Senatus Academicus minutes

This collection consists of the Senatus Academicus' bound handwritten minutes from 1799 to 1842. Inside the back cover of the Senatus Academicus volume are two documents that illustrate the precarious nature of the historical record. The oldest, a note from 1857, specifies that President Alonzo Church is to be given custody of the minutes of both the Trustees and the Senatus, with the exception of the current volume of Senatus minutes that will be kept in the Executive Offices of the state capitol, then in Milledgeville. Pasted over the 1857 note is an 1893 letter from Governor W. J. Northern to Augustus Longstreet Hull, the Secretary and Treasurer of the Board of Trustees, regretting that those later Senatus minutes cannot be found "amid the debris of books, pamphlets, etc., etc., that was brought over to the new state building. The collection also includes three separate transcriptions that date from the 1930s to the 1970s. There are no more comprehensive original sources for the early history of the University than the Minutes of the Board of Trustees and the Minutes of the Senatus Academicus, the two major governing boards of University of Georgia before the creation of the Board of Regents and the University System of Georgia. The 1785 Charter of the University of Georgia specified that there would be two bodies, the Board of Trustees and the Board of Visitors and that together they would meet as the Senatus Academicus. In his history of the University, Thomas Reed notes that the Board of Visitors was composed of state government officials to maintain a close tie with the state. In Reed's view, the Board of Trustees came to make most of the practical decisions regarding the institution, with the Visitors joining them in the Senatus to ratify certain decisions of the Trustees. By 1859, though, the Senatus was considered unnecessary and was dissolved. The minutes of the Senatus Academicus, 1799-1842 / transcribed by Leslye Seltzer is available in the Ga Room LD1971 .U55 1976.

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