WORKING PAPER WILLIAM R. CARAHER © 2010 DO NOT CITE WITHOUT AUTHOR’S PERMISSION
history occurred within departments and even within the individual’s appointed to particular positions. In this regard, Woodworth represents a kind of missing link between waning days of amateur history and the professionalization of the discipline which was marked locally by OrinG. Libby’s arrival on campus.My paper today will examine how Woodworth’s position within the university shiftedover the course of his career in response to the changing goals of the University changed and thediscipline of history across the North Great Plains.From an institutional standpoint, Woodworth’s career path was not terribly unusual for ana 19
c. academic. Born in 1830, he grew up farming in rural Vermont and graduated fromDartmouth in 1854 at the age of 24.
Upon graduation he continued to farm while serving as the principal of several New England boarding schools. By 1861, he had earned a degree HartfordTheological Seminary and preached in Connecticut and New Hampshire. Like many Dartmouth boys from farming backgrounds, Woodworth eventually left New England first to try his luck inthe west: first as the pastor in Congregational churches in Charles City and Decorah, Iowa for and then as a farmer near Mt. Vernon in what is now South Dakota in the early 1880s.
In 1885he was hired by the University of North Dakota, an institution that was scarcely a year old, asProfessor of Mathematics, Physics, and Astronomy perhaps owing to his acquaintance with amember of the University of North Dakota’s Board of Regents, F. R. Fulton, whom he had cometo know in Iowa.
His appointment in this capacity may appear to be an odd beginning for a man whowould become the inaugural Professor of History at the University, but it reflects thetransformative era of higher education from which the University emerges. Woodworth washired by two of the founding fathers of UND, Henry Montgomery and Webster Merrifield, whohad emerged from the tumultuous first years of the University as responsible for both preparingthe curriculum and hiring sufficient faculty to teach it. Merrifield had graduated from YaleCollege in 1878 during Noah Porter’s term as College President and shared Porter’s strong ideasabout the maintenance of a conservative curriculum emphasizing Latin, Greek, and moraleducation.
Merrifield’s background also fit well with both the Canadian educatedMontgomery and a faction of the Board of Regents. The Regents James Twamley, William T.