Biography and History

Philip Lindsley, an educator, Presbyterian minister, and classical scholar, was born in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. In 1802 he was admitted to the junior class of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), from which he graduated in 1804. He returned to the college as tutor in 1807, and to study theology under President Samuel Stanhope Smith. In 1813 Lindsley was made professor of languages, librarian, inspector (dean), and secretary of the Board of Trustees. By the time he was elected vice-president of the College of New Jersey in 1817, Lindsley was recognized as one of the foremost classical scholars in the United States. In 1822 he was made acting president of Princeton. The next year he was offered the permanent presidency not only of Princeton but also of several colleges and universities, including the struggling Cumberland College in Nashville, Tennessee, but he declined them all. In 1824, though, he changed his mind and accepted the position in Nashville. The next year, at Lindsley's instigation, the college's name was changed to University of Nashville. He wrote: "Throughout the immense valley of the lower Mississippi, containing at least a million of inhabitants, there exists not a single college." His effect on public opinion appeared in the fact the that by 1848 there were twenty colleges in Tennessee.

Source: From the finding aid for C1111

  • Philip Lindsley Letters. 1821-1837 (inclusive).

    Call Number: C1111

    Consists of selected letters of Philip Lindsley, educator, Presbyterian clergyman, and acting president of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1822-1823.