to read their own compositions in presence of the other members of the school, and the Teachers, in connection with other Rhetorical Exercises.


In 1853, Willamette University was chartered by the territorial legislature. This report to the legislature summarizes the programs of the Oregon Institute, which was Willamette University's preparatory department (and the only part organized when this report was made). The curriculum shows a heavy emphasis on traditional subjects, such as would be found in any eastern preparatory school. Students were required to prepare a weekly composition or declamation.

Words and Terms

preparatory department
natural philosophy
moral science

For Further Discussion

  1. What subjects listed in this report are no longer taught in a high school?
  2. What occupations would this type of education prepare you for?
  3. What does this document tell you about the way people defined an education in the mid-nineteenth century?
Image of letter transcribed in body of page.
Document No. 1426 (PDF)