Collins, Charles

Life Span
Dickinson Connection
President 1852-1860
    Full name
    Charles Collins
    Place of Birth
    Birth Date Certainty
    Death Date Certainty
    Sectional choice
    Free State
    Other Education
    Wesleyan University, CT
    Church or Religious Denomination
    Household Size in 1860
    Children in 1860
    Occupation in 1860
    Professor of Moral Philosophy
    Residence in 1860
    Marital status in 1860

    Charles Collins (Dickinson Chronicles)

    Charles Collins was born on April 17, 1813 in North Yarmouth, Maine to Joseph Warren and Hannah Sturdivant Collins.  At the age of fourteen he became a member of the Church of Christ and went on to prepare for college at the Maine Wesleyan Seminary. He then entered Wesleyan University and graduated with the highest honors in his class in 1837, as well as Phi Beta Kappa honors.  Following his graduation he took a job as the principal of a high school in Augusta, Maine for one year. In 1838, he became the first president, as well as treasurer and a professor of natural sciences at Emory and Henry College in Western Virginia. He would remain there for a period of fourteen years that saw the making of the reputation both of the institution and himself.  This undoubtedly led in 1851 to the honorary doctor of divinity degree he received from Dickinson and his subsequent election, on July 7, 1852 at the age of 39, as the eleventh president of the College.

    During Collins' presidential term, Dickinson College built an observatory with a telescope at the top of South College for the use of the students that would remain in use until 1927. Collins was also instrumental in the building, with a mortgage secured with College funds, of a second Methodist Church in Carlisle, at the corner of West and Pomfret Streets, called Emory Chapel.  The introduction of water and gas mains was begun on the campus, although they were built sparingly during this early time. The number of students enrolled in the College rose under his administration even though Collins himself was not widely popular with the student body.  This was largely due to his response to independent student activities like secret fraternities and "rough and tumble" football.

    In 1860, President Collins resigned from his position at Dickinson citing his desire to explore ways to make further provisions for his growing family.  After declining two other college presidencies, he took a position as the proprietor and president of the State Female College near Memphis in Tennessee. He would serve there for the remaining fifteen years of his life. Charles Collins died on July 10, 1875 in Memphis at the age of sixty-two.
    John Osborne and James W. Gerencser, eds., “Charles Collins,” Dickinson Chronicles,

    Charles Collins (Appleton’s)

    COLLINS, Charles, educator, b. in North Yarmouth, Me.. 17 April, 1813; d. in Memphis, Tenn., 10 July, 1875. He was graduated lit Wesleyan university, Middletown. Conn., in 1837, taught the high-school in Augusta, Me., for a year, was president of Emory and Henry college, in Emory, Va., from its establishment in 1838 till 1852, when he became president of Dickinson college, Pa. From 1800 till his death he was proprietor and president of the State female college near Memphis, Tenn. He contributed many articles to Methodist magazines, and published a discourse on “Methodism and Calvinism Compared” (Philadelphia, 1849).
    James Grant Wilson and John Fiske, eds., “Collins, Charles,” Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1888), 1: 691.

    Charles Collins (National Cyclopaedia)

    COLLINS, Charles, tenth president of Dickinson College (1852-60), was born in North Yarmouth, Me., Apr. 17, 1813. He was graduated it Wesleyan University, Middletown, Conn., in 1837, and is chiefly distinguished by his labors as an educator. After his graduation he taught for а rear in the High School at Augusta, Me. On the establishment of Emory and Henry College, at Emory, Va., in 1838, Dr. Collins was made president, and held the office until 1852, -when he was called to the presidency of Dickinson College. He retired in 1860. From this time until his death he was president of the State Female College, near Memphis. Tenn. He preached in the Methodist church, and contributed largely to Methodist journals. A discourse on "Methodism and Calvinism Compared” was published in 1849. He died in Memphis, Tenn., July 10. 1875.
    “Collins, Charles,” The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography (New York: James T. White & Company, 1896), 6: 430.

    Charles Collins (Notable Americans)

    COLLINS, Charles, educator, was born in North Yarmouth, Maine, April 17, 1813. He was graduated at the Wesleyan university in 1837 and joined the Maine conference. He was transferred to the Holston conference in 1838, and helped to found and organize Emory and Henry college, Va., of which institution he was president, 1838- 52. In 1850 he was a delegate to the general conference of the Methodist Episcopal church, south. He was president of Dickinson college, 1852-60; and of the State female college near Memphis, Tenn., 1860-75, which he established. In 1851 the Centenary college, La., the Masonic college, Mo., and Dickinson college, Pa., each conferred upon him the honorary degree of D.D. He contributed to the Ladies' Repository, the Southern Methodist Pulpit, and the Methodist Quarterly Review, and edited The Northern Repertory and College Review (1845-52). He died at Memphis, Tenn., July 10, 1875.
    Rossiter Johnson, ed., The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans, vol. 2 (Boston: The Biographical Society, 1904).

    Charles Collins (Cyclopaedia of Biblical…Literature)

    Collins, Charles, D.D., a minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church South, was born in North Yarmouth, Me., April 17,1813. He received an elementary education at Portland, and the Maine Wesleyan Institute; after several years of school - teaching entered Wesleyan University, Middletown, Conn., and before he was twenty-five years of age graduated, taking the first honors, and was elected as the first president of Emory and Henry College, near Abingdon, Va. During the years of his student life he had embraced religion, and dedicated all his energies to it and education, and having united with the Holston Conference, labored abundantly and effectively in the pulpit during his service in Emory and Henry College. His controversial papers against Romanism, in 1844, exhibit his talent and ability in polemic theology; as do also his tracts, published in 1848, entitled Methodism and Calvinism Compared. He was also at this time editor of the Southern Repertory and College Review, and was a regular contributor to the Ladies' Repository, and various church papers and periodicals. In 1852 he was elected president of Dickinson College, and filled that position eight years, during which time he declined the presidency of Centenary College, La., and of Central College, Mo.; the chancellorship of the University of Missouri, of Michigan, and of Southern University, Greensborough, Ala. In 1860 he was transferred to the Memphis Conference, and took charge of the State Female College at Memphis, Tenn., becoming sole proprietor of the buildings and grounds, and placing it under the patronage of the Memphis Conference. In the service of that college he closed his life and labors, July 10, 1878. Dr. Collins was amiable, grave, sympathetic, studious, learned; a popular, able writer; an humble, earnest preacher, and an exemplary Christian. See Minutes of Annual Conferences of the M. E. Church South, 1875, p. 210; Simpson, Cyclop. of Methodism, s. v.
    John McClintock and James Strong, “Collins, Charles,” Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature (New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, 1889), 2: 29.
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