Adonijah Strong Welch reference collection

Summary Information

Eastern Michigan University Archives
Welch, Adonijah S.
Adonijah Strong Welch reference collection
Date [inclusive]
0.2 Linear feet 1 halfsize archive box
The Adonijah Strong Welch papers document the the first president of Michigan State Normal College who serving from 1851-1865. His papers include such materials as press clippings, biographies compiled by scholars, and materials regarding his administration at the Iowa Agricultural College. Folders have been arranged alphabetically. Most of the items in the collection were produced during Welch's educational career, 1851 through 1889.

Preferred Citation note

Please cite materials from the University Archives in the following manner: Item. Collection Title. Eastern Michigan University Archives.

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Biographical Note

Adonijah Strong Welch was born in East Hampton, Connecticut on April 12, 1821. At the age of eighteen, he travelled to Jonesville, Michigan with his parents. He enrolled at the University of Michigan sophomore class in 1843; in 1844 he was appointed as the first principal of the Preparatory Department, and graduated in 1846. Following college, Welch studied law in the office of Lothrop and Duffield and was admitted to the bar, although instead of practicing law he chose to return to Jonesville where he organized a Union School. In 1848, Welch left Michigan for California in hopes of finding gold; he returned due to poor health, and began campaigning for the establishment of a Normal College in the state of Michigan. In 1851 he was named the first principal of the newly founded Michigan State Normal College.

The years of Adonijah Strong Welch's administration were beset with difficulties; he was tasked with assembling a faculty, creating a curriculum, and adopting policies that would guide the MSNC future. Two years after its founding, instruction in agriculture and mechanical arts were transferred to the Michigan Agricultural College. In 1859, the MSNC building was lost to fire, and in 1861 the United States Civil War had a huge impact on both the students and faculty; Welch visited the E Company, made up largely of MSNC students, as they marched across Virginia.

While MSNC president, Welch published two books, An Analysis of the English Sentence and  Treatise on Object Lessons.

Because of his poor health, Welch took a leave of absence in 1859, during which he traveled throughout Europe; in 1865 he resigned and moved to Jacksonville, Florida, where he went into business with his brother-in-law and taught in a Freedmen's school. He took an interest in politics and joined the Republican Party; Welch was elected to the United States Senate to finish an un-expired term. In 1868, Welch was elected President of the Iowa Agricultural College, later Iowa State College. He served as President until 1883, though he remained a faculty member until 1889. Welch died on March 13, 1889 in Pasadena, California, and was buried at the Iowa State College cemetery in Ames, Iowa.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Eastern Michigan University Archives 2013 February 14

Halle Library, Room 310
Ypsilanti, Michigan, 48197

Conditions Governing Access note

Researchers are asked to request materials 24 hours prior to visiting the the University Archives.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

For more information on Adonijah Strong Welch, please see the vertical biography file and photograph file in the University Archives file collection.

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Controlled Access Headings


  • College presidents
  • Michigan State Normal College

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Collection Inventory

Box Folder


1 1

Circular, New Course of Study, with notes on back 1863 March 18 

1 2

Clippings 1865-1979 

1 3

Iowa State College Centennial Histories 1858 

1 4

Letter to Michigan State Normal College 1865 December 25 

1 5

Memorial Service Program 1889 March 29 

1 6


1 7

Student Notes 1853 March 29-April 4 

1 8