In the 1865-66 school year, Otterbein University (as we were then known) had six professors, one of whom doubled as the university librarian, and two arts instructors. This photograph shows the six professors. From left to right, they are:The Reverend Samuel B. Allen (A. M.), Professor of Greek language and literatureMrs. Lizzie Kumler Miller (M. A.), Principal of the Ladies' DepartmentThe Reverend Lewis Davis, President and Professor of Mental and Moral SciencesDr. Thomas McFadden (M. D.), Professor of Natural Science and LibrarianThe Reverend Henry A. Thompson (A. M.), Professor of MathematicsMr. John E. Guitner (A. M.), Professor of Latin language and literature
We do not know much about Rev. Allen. He was a graduate of Otterbein who for a time worked at Oberlin and after his tenure as professor at Otterbein became president of Westfield College.
Mrs. Miller was an educator, author and editor. She came from a prominent United Brethren family - her grandfather was a bishop and her father was one of the three men who opened the first mission in Sierra Leone, Africa. Mrs. Miller worked in the "common schools" before returning to her alma mater to teach and to serve as the Principal, or the Dean of Women. After leaving Otterbein she served as editor of the Women's Evangel, a United Brethren publication and as president of the Women's Missionary Association of the U. B. Church.
Rev. Davis is known as the Father of Otterbein College for his tireless efforts on behalf of the institution. He helped to raise the money that purchased the property that became Otterbein University, served on the Board of Trustees, served as Financial Agent (the chief fund raiser) and served twice as president. He shaped the curriculum that led to the first graduates of the college and led the institution through the difficult years of the Civil War.
Dr. McFadden was a local physician who volunteered his time to the university. Before he knew it the Board of Trustees named him professor of science. He left Otterbein briefly to serve as a battlefield surgeon during the Civil War. After the war he returned to the classroom and took up duties as university librarian. The older half of the science building was named McFadden Hall in honor of Dr. McFadden and his family.
Rev. Thompson, in addition to his teaching duties, also served as president of Otterbein University from 1872 until 1886. He was active in the political wing of the Anti-Saloon League, running once for Vice-President of the United States on the Prohibition ticket. His wife, Harriet E. Thompson, was the art instructor at Otterbein in 1866 and painted several portraits of Otterbein faculty that can be seen in the archives.
Prof. Guitner was another Otterbein graduate who chose to return to his alma mater to teach. He was also the first of many graduates to spend their lives in the service of the college and the Westerville community. He was well regarded in both church and educational circles in the state of Ohio. His home still stands on the south side of College Avenue (#75), but is incorrectly labeled as the "Davis-Guitner" house.
More information can be found in the Otterbein Room, located at the top of the stairs on the third floor of the Courtright Memorial Library.