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Lyman Hall Correspondence

Lyman Hall Correspondence

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Descriptive Summary

Title: Lyman Hall Correspondence
Identification: UA309
Date: January 6, 1896-December 31, 1903
Size/Quantity: 4.0 linear feet (ten volumes)
Language: This collection is written in English.
Creator: Hall, Lyman, 1859-1905
Repository: Archives & Records Management, Library, Georgia Institute of Technology
Abstract:This collection consists of the outgoing correspondence of Lyman Hall, President of the Georgia Institute of Technology from 1896-1905, from the first eight years of his presidency.

Biographical/Historical Note

Lyman Hall (1859-1905) served as the second President of the Georgia Institute of Technology, from 1896 to his death in 1905.

Hall was born in 1859 in Americus, Georgia, attended Mercer College, and graduated from West Point Military Academy in 1881. Health problems prevented him from serving in the Army, so he worked as a mathematics instructor at military academies and authored three books on algebra. In 1888 he was nominated by President Isaac S. Hopkins to be the first mathematics professor of the Georgia School of Technology. He had a solid background in engineering due to his time at West Point and often incorporated surveying and other engineering applications into his coursework. He had an energetic personality and quickly assumed a leadership position among the faculty. Only eight years after his initial appointment, Hall was elected by the Commission on June 24th, 1896 to be the second President of Georgia Tech.

As president, Hall was noted for his aggressive fundraising and improvements to the school, including his special project, the A. French Textile School. His goals included enlarging Tech and attracting more students. While president, Hall helped to expand the Georgia School of Technology's small campus through many petitions to the Commission and state legislature along with countless fundraising drives. In 1896 he petitioned the Commission to form two new departments, Civil Engineering and Electrical Engineering, and secure funding for new equipment. Through the legislative appropriation and the General Education Board, President hall raised enough money to build the Knowles Dormitory and purchase equipment for both of the new departments. In the years following, Hall also added the Textile Department, a second dormitory, the A. French Building, the Chemistry Laboratory, and the Electrical Building. In addition, Hall instructed Professor Kenneth Matheson, the head of English teaching, to start the first library on campus.

It was during his presidency that Hall, a graduate of West Point Academy, established Georgia Tech's reputation for discipline. No incident exemplifies his character more than the "Insubordinate Seniors of 1901" incident, in which Hall suspended the entire class of eighteen students for returning to classes a day late after the Christmas holidays.

The Chemistry Laboratory, finished in 1905, just two months before Lyman Hall's death, would later be named in his honor. His legacy included the addition of four degrees, and an enrollment more than three times greater than when he succeeded Isaac Hopkins in 1896.

Hall's death, while still in office, took place during a vacation at a New York health resort in 1905. His death has been attributed to stress from his strenuous fundraising activities.

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of President Lyman Hall's outgoing correspondence from 1896 to 1902. The correspondence includes letters to other universities, businesses, and local philanthropists asking for assistance in expanding Georgia Tech's campus, library, and curriculum. It also contains acknowledgements of payment and letters to individual students, prospective students, and responses to parents inquiring about their son's status. In addition to correspondence, reports and memoranda are occasionally included, as well as lists of payments of fees and tuition. Letters are mainly typewritten, but occasionally they are handwritten.

The years of this correspondence were eventful ones in the history of the Georgia Institute of Technology, and these events are reflected in Hall's letters and memoranda. For example, the building of temporary dorms, the creation of the Civil and Electrical Engineering departments, and the creation of the Textile program is documented in the first volume. Volume 4 contains correspondence relating to the incident of insubordination of the senior class in 1901, in which members of the senior class were suspended in January 1901 after they returned to campus late after the Christmas holidays. In Volume 6, references are made to the opening of Swann Dormitory and the Electrical Building, reflecting the growth and expansion of the campus. Other topics covered include personnel changes and deaths among the faculty and administration. Like the earlier volumes, Volumes 7-10 contain correspondence to prospective students and assessments to and from Tech. They also contain correspondence on student status, student expulsions and suspensions.


Arranged into ten bound volumes. The correspondence is arranged chronologically.

Index Terms

College buildings--Georgia--Atlanta.
Georgia Institute of Technology. Class of 1901.
Georgia Institute of Technology. History.
Georgia Institute of Technology. Presidents.
Georgia School of Technology. History.
Hall, Lyman, 1859-1905

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

The paper in this collection is thin and fragile, and much of the type is faded and difficult to read.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Please cite [Item, Volume Number], Lyman Hall Correspondence (UA309), Archives, Library and Information Center, Georgia Institute of Technology.


The immediate provenance of this collection is unknown. Accession number: 2006.219.

Processing Information

Sheldon Smith and Christine de Catanzaro processed these papers in October 2006. Volumes 7 through 10 were added to the collection in May 2008.

Revisions to Finding Aid

May 2008:
  • Four volumes (Volumes 7-10) added to the collection. March 2010: Finding aid imported into Archivists' Toolkit.

  • Restrictions

    Restrictions: Access


    Restrictions: Use

    Permission to publish materials from this collection must be obtained from the Head of Archives and Special Collections.

    Related Material

    See also J. Wayne Moore Papers (MS132) for materials related to the Insubordinate Seniors of 1901. More materials from the Lyman Hall presidency can be found in the Early Presidents' Papers (UA004).

    Other Finding Aids

    A print copy of this finding aid is available in the Georgia Tech Archives reading room.

    Container List

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    1UA309-Volume 1: Correspondence, January 6, 1896-January 3, 1899


    2UA309-Volume 2: Correspondence, January 9, 1899-August 29, 1899


    3UA309-Volume 3: Correspondence, August 30, 1899-May 7, 1900


    4UA309-Volume 4: Correspondence, May 7, 1900-February 4, 1901


    5UA309-Volume 5: Correspondence, February 4, 1901-July 12, 1901


    6UA309-Volume 6: Correspondence, July 15, 1901-January 29, 1902


    7UA309-Volume 7: Correspondence, January 31, 1902-August 3, 1902


    8UA309-Volume 8: Correspondence, August 9, 1902-January 30, 1903


    9UA309-Volume 9: Correspondence, January 31, 1903-September 4, 1903


    10UA309-Volume 10: Correspondence, September 3, 1903-December 31, 1903