Collection ID: C1
Printable View Printable View

Collection context


Wylie, Andrew, 1789-1851
Andrew Wylie assumed the position as the first president of Indiana College in 1829, and he died on 11 November 1851 of pneumonia which he developed after accidentally cutting his leg while chopping wood. This collection consists of Andrew Wylie's personal papers, and includes records documenting Wylie's tenure at Jefferson and Washington Colleges; correspondence with family and professional colleagues; Wylie's sermons, lectures, and writings; bills, contracts, and receipts relating primarily to building and maintaining the family residence; and biographical information on Wylie.
2.2 cubic feet (3 boxes)
Materials are in English .
Preferred citation:

[Item], Andrew Wylie papers, Collection C1, Indiana University Archives, Bloomington.


Biographical / Historical:

Andrew Wylie, the first president of Indiana University, was born on April 12, 1789, on a farm in western Pennsylvania. The son of an Irish immigrant, Wylie was brought up in a Scots-Irish Presbyterian household where education, religion, and discipline were instilled deeply into the young man's psyche. Before entering Jefferson College in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, at the age of fifteen, Wylie helped his father farm the land and took classes at the public schools in the area as the seasons permitted. Wylie's mother also supplemented his education.

Wylie graduated from Jefferson College in 1810 at the top of his class with honors. Promptly after graduation Wylie was appointed as a tutor at the college. Wylie was unanimously elected president of Jefferson College by the Board of Trustees a mere two years after graduating from the school. Sometime during this period Wylie was ordained as a Presbyterian minister.

In 1817 Wylie resigned his position at Jefferson College and became the president of Washington College in Washington, Pennsylvania. He served as president of Washington College until 1828. During his presidency at Washington College Wylie received his D.D. (Doctor of Divinity) from Union College in 1825. In 1828, Indiana Seminary was undergoing the transformation to Indiana College and Wylie was contacted about becoming president of the fledgling institution. After being continuously courted by the faculty and other officials of the college, the Indiana College Board of Trustees elected Wylie president in 1829. Wylie, his wife Margaret, and his family moved to Bloomington to assume his new duties as the first president of Indiana College (now Indiana University) on 29 October 1829.

As president, Wylie brought changes to the curriculum and the structure of the student body. He established a four-year course of study for students which included Greek and Latin, mathematics and natural sciences, and humanities. Wylie also served as an instructor of multiple subjects including philosophy, Christianity, constitutional law, political economy, and literary criticism. While serving as president of Indiana College, Wylie faced several challenges including the 1833 outbreak of Asiatic cholera and disagreements with faculty. In 1838, Indiana College became a university, and Wylie was re-elected president. He served as president until his death in 1851. During his twenty-two year administration, Wylie had to defend himself four times from charges brought against him. He was cleared of any wrongdoing each time.

Wylie married Margaret Ritchie (b.1791) in 1813, and they had twelve children together: Andrew, William, Mary Ann, Craig Ritchie, Elizabeth, John Hosea, Samuel, Margaret, Irene Catherine, Redick McKee, Anderson McElroy and Jane Melheme. Wylie died on 11 November 1851 of pneumonia which he developed after accidentally cutting his leg while chopping wood. His wife Margaret Ritchie Wylie died in 1859.

Scope and Content:

This collection is comprised of the personal papers of Andrew Wylie, Indiana University's first president and spans the period from 1808 to 1858, with the bulk of the records from 1828-1851. There are five record series within the collection. All series, except for the bill and receipts, are arranged and described at the item level. All of the material has been arranged in chronological order within its representative series. There are photocopies from other institutions scattered throughout the collection. Most of these photocopies were collected around the time of the compilation of Affectionately Yours: The Andrew Wylie Family Letters, 1828 to 1859, in 1995.

The first series, Jefferson and Washington College records, spans the period from 1814-1826, and contains documents created during Andrew Wylie's tenure as president of Jefferson College and Washington College. A topic prominently feature in the records is the attempted unification of both Jefferson and Washington Colleges. Included among the records in this series are minutes of Jefferson College faculty meetings written by Andrew Wyle, and a document written by Andrew Wylie describing the events resulting from the attempts to consolidate Washington and Jefferson Colleges into one institution. Many of the documents in this series are photocopies of originals housed at either the Washington and Jefferson College Archives or the Jefferson College Historical Society.

The second series is comprised of the personal correspondence to and from Andrew Wylie from the period 1815 to 1851. Included in this correspondence are numerous letters to and from William Holmes McGuffey, the prominent educator who created the McGuffey Readers, one of America's first textbooks. There are also numerous letters to and from family members, including most prominently his wife Margaret Ritchie Wylie, his sons Samuel Theophylact Wylie and John H. Wylie, and Samuel Brown Wylie. Other correspondents prominently featured in this series include John W. Scott and Henry A. Wise. This series also includes typescripts of some of Andrew Wylie's letters that were reprinted in Affectionately Yours: The Andrew Wylie Family Letters, 1828 to 1859, a 1995 publication by the staff of the Wylie House Museum. For correspondence concerning Wylie's official duties as president please refer to Collection C207.

The sermons, lectures, and writings of Andrew Wylie make up the third series, and span the period from 1822 to 1851. The sermons and lectures represented here primarily deal with Wylie's activities outside of his role as president of the university. Prominent among the records within this series are sermons and lectures on a variety of religious topics delivered primarily to audiences in Bloomington, Indianapolis or other sites in Indiana. The series also include three sets of compilations of Andrew Wylie's lectures on metaphysics and moral philosophy. For Wylie's presidential addresses and speeches please refer to Collection C207.

The fourth series, Bills and receipts, covers the period from 1808 to 1846, and primarily documents the expenditures incurred during the construction of Wylie House and the running of the household once construction was completed. This series is arranged chronologically, and is the only series in the collection that is not arranged and described at the item level.

The Biographical records about Andrew Wylie series spans the period from 1825 to 1858, and contains biographical sketches of Andrew Wylie or documents which relate to various events in his life. Included in this series are the eulogy given by William Daly at the funeral of Andrew Wylie, various resolutions or condolences written after the death of Andrew Wylie, and Andrew Wylie's final will and testament.

Acquisition information:
Accessions 0286, 0748, 7075, 97/066, 99/047, 99/061, and 2023/141.
Processing information:

Processed by Kristen R. Walker; revised by Philip C. Bantin

Completed in 2003; revised in 2006.


The collection is organized into five series: Jefferson and Washington Colleges' records; Correspondence to and from Andrew Wylie; Sermons, lectures, and writings; Bills and receipts; and Biographical records about Andrew Wylie.

Online content



This collection is open for research.

Advance notice is required.


Collection is in the public domain. For more information, please contact the Indiana University Archives staff.


[Item], Andrew Wylie papers, Collection C1, Indiana University Archives, Bloomington.

Indiana University Bloomington
Herman B Wells Library E460
1320 East Tenth Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47405-7000, United States
Indiana University Bloomington