Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Andrew Johnson Museum & Library

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Institution Name: Tusculum College
Original/Historic Place Name: Tusculum Academy; Tusculum College; Old College
Location on Campus: Gilland St.
Date(s) of Construction:
1841original construction Doak, Samuel Witherspoon
Designer: probably Rev. Samuel Witherspoon Doak
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Greek revival, Regionalist/Vernacular (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, culture, education, history, religion
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: limestone
Walls: brick (hand-made)
Roof: wood shingle
ca. 18ca. 1841debating society
ca. 1841classrooms (Tusculum Academy)
ca. 1841library
ca. 1841chapel
ca. 1841other (Tusculum Academy, president's office)
ca. 1841-1887old main
1887-1994other (faculty housing)
1887-1994academic department building (science)
1887-1994residence hall (women)
1994-present (2006)museum (archives of the college including 1,400 volumes of the original college library)
ca. 2004-present (2006)academic department building (site of educational programs and exhibits of Dept of Museum Program and Studies of Tusculum College)

For the first twenty years and more of its existence, Tusculum College had survived with a two-room cabin and the two-story brick home of its founder as it sonly facilities. In 1841, as the College was growing and prospering, Samuel Witherspoon Doak undertook the construction of a new building. Tradition has it that the brick for this building was made by the Doak family's slaves, and that, in exchange for their labor, they were freed by President Doak. From the time of its construction in 1841 until 1887, Old College was the only college building. During this time it contained the president's office, chapel, library, and classrooms. From 1887 until 1994, it was used as the Science Building, women's dormitory, and faculty housing.

In 1994, the building was restored on the exterior to its 1870's appearance and the interior was upgraded with the appropriate mechanical and safety systems necessary to house the archives of the College, including the original College Library (1,400 volumes collected between 1800-1827).The building was re-named the President Andrew Johnson Museum & Library and so recognized by an act of Congress, in recognition of the fact that the former President had been on the board of Tusculum Academy and had long-standing connections with the College: he had donated $20.00 toward construction of the building, and had regularly walked four miles from Greeneville to participate in debates held on the second floor of the Old College. Johnson continued to be associated with the College throughout his life. His great-granddaughter graduated from Tusculum in 1927 and subsequently donated a variety of documents and artifacts (personal, family, and political) to the College, which are housed in the building and on exhibition.

The building is also the physical manifestation of "classical education" in this country. The name Tusculum comes from the location of a home of Cicero near Rome, Italy. The roots of civic republican traditions and classical education are embodied in the name and the historic curriculum. The College has historic connections to Princeton University (College of New Jersey) and the early founders of the republic through Rev. John Witherspoon and one of his students, Rev. Samuel Doak.


Fuhrmann, Joseph T. The Life and Times of Tusculum College. Kingsport, TN: Arcata Graphics, 1986.

Ragan, Allen. A History of Tusculum College, 1794-1944. Bristol, TN: King Printing, 1945.

Reiners, John R. Tusculum College Historic District. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1980.

Sexton, Donal J., Jr., and Myron J. Smith Jr. Glimpses of Tusculum College--A Pictorial History. Marceline, MO: Walsworth Publishing, 1994.

Tusculum College. Historic American Buildings Survey report and photographs. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, [n.d.].


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Last update: November 2006