Select Page


RG3166.AM:  Fairfield College (Fairfield, Neb.)

Records:  1884-1896

Fairfield, Clay County, Neb.:  Religious college

Size:  0.5 cu.ft.; 1 box


Fairfield Normal and Collegiate Institute was affiliated with the Christian Church of Fairfield, Nebraska, and originally used the church building for classroom space. A committee of three men, O.C. Hubbel, R.C. Barrow, and W.T. Newcomb, first set forth plans for the institute in 1883. In April of 1884, $17,000 dollars were raised for the benefit of Fairfield Normal and Collegiate Institute, and the institution opened its doors for the fall term of 1884. On the board of trustees were: J.P. Nixon, president; W.T. Newcomb, financial agent and secretary; Ira Titus, treasurer; J.T. Nelson, R.C. Barrow, N.B. Alley, C. Rockhill, S.B. Montgomery, and Cleveland Eller. The faculty consisted of C.W. Hemry, O.C. Hubbel, Mrs. Alice Hemry, A.M. Chamberlain, G.D. Prentice, J.E. Spatz, Mrs. Patty N. Sheets, and J.W. Elliot, who together taught three main courses of study; Classical, Biblical, and normal (teacher’s training). Professor Hemry was president of the faculty, but because of discord with the faculty, Hemry resigned after two years of service, and was replaced by W.P. Aylesworth, a man of considerable reputation as a biblical scholar and preacher.

In 1886, a new building was erected to house all the college at a cost of approximately $12,000. After two years of service, Mr. Aylesworth also left the institution to go to Cotner College at Bethany, and Professor Hubbel was called upon to serve as acting president until Thomas Fowler joined Fairfield in the capacity of president. Fowler also served two years, and relinquished his post to Professor Hubbel, who again became acting president.

Even though the college had a 365-acre tract from which to draw funds for operation, it approached its second decade with financial troubles, and did not sell enough of the land to pay off its $10,500 debt. By 1892 the institution’s financial health was critical, and in the early 1890s, it began to feel the competition from Cotner College. The years 1893-1896 brought crop failures and financial depression, which would almost end the college, but for a $10,000 dollar loan from the Nebraska Loan and Trust Company, which mortgaged the land and buildings owned by the college. Fairfield College failed to make good on the loan, and it was foreclosed in 1899, ending the institution’s fourteen year existence.

For further information see Leonard Moomaw’s, A History of Cotner University.


This collection consists of one box of Fairfield College records dating from 1884-1896. The majority of the collection relates to various literary societies at Fairfield College including the Mathezetian Literary Society and the Junior Literary and Debating Society. Also included are some general Fairfield College materials including catalogues, announcements, and event programs.


Box 1


  1. Mathezetian Literary Society, constitution and bylaws, n.d.

  2. Mathezetian Literary Society, secretary’s book (including minutes), 1887-1895

  3. Mathezetian Literary Society, minute book, 1891-1892

  4. Junior Literary and Debating Society, secretary’s book, 1885-1891

  5. Catalogues, 1884-1890

  6. Announcements and programs, 1885-1896

  7. Commencement orations, 1880s-1890s



Clay County (Neb.) — History

Colleges and universities — Nebraska

Debating societies

Education — Nebraska — History

Fairfield (Neb.) — History

Fairfield College (Fairfield, Neb.)

Fairfield Normal & Collegiate Institute (Fairfield, Neb.)

Mathezetian Literary Society


Revised 12-06-2007   TMM