Founded in 1851, the University of Minnesota was forced to close a few years later, hit hard by the financial panic of 1857 and saddled with debt after constructing its first building.
It reopened in 1867, after passage of the Land Grant Agricultural College Act, which was signed into law by President Lincoln in 1862.
That bit of history and much more related to the University’s role as a land grant institution were discussed Oct. 5 by University archivists Erik Moore and Erin George at “First Fridays.” The monthly event, held at Elmer L. Andersen Library, highlights exhibits and special collections at the University of Minnesota Libraries.
The topic that Moore and George discussed is also part of a current exhibit, “For the Common Good,” which is on display at the Andersen Library’s Atrium Gallery through Nov. 30.
Also called the Morrill Act, the Land Grant legislation set aside public lands, the sale of which were used to fund public colleges to “promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes.”
The bill provided much needed financial support for the University of Minnesota, then a fledgling and struggling institution.
The exhibit runs through Nov. 30. For more information, contact the University of Minnesota Archives at 612-624-0562.