An interesting 1877 letter discussing the conflicting teaching arrangements between Andover Theological Seminary departments and relying of the Board of Trustees to settle the dispute.
AUSTIN PHELPS (1820-90) HANDWRITTEN LETTER SIGNED, "Yours truly, Austin Phelps", 5 x 8, 6 pages, May 17, 1877, to Rev. Joshua Wellman, D.D., Andover, Mass.[on the Board of Trustees of Andover Theological Seminary, author, pastor of Eliot church in Newton, MA, and experienced some controversy when he defended Henry Ward Beecher at the Plymouth Church Council], by the American Congregational minister and educator, President of Andover Theological Seminary for 10 years (1869-79) whose writings became standard textbooks for Christian theological education and remain in print today. He is the author of Theory of Preaching (1881), The Still Hour, English Style in Public Discourse (1883). Andover Theological Seminary created the educational model used by almost all Protestant seminaries today and pioneered many training programs for prospective clergy, including field education. Its alumni and alumnae included important abolitionists educators, clergy, and theologians; In this letter Phelps is President of Andover and is updating Board member, Dr. Wellman, on some major educational issues at Andover. In part: "...makes it dishonorable for a professor to go to the Board with a petition affecting other than his own Department, without first conferring with his colleagues...it was clear that no debate could be had before the Board must act...Prof Churchill was absent but will support our petition if called on. The other three will oppose it...a special meeting must be called. Prof Park has asked for one...As to what plan can be proposed in place of the parallel course...a simple return to the old course...let the professors of Theology & homiletics be restored to their old position...let the Biblical professors exchange as proposed with Prof Smyth...What I want to be rid of is compulsory Biblical study in the Senior year. It repels men from coming here...I do not mean by that to threaten - that's not my mood...but my health, though it is improved greatly, would not stand the strain...The change I ask for is a physical necessity to me...I recognize their right to prescribe my duties...if the Board...would see that what Prof Park & I ask for is not unreasonable...." In fine condition, with some mice chewing damage to the edges but with very little loss of the writing, minor age toning and the usual mailing folds.