Hartwick Seminary, the first Lutheran Seminary in America, was founded in September 1797. Dr. John Christopher Kunze was named director and taught theology at his home in New York City, Rev. Anthony Braun taught sciences and languages at Albany, and Rev. John Frederick Ernst taught elementary school on the Hartwick Patent.The first seminary building was established on the Hartwick Patent in 1815, and Rev. Ernest Lewis Hazelius became the first principal. The seminary offered an academy and a theological department. In 1816 it was incorporated with 12 trustees appointed, the majority of whom were to be Lutheran clergymen. During the first 20 years the school averaged between 60 and 70 students. The enrollment dropped nearly in half in the late 1830's and 1840's. Women were admitted for the first time in 1851 bringing the enrollment to 89 and in the 1880's it was over 100. In 1888 the Classical Department introduced the Freshman year of a Collegiate Course and in 1927 it expanded to a 4-year college and was moved to Oneonta, New York. The Theological Department took the name Hartwick Seminary when it moved to Brooklyn, New York in 1930. The Seminary closed in the spring of 1940 and consolidated with Hartwick College in 1947. The Academy remained on the original location until 1934 when classes ceased.
Scope of Collection
The documents in this record group span the years 1739 through 1940. The records were not received in a specific order and many were accessioned at different times. Thus, they have been arranged to best reflect the organization and history of the seminary. They are divided into eleven series: Dudde Collection, HC Collection, Day Collection, Yale Collection, Board of Trustees, Course Records, Societies, Publications, Memorabilia, Hartwick Academy, Photographs, Maps, Graphics. The first four series contain related letters and land deeds during John Christopher Hartwick's years in America and the establishment of the institution after his death, with the bulk of the material dating between 1796 and 1878. The remaining series document life at the seminary.