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Lebanon Normal School
Western Star 24 Jul 1913 contributed by Chuck Griffen of the Warren County Genealogical Society
Transcription contributed by Arne H Trelvik on 19 May 2004
The Western Star, 24 July 1913
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National Normal University
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#79. What are the leading facts in the history of the Lebanon Normal school?

The first public normal school in the United States was opened in Massachusetts in 1839 and about the same time a Teachers’ Seminary was begun at Kirtland, Lake County, Ohio. The Southwestern State Normal School began its first session in the Lebanon Academy building Nov. 24, 1855, with 95 pupils. Alfred Holbrook was the first principal. The principal and his wife received as compensation for their first year’s services $320. At the close of the first year the school passed into the control of Mr. Holbrook who conducted it on a proprietary basis. Under his management the attendance rapidly increased and for some years it was the largest normal school in Ohio.

The total enrollment at various periods is given by the principal in a history of the school. In 1856, the second year, the enrollment was 256; in 1857, 335; in 1858, 360; in 1859, 375. The attendance fell off somewhat in the first years of the civil war, but in 1863, the enrolment was 472, and in 1864, 612. In 1870, the sixteenth year, the number was 930, and in 1881, the twenty sixth year, the enrolment probably reached its maximum and is given as 1850. In 1859, the tuition was raised from $8.33 per session of eleven weeks to $10.

The name of the school was changed several times. The word “State” was first dropt and the name was The Southwestern Normal School. In 1870 National Normal School was adopted and 1881 National Normal University. After the establishment of state normal schools in Ohio the word “Normal” was dropt and the name Lebanon University was adopted in 1907, but most of the former students retained fond recollections of the “Old Normal.”

The school met with financial difficulties and the attendance fell off. After being at its head forty two years President Holbrook resigned his position in 1897. The institution struggled along under various presidents for twenty years more. Its last commencement was held August 9, 1917, when the Lebanon University finally closed its doors.

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This page created 19 May 2004 and last updated 31 January, 2009
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