One time while visiting my parents, I was given the autograph book of my great-grandmother, Margaret Rodman McGhee Bradshaw.   She was born 16 December 1869, in Oldham County, Kentucky.  She attended Eminence College, in Eminence, Kentucky, in 1886.  And, since I was named after her, I was given her autograph book, which she had while attending Eminence College.  There are many items written in the book.  One signature is the owner of the college, W. S. Giltner!

I have read various websites about the old Eminence College, and here are a few highlights:

  • Eminence College was located in Eminence, Henry County, Kentucky and began as a high school. In 1855 the citizens of Eminence organized a stock company to raise funds to build the high school, which opened in September 1857. The school soon became overextended, and in 1858 the facilities were sold to another stock company headed by the Rev. W.S. Giltner, a member of the Christian Church. As the major stockholder, Giltner became president of Eminence College. The college was one of the first coeducational schools in the state. Programs were offered in Latin, Greek, mathematics, chemistry, and physics. Lacking an endowment, Eminence College had to rely on the business acumen of its stockholders, particularly Giltner, for its survival. Under his leadership the school created a commercial department in 1880 and a normal school to train teachers in 1885. In spite of these advances, enrollment, which had seldom been greater than two hundred, began to decline. In 1893 Giltner retired. Unable to find an administrator of Giltner’s ability, the college soon fell into debt and closed in 1895.
  • As fine apparel fosters pride and engenders envy we earnestly request parents to provide for their children only plain substantial clothing. As the health cannot be too carefully guarded, thick shoes and woolen stockings must be furnished for winter. Boarders must not borrow or lend wearing apparel.
  • We earnestly request parents or guardians not to furnish their children or wards with ‘pocket money’. It engenders prodigality, and affords them the means of contracting vicious habits.
  • No young lady will be allowed to make any purchases without permission from the President.
  • All correspondence and letters will pass through the hands of the President. Boarders will not be allowed to correspond with anyone except members of their own family. Any pupil guilty of conducting a clandestine correspondence, or aiding another in it, will be promptly dismissed from the school.
  • As visiting interferes with study, distracts attention, and weakens discipline, none will be allowed unless expressly requested by parents or guardians.
  • The “Collegiate Male Department” had no such rules on their dress or behavior. But it wasn’t as if the school expected the young men to naturally behave. One solution they had to help with the male student’s behavior – “The young gentlemen can obtain good boarding in private homes at reasonable rates. The farmers living near the college will also take boarders. It doubtless promotes morality not to congregate young men in too large numbers under one roof.”

Below is a photo of the cover of the autograph book, and also a photo of the first page in the book.