1890

President Cyrus Baldwin

LEADERSHIP

President Cyrus Baldwin

The trustees had, from the outset, sought an individual qualified to become the College’s first president, but it was only in 1890, three years after incorporation, that Cyrus Grandison Baldwin was identified and elected to the position, which was first known as President of the Faculty, to distinguish it from the title of President of the Board of Trustees. Baldwin came to Pomona well equipped for the job and was greatly loved and admired, enjoying a loyal following on campus and in the extended community. During the seven years of his administration, enrollment grew from 116 (99 in the Preparatory Department, 17 collegians) to 250, of whom 80 were enrolled in the college course. It was under Baldwin that the decision was made to develop the campus in Claremont and that Holmes Hall was built.

Despite such evidence of success, the College was sorely lacking in resources, and Baldwin found himself overwhelmed by the difficulties of raising desperately needed funds. Although the endowment grew by $100,000 under his supervision, he resigned in 1897, exhausted and discouraged. It is a measure of the high regard in which Baldwin was held that the Class of 1898 commissioned a portrait of him as a gift to the College, presenting it with appreciation for “his keen sense of justice, his insight into human nature, his scholarly attainments, his broad humanity and his liberal culture,” adding “but more than that, we love the man.”

ACADEMICS

New Departments

New college-level academic departments were introduced in Greek, Latin, English (the English department was previously listed as part of the Preparatory Department), Mathematics and Natural Science.

CAMPUS

Baldwin House

Baldwin House was built in 1890 by Pomona’s first president, Cyrus Grandison Baldwin, and his wife, Ella, shortly after their arrival in Claremont. Baldwin House was later occupied by the Healy family and served as a boarding house and, later, a residence hall for Pomona students. Today, it houses faculty offices.

STUDENTS

No Upperclass Students

The College’s early difficulty in retaining college students was clear in 1890. Two years after classes began, the 1890 catalog lists 17 college students, all freshmen.

FINANCES

Canvass for Funds

During his first year as president, Cyrus Baldwin announced the “Canvass for Funds” and said that every donor was, in essence, a “stockholder.” The Holmes family donated $25,000 for a new hall, igniting a discussion about whether it should be built on Piedmont Mesa in the city of Pomona, the originally planned College site, or in Claremont. Baldwin supported the Claremont location, and the Board of Trustees agreed, by a vote of 7 to 4. The campaign raised $50,000 for the endowment.

FROM THE CATALOG

Athletics

“The officers of the Institution are heartily in favor of outdoor sports. Tennis and base ball and the Annual Field Day are very popular. … The young women emulate the young men upon the tennis courts; and the occasional tournaments are participated in by a large proportion of the students of both sexes. There have been but a very few days during the year when out door sports could not be indulged in, and thus the need of a gymnasium has been scarcely felt.”

ELSEWHERE

  • The Scottish-born Robert Gair invented the pre-cut cardboard box.
  • Idaho and Wyoming became the 43rd and 44th states.
  • On Dec. 29, the massacre near Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota took the lives of more than 150 men, women and children of the Lakota Sioux. Of the 25 U.S. soldiers killed, many were likely victims of “friendly fire.”