Yale College

City: New Haven

County: New Haven

State: Connecticut

Yale had its origins in 1701 when a group of Congregational ministers in Connecticut convinced the General Court of Connecticut to pass "An Act for Liberty to Erect a Collegiate School," to train young men in the arts and sciences and prepare them for careers in the church and civil state. Shortly thereafter, a group of ministers, each with books from their libraries, met to create and endow the institution. Classes were initially held in Killingworth (Clinton), moved to Saybrook in 1707, and moved again in 1716 to New Haven. In 1718, Elihu Yale, a New England native and retired officer of the East India Company living in London, gave the institution a large bequest of goods and books, and the trustees named the college in his honor. Yale remained committed to the old classical curriculum until the nineteenth century, when it began to reduce emphasis on the classics and give more attention to instruction in mathematics, chemistry, physics, history, economics, and other fields. Schools of medicine (1810), divinity (1822), law (1824), graduate studies (1847), and the Sheffield Scientific School (1858) were added as the college moved away from the English collegiate model to the university model found in German and other European states. The population slowing grew from less than 200 in 1800 to about 500 in 1860.

George D. Vaill, "Yale University," Dictionary of American History rev. ed. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1976), 7:350-51; George W. Pierson, Yale: A Short History(New Haven, CT: Yale University, 1976), 9, 10, 11, 35, 59.