Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Wilbur Fisk Collection, 1828-1849

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, March 2012

Summary Information
Title: Wilbur Fisk collection
Creator: Fisk, Wilbur, 1792-1839
Inclusive dates: 1828-1849
Bulk dates: 1829
Extent: 24 items
The Wilbur Fisk collection mostly contains letters that Fisk received from parents of current and prospective students while serving as president of the Wesleyan Academy in Wilbraham, Massachusetts.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1996. M-3212.2.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

Wilbur Fisk Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The collection is arranged chronologically.


Wilbur Fisk was born in Brattleboro, Vermont, on August 31, 1792, the son of Isaiah Fisk (1763-1859) and Hanna Bacon (1760-1845). He attended the University of Vermont before graduating from Brown University in 1815. Fisk became a licensed Methodist preacher on March 14, 1818, and worked with several churches in Vermont and Massachusetts. In 1822, he became an elder of the New England Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Between 1825 and 1831, he served as the first president of the Wesleyan Academy in Wilbraham, Massachusetts, and in 1831 he became the first president of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. He represented New England at three Methodist General Conferences, and was an active participant in the American Colonization Society, as well as an advocate for educational societies and temperance reform. He remained at Wesleyan University until his death on February 22, 1839.

Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection (24 items) contains 22 letters that Wilbur Fisk received while serving as president of the Wesleyan Academy in Wilbraham, Massachusetts, in the early 19th century. Most writers were parents of current and prospective students.

Many writers requested that Fisk personally oversee their child's academic, moral, and religious education; others mentioned boarding arrangements and textbooks; and some referred to tuition payments. Two letters pertain to donations to the school's collection of mineral samples, including a letter from William Prescott concerning his efforts to acquire minerals and offering his advice that the school should prioritize scientific education over the study of dead languages (June 8, 1829). Amos Binney, Jr., wrote that he intended to send a case of samples acquired from the area around Mount Vesuvius (June 16, 1823). The final item is an unsigned letter addressed to D. P. Robinson regarding a man who refused to pay a note owed to a Board of Trustees in Wilbraham, Massachusetts (August 20, 1849).

Subject Terms

    • Education--United States--History--19th century.
    • Minerals--Collection and preservation.
    • Wesleyan Academy (Wilbraham, Mass.)
    • Wilbraham (Mass.)
    • Women--Education--United States.
    Genre Terms:
    • Letters (correspondence)
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   29, Small Collections  
    Wilbur Fisk collection [series]
    Folders   3-5  
     April 15, 1828-August 20, 1849
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    The Clements Library has eight books written by Wilbur Fisk, as well as one to which he contributed. For more information, please search the library's online catalog, Mirlyn.

    The Weld-Grimké family papers contain a letter from Wilbur Fisk to Theodore Weld (December 21, 1832).


    Mills, Frederick V. "Fisk, Wilbur." American National Biography Online. Oxford University Press, 2000. DOI: 08-00479.

    Prentice, George. American Religious Leaders: Wilbur Fisk. Boston: Houghton Mifflin and Company, 1890.