UW Faculty and Staff Christian Fellowship

Tradition-19th Century

Banner image: Abraham Lincoln statue on Bascom Hill
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The 19th Century: Paul Chadbourne and John Bascom

Many of the faculty and administrators of UW-Madison had either formal or informal training in theology (Curti and Carstensen, p. 190), and thought deeply about integrating Christian faith and learning at a public university. Two well-known administrators at UW-Madison, Paul Chadbourne and John Bascom, exemplify this rich tradition.

For further reading...
* A list of past presidents/chancellors of UW-Madison can be found here [link]
* A readable history of this period is Merle Curti and Vernon Carstensen. The University of Wisconsin : A History , Volume 1. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 1949. The University of Wisconsin Digital Collections has digitized this book [link]
Paul Chadbourne. Photo courtesy of Williams College [link]

Paul Chadbourne

President from 1867-1870, Paul Chadbourne was an educator and legislator in New England before coming to the University of Wisconsin. He is the namesake of Chadbourne Residential College. In addition to being a generalist in the natural sciences, Chadbourne studied theology in his spare time. Prior to coming to the University of Wisconsin, Chadbourne gave lectures in Natural Theology at the Lowell Institute in Boston that were compiled into a textbook that went through many printings, and was used at Harvard and elsewhere at the time. For the 7th ed., see Lectures on Natural Theology (New York, Putnam & Sons, 1878), available through the Google Books project. [link]

John Bascom, circa 1875 (from the Wisconsin Electronic Reader)

John Bascom

One of UW-Madison’s well-known 19th century presidents, John Bascom served as President from 1874-1887. Bascom was a Christian philosopher, as well as the namesake of Bascom Hall. His many works include works on Christian Philosophy, Ethics, the Practical Christian Life, and many more. Bascom’s thinking, writing, and preaching have had a deep influence on the ongoing mission and vision of the University of Wisconsin over the 120 years since he served as president, and underscore the significant role Christian intellectuals have played at UW-Madison throughout its history.

Many of Bascom’s books are in the public domain, and available through the Google Books project. [

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