Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Boys' Excelsior Lyceum, Excelsior , 1861-1862

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, December 2011

Summary Information
Title: Boys' Excelsior Lyceum, Excelsior
Creator: Boys' Excelsior Lyceum
Inclusive dates: 1861-1862
Extent: 1 volume
This book contains two editions of the Boys' Excelsior Lyceum's magazine Excelsior , containing essays and poetry by students in Cohoes, New York. Topics explored in the issues include morality, intemperance, and slavery. The volume also contains an insert of 30 pages, which seems to be another edition of the magazine.
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:

1993. M-2944.

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:

Boys' Excelsior Lyceum, Excelsior , William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Charles Francis Doyle was born c. 1843 in New York, and lived in Cohoes for his entire life. His father died before he turned 16, and in 1860 he worked as a clerk, though he later became a lawyer, marrying Celia A. Mills. He served as mayor of Cohoes between October 13, 1885, and April 13, 1886, and died in 1899. His son, Charles Francis Doyle, Jr. (1878-1902), received a bachelor's degree from Yale and a law degree from the Albany Academy; he died soon after entering the firm McLean & Doyle.

Elizabeth L. Giles, the daughter of Gilbert and Magdalen Giles, was born c. 1855, and lived in Cohoes, New York, where she participated in the Boys' Excelsior Lyceum literary society.

Collection Scope and Content Note

This book contains two editions of the Boys' Excelsior Lyceum's magazine Excelsior, containing essays and poetry by students in Cohoes, New York. The bound volume, third in a series, contains manuscript copies of two issues from the magazine's 4th volume, numbers 15 (March 26, 1861, pp.1-62) and 16 (April 9, 1861, pp.63-97), edited by Charles Francis Doyle and Lizzie L. Giles. Each begins with a lengthy essay addressed to the editor, reflecting an ongoing debate between "John Brown, Esq.," and "Dick" on the merits of slavery and temperance. Both authors utilized Biblical quotations while offering lengthy moral justifications for their positions. Additional essays address a range of topics such as war, gambling, and truth, and a number of poems reflect more lighthearted topics, such as ice skating and kissing. What appears to be a third edition of the magazine, dated May 15, 1862 (30 pp.), is inserted into the volume and tied together with red, white, and blue ribbons. Its topics are similar to those in the previous volume, though the debates on slavery and temperance are not addressed. One essay in this edition, attributed to "Alice," pertains to a visit to "the Washington Hospital" and a discussion with a convalescent soldier.

Subject Terms

    • Cohoes (N.Y.)--Social life and customs--19th century.
    • Ethics.
    • Slavery--United States.
    • Students--New York (State)
    • Student newspapers and periodicals.
    • Temperance--United States.
    • Doyle, Charles Francis, ca. 1843-1899.
    • Giles, Elizabeth L., b. ca. 1855.
    Genre Terms:
    • Essays.
    • Poems.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Volume   1  
    Boys' Excelsior Lyceum, Excelsior ,  March 26, 1861-May 15, 1862 [series]
    Additional Descriptive Data

    Obituary Record of Graduates of Yale University Deceased from June, 1900, to June, 1910. New Haven: The Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor Co., 1910.