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Ezra Brainerd, 1885-1908

Identifier: A2.I

Scope and Contents

Subjects, activities and documents included in Brainerd's correspondence include: the expansion of the Middlebury campus and specifically correspondence with archivtects and trustees for the building of Starr Library and Warner Science Hall, supporting co-education at Middlebury by establishing Battell Hall and anticipating the building of a dedicated facility on land allocated for the Women's campus, the Centennial Celebration and various arrnagements for speakers and awards of honorary degrees, presidential reports to the trustees, and many student petitions covering athletics, holidays, and academic and faculty grievances.


  • 1885-1908

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research without restriction.

Biographical / Historical

Ezra Brainerd was born in St. Albans, Vermont in 1844. He attended the local schools before attending Middlebury College as an undergraduate. He graduated with highest honors in 1864 and was appointed a tutor for two years. In 1868 he graduated from Andover Theological Seminary and then returned to Middlebury as a professor of rhetoric and English (1868-1880) and physics and applied mathematics (1880-1886). He was president pro tempore after Cyrus Hamlin’s resignation when he was named president of the college.

Ezra Brainerd served as Middlebury’s eighth president from 1886 to 1908. He was young, popular, and well-loved by students and faculty alike. Brainerd continued his studies and publishing after becoming president, taking a special interest in geology and botany. He increased the endowment by $500,000 and built Starr Library and Warner Science Building, in addition to renovating the chapel and Painter and Starr halls. He worked closely with Joseph Battell and the college prospered greatly under his leadership.

Brainerd resigned in 1907 over the realization he had become too old and was not the enthusiastic president he once was. He died in 1924.

Source: David Haward. The College on the Hill: A Browser's History for the Bicentennial, Middlebury College, 1800-2000. Middlebury, VT: Middlebury College, 1999. Print.


1.0 Linear Feet (2 document boxes)

Language of Materials


Repository Details

Part of the Middlebury College Special Collections & Archives Repository

Middlebury College
Davis Family Library
110 Storrs Avenue
Middlebury Vermont 05753 United States