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Lyman Hall Correspondence

Identifier: UA309

  • Staff Only


This collection consists of the outgoing correspondence of Lyman Hall, President of the Georgia Institute of Technology from 1898-1905, from the first eight years of his presidency.


  • January 6, 1898 - December 31, 1903


General Physical Description note

(ten volumes)

Restrictions: Access


Restrictions: Use

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


4 Linear Feet

Scope and Contents

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.

Biography of Lyman Hall

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.


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

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.Volume 2 has been restricted due to preservation concerns.

Other Finding Aids

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


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

Related Materials

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).

General Physical Description note

(ten volumes)

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.


Inventory of the Lyman Hall Correspondence, 1896-1903
Sheldon Smith and Christine de Catanzaro
Copyright 2006.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, Library, Georgia Institute of Technology Repository

Georgia Institute of Technology
266 4th Street, NW
Atlanta 30332-0900 USA