Wednesday, October 11, 2017
St. Bernadette’s Catholic School

“The History of Lawrence University”


Breakdown of those attending: 65 or over – 48; Under 65 - 23


Tom Sutter, Gwen Sargeant, Laura Leimer, Mark Moderson , John Marx, Brian Schneider, Christine Williams, Linda Muldoon, Jim Krueger and Diana Sandberg.

Upcoming Special Events

October 19 6 pm – Toast to Appleton History, AHS Wine, Beer and Cheese Event, Grand Meridian, Appleton

December 2 9-12:30 Our 15th AHS History Fair at the Appleton Downtown Winter Farm Market, City Center.

2017 Appleton History Speaker Series

January 11 Vulcan replica and early hydroelectricity – Tom Seidl
February 8 Appleton parades – Greg Otis
March 8 St. Joseph’s Church and School, 150 years – Jim Krueger
April12 NativeAmericans–PeterPeregrine
May 10 Appleton East High School – 50 years – Corey Otis
June14 LawrenceUniversity–ErinDix(CanceledPowerOutage)
July 12 Cloud Buick - Steve Cloud
August9 AtticTheater–BerrayBillington
September 13 Pioneer and Riverside Cemeteries – Gwen Sargeant
October11 LawrenceUniversity-ErinDix
November8 TheAppletonPictureShow--Bringyourownphotosforshowandtell!



•AHS Officers:

A.President - Thomas Sutter
B.Vice President - Gwen Sargeant
C.Secretary – James Richter
D.Treasurer – Laura Leimer

•AHS Board of Directors:

A. Terms through November 2017:

1. Mark Moderson
2. John Marx
3. Laura Leimer
4. Diana Sandberg

B. Terms through November 2018:

1. Tom Sutter
2. Christine Williams
3. James Richter

C. Terms through November 2019:

1.Linda Muldoon
2.Jim Krueger
3.Gwen Sargeant
4.Brian Schneider

Fund Raising Committee:

A. James Richter, Chair
B. Gwen Sargeant, Vice Chair
C. Laura Leimer, Treasurer
D. Linda Muldoon
E. Brian Schneider
F. David Buss
G. Jack Voight

Fund Raising SubCommittee-Promotions:

A. Mark Moderson, Chair
B. Jim Krueger, Vice Chair
C. Karen Moderson

Building and Grounds Committee:

A. John Marx, Chair
B. Gwen Sargeant, Vice Chair
C. Laura Leimer, Treasurer
D. James Krueger
E. Brian Schneider

Archives and Artifacts Preservation Committee:

A. Diana Sandberg, Co-Chair
B. Brian Schneider, Co-Char
C. James Richter, Secretary
D. Tom Sutter
E. Laura Leimer
F. David Buss
G. Christine Williams
H. Gwen Sargeant
I. Dave Kalz

Additional Committee Chairs are as follows:

A. Mark and Karen Moderson, Principal Organizers
B. Brian Schneider, Technical Resources
C. David Buss and Diana Sandberg, Research Specialists
D. Gwen Sargeant, Public Relations and Web Page
E. Christine Williams, Monthly Programs
F. Gwen Sargeant, Publications


President Tom Sutter called the meeting to order, welcomed all in attendance, and thanked them for their being there and for their support for the organization. He also thanked Gwen Sargeant for last month’s program on “The Pioneer and Riverside Cemeteries”.

Sutter reminded folks that tonight’s presentation will be Erin Dix from Lawrence University which originally was planned for June but the tornado interfered. Sutter also noted that the November meeting will be our annual meeting with the election of 4 board members.

Sutter noted that on October 21 a Barnes & Noble Book Fair will be held to benefit the Appleton Historical Society. AHS will receive a portion of total store sales that day.

*Thanks were given to the Post Crescent and the Bargain Bulletin for their continuing publicity for the Society.

*Asked all to renew their annual membership if they haven’t yet done so.

Sutter also recognized a $500.00 grant by AHS member Steve Smits to be used for the purchase of a touch screen monitor.

NOTE: The door prize was won by Ann Kneip Mewshaw who received two tickets to an Attic Theater performance this season.

Reports of Officers and Board Members:

*AHS Wine, Beer and Cheese Event Co-Chairs Mark Moderson and Jim Krueger gave a report on the upcoming fund raising event:

A Toast to Appleton History

The Appleton Historical Society is hosting a fundraising event on October 19, 2017 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM at the Grand Meridian to raise money to help fund Our New Appleton History Museum at 128 N. Durkee Street. We are asking community support for donations as well as an invitation to be part of this exciting event.

Our exciting event will feature Wine, Cheese and Beer tasting, along with delicious selections of Hors d’ oeuvres and tasty deserts for all that attend. A bucket raffle, door prizes, silent auction, and 50/50 raffle will be running throughout the evening. We hope you all will attend.

Tickets are $25.00 a person in advance, $30.00 at the door. Corporate tables with seating for eight are available for $250.00 and will feature your company name on the center of the table.

*Jim Richter, Co-Chairman, of the AHS History Fair reported that planning continues for our 15th History Fair, which will be held on December 2, 2017. He and Co-Chair Mark Moderson are arranging a wide variety of historical exhibits.


The focus of this event will be on “Christmas in Appleton-the First 100 Years”. We will have 16 to 18 tables with exhibits including displays on the Annual Christmas Parade, old Department Store Window Displays, classic Christmas Ornaments and decorations, and the special gifts that might have been received.

Richter asked the audience for pictures and items they may loan to AHS for the exhibits. He also urged all to attend.

PROGRAM: “The History of Lawrence University”


Speaker Background:

Erin Dix grew up in Waukesha and graduated from Lawrence in 2008. She has a master’s degree in library and information studies with a specialization in archives from UW-Madison. She has been the university archivist at Lawrence since 2010.

Prelude to the Program

President Sutter in period costume acted as Samuel Plantz, President of Lawrence University in 1917. He gave a speech as if he was speaking to a group of new students. He emphasized qualities that would make a great student. He also stressed to “Put first phase first”.

The Program

Erin Dix, University Archivist for Lawrence University, expressed her appreciation for being invited back to speak before the Appleton Historical Society. Just a few years ago she gave a program at a monthly AHS meeting on the detailed history of Lawrence University. Rather than due a chronology of LU again, she will focus on some unique things from their history and also the many changes that have occurred since her last visit.

She complimented Tom Sutter on his performance of Samuel Plantz. She said Plantz, who was LU President from 1894 to 1924, made many significant changes in the College which now is a university.


Lawrence made a commitment to preserve and maintain their history and archives. They did this to promote Lawrence University history, collect and provide access to unique research materials dating from the 1840’s to present.

She serves as the University Archivist. Their archives are open to the public weekday afternoons. They strive to maintain a high level of overview of L.U. history.

A significant portion of their archives are available electronically. This includes the majority of 100 years of their school newspaper.

L.U. doesn’t have a formal museum, but they do have a large collection of “Inventoried Artifacts”. These are preserved in a restricted space, which is temperature and humidity controlled.


Interest for a school of higher learning in the Fox Valley area began in the early 1840’s. Amos Adams Lawrence established the Lawrence Institute with its Charter on January 15, 1847.

According to the Fox Heritage, “A History of Wisconsin’s Fox Cities”, by Ellen Kort: A Methodist Minister, Reverend Eleazor Williams, represented a group of people interested in establishing a College in the Appleton area. Williams was deep in debt, so he went to Boston to borrow money from a wealthy easterner, Amos Lawrence. Williams put up 5,000 acres of land he owned near DePere as security. Amos Lawrence pledged $10,000 to purchase the land for the school and turned it over to his son, Amos Adams Lawrence, with instructions to select people of “good character” to settle there, after which he would build a school for them, a “college in the woods”.

Amos A. Lawrence, established the Lawrence Institute. .He was married to Sarah Appleton Lawrence. Lawrence University has that the City of Appleton was named for Sarah Appleton Lawrence.

The Lawrence Institute was founded as a Methodist institution. Classes started in 1849. L.U. proved to be one of the first Co-Ed colleges in the country.


The Conservatory of Music, a key component of their educational programs, was founded during the period of 1874 to 1894.

In 1908 the name was changed from Lawrence Institute to Lawrence College.

During the period of 1925 to 1937 Henry Merritt Wriston served as President of Lawrence. He was the author of The Nature of a Liberal College. He stressed Liberal Education as “The acquisition and refinement of physical, intellectual, emotional, ascetic and spiritual values.”

In 1945 a Freshman Studies Program was implemented where all Freshman students would study a common set of written, musical, and artistic works.

In 1964 Lawrence College consolidated with a women’s college, Milwaukee Downer. This resulted in the transfer of 44 students and 21 faculty members from Downer to Lawrence.

From the start the enduring features of Lawrence have always been a Liberal Arts focus and a small residential community. All the students have to live on campus the entire four years.

Enrollment has constantly grown with 600 students in 1910 to 1500 students in 2010.

The school has been predominantly a white institution, and the great majority of their student body is Caucasian. African American students date back to 1917 however. They also have had many American Indian students over the years. Currently they have 12% African American and 30% of color.

Lawrence owns many buildings and properties. Some were purchased and many were donated. Their Main Hall was dedicated in 1854. The Memorial Chapel was built in 1918. By 1932 they had many buildings including the Chapel. In the late 1920’s they bought land on Appleton’s south side. The property on East South River Street was where the Alexander Gym was built.

The Bjorklunden Lodge was deeded to Lawrence in 2013. All students have visits there during the school year. They call it their Northern Campus. The Lodge is outside of Baileys Harbor, Borders Lake.


It’s often been asked of them, “WHAT MAKES LAWRENCE A UNIVERSITY”.:

(1) It’s merger with Downer College.
(2) Liberal Arts Program.
(3) Having a full Conservatory.
(4)It’s relationship with the Institute of Paper Chemistry. Have collaborated with them since 1929.

Many of their students and the community as a whole have been interested in the Historic Victorian Home they just moved on campus. The building will serve as home for their Provost, the Dean of Faculty.

People often comment about their large International Student Body. The L.U. staff recruit all over the world. They have a Director of International Studies who supports

and guides them. There are several friendship families who help the Internationals acclimate.

For many years the school had a Preparatory Academy. This was in a time when High Schools weren’t very strong or readily attended.

The school used to have required chapel services. Overtime the relationship with the church changed. In 1989 the Affiliation ended.

For years, and even now, many people think the University was associated with the Underground Railroad. The school has done constant investigation of the matter and have found no evidence to support that.

It is interesting to note that the original plan and piece of land for Lawrence was in De Pere. Appleton was chosen because it was a much prettier site.

The school did have an Observatory which was built in 1891. (One of the images currently portrayed on the Picture Wall in the AHS Museum). Unfortunately the building was torn down in 1962 or 1963.

James L. Richter , AHS Secretary, 10/27/17

10-2017 Lawrence University - Erin Dix Denise Behreandt