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Centenary College of Louisiana Board of Trustees records

Identifier: CCL-Trustees

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of records of the board of trustees of Centenary College (Brandon Springs, Mississippi) and Centenary College of Louisiana (Jackson, Louisiana). It includes administrative records (1843-1882), minutes (1841-1906), resolutions (1842-circa 1905), and correspondence and reports (circa 1845-1904).

The administrative records include bylaws (1843), acts of incorporation (1848-1882), property records (1845-1871), and a construction contract for the Center/Centre Building (1855).

The minutes of meetings include a manuscript volume (1841-1906); the archives book collection contains a typescript of this volume. Additional minutes written on loose-leaf pages (circa 1845-1904) are often preliminary drafts later added to the manuscript volume. However, some loose-leaf minutes do not appear in the manuscript volume, for example: 1848 December 9, 1849 March 5, 1850 October 10, 1853 May 11, 1851 September 25, 1854 November 14, 1861 October 16, and 1865 all meetings.

The resolutions appear on loose-leaf pages, and many seem to be preliminary drafts. Some resolutions passed, and others failed. Many of these resolutions can also be found in the manuscript volume of minutes.

The correspondence and reports were created by trustee committees and officers of the college. Regularly occurring reports include those drafted by the college president, treasurer, treasurer of the endowment fund, agent for sale of college lands, auditing committee, building committee, finance committee, state of the college committee, and ways and means committee. Also included are the following: nomination of trustees and visitors committee report (circa 1845), repairs committee report (circa 1845), William Marbury Carpenter letter about buying books from the college library (1846), librarian report (1846), bylaws committee report (1846), preparatory department report (1846), James B. Dodd letter about faculty salary (1846), “old college” building fire report (1850), specifications to reconstruct building destroyed by fire (1851), senior class letter complimenting President R. H. Rivers (1851), professor Daniel Martindale letter of resignation (1851), student letter of appreciation for Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Pilant serving as hosts (1852), surveyor report (1853), John H. Baker letters about college presidency (1854), senior class petition to change examinations (1855), preparatory department committee report (circa 1855), college discipline report (circa 1855), student petition for appointment of a music teacher (1857), invitation from student Lafayette French Association (1857), junior class petition requesting fewer assignments (1859), student and alumni letters about turmoil among the college’s literary societies (1859), and a faculty letter recommending women be admitted as students (1895). Also included are letters of resignation from Centenary Presidents: D. O. Shattuck (1846), A. B. Longstreet (1849), R. H. Rivers (1851), and John C. Miller (1865). The folder containing correspondence of board secretary, W. Hamilton Watkins primarily relates to employment of professors at Centenary (1850-1859).


  • 1841 - 1906


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Physical rights are retained by the Centenary College of Louisiana Archives and Special Collections. Copyright is retained in accordance with U.S. copyright laws.

Biographical / Historical

In 1840, the Mississippi Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church named a board of trustees to govern Centenary College, founded at Brandon Springs, Mississippi. Originally consisting of twentyfive members, the board approved a set of bylaws in 1842 and occasionally revised them thereafter. The board included an executive committee as well as additional ad hoc committees. The trustees were responsible for electing the college’s president and hiring faculty members. To fill vacancies on the board, nominations were submitted by the Mississippi Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and the nominees were elected by the board. Note: the conference became the Mississippi Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church South as a result of a denominational schism in 1844.

In 1845, the trustees and the Mississippi Conference chose to move the college to the newly-closed College of Louisiana (Jackson, La.). The board was also reorganized as a twenty-six member “joint board of trustees and visitors.” The first group consisted of thirteen trustees who lived within the vicinity of the college; the thirteen visitors were primarily clergy appointed by the Mississippi Conference. In 1847, with the creation of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, both the Mississippi and Louisiana Conferences shared the responsibility of appointing trustees and visitors.

The board regularly met to conduct business prior to the college’s commencement ceremonies each summer. It also held called meetings at other times of the year. With the onset of the American Civil War, the board’s executive committee met in October 1861. The next meeting of trustees occurred in summer 1865.

In 1903, the board received notice that the Shreveport Progressive League was interested in facilitating a move of Centenary College to the city of Shreveport. This was met with mixed reactions. The most vocal opponent was John Christian Keener, who had served as president of the board since 1866. In a 1905 lawsuit, the trustees were ordered to turn over control of Centenary to the Louisiana Conference. In 1906, all of the trustees resigned, with vacancies to be filled by the Louisiana Conference. The conference appointed a new board, which included some former trustees, and this group oversaw the move of the college to Shreveport.


1 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Arranged in four series: 1. Administrative records (1843-1882), 2. Minutes (1841-1906), 3. Resolutions (1842-circa 1905), 4. Correspondence and reports (circa 1845-1904).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Likely transferred circa 1930 with additional records documenting Centenary College of Louisiana (Jackson, La.) by Centenary's president, George Sexton. See caption published in Yoncopin (Shreveport, LA: Centenary College of Louisiana, 1938), page 9.

Finding Aid to the Centenary College of Louisiana Board of Trustees records
Chris Brown
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Centenary College of Louisiana Archives and Special Collections Repository

2911 Centenary Blvd.
Shreveport LA 71104 US
(318) 869-5462