Table of Contents
Collection Overview +/-
Collection Inventory +/-
box 1, folder 1: History of the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute (1897)
box 1, folder 2: History of the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute (undated)
box 1, folder 3: History of the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute (circa 1990)
box 1, folder 4: History excerpts
box 1, folder 5: Interview of John M. Coyner on Josiah Welch
Biographical Note/Historical Note +/-
John McCutcheon Coyner was born December 16, 1827 in Augusta County, Virginia. Coyner's parents were devout Presbyterians with abolitionist views, who moved from the South to Ohio in 1837. Coyner, who had been raised by abolitionists, championed antipolygamist views in later years, often comparing polygamy to slavery.
In 1852, Coyner was graduated from Hanover College in Indiana, where he majored in mathematics. In the fall of 1852, John M. Coyner and Henry S. Kritz became associate principals of the Waveland Academy (later renamed Waveland Collegiate Institute) in Montgomery County, Indiana, a feeder school for Hanover College. Recently graduated from college, Coyner and Kritz soon extended the reputation of the school. In 1860, Coyner became director of a collegiate institute in Lebanon, Indiana, serving there for the duration of the Civil War.
Over the years, Coyner was principal or superintendent at a variety of Indiana and Illinois public schools. In 1873, Hanover College awarded him an honorary Ph.D. in mathematics, in recognition of his contributions to education.
Coyner was a confident and assertive professional, but in personal life, he suffered bouts of depression and was advised by doctors to reduce his stress or suffer grave consequences. Following that advice, he resigned his educational administrative position, planning to live on his accumulated wealth. However, speculative property investments ruined his financial outlook with the advent of Black Friday and the Panic of 1873.
With health and financial problems, he turned to his Presbyterian roots to seek employment and accepted a position in 1874 as principal at the Lapwai school in the Nez Perce nation of northern Idaho. His mental and physical health improved in Idaho. In November, 1874 he wrote Josiah Welch, a Presbyterian minister in Salt Lake City, whom Coyner had met on his journey west. Coyner inquired about the status of a proposal to establish a Presbyterian academy in Salt Lake City. Welch said he had built a church and set aside the basement for use as a mission day school. Welch encouraged Coyner to head the new school beginning Fall, 1876. Coyner accepted, but pressed for a mid-year opening in April 1875 for a 10-week trial period. Welch agreed to this somewhat reluctantly. Coyner, his wife Mary, and daughter Emma left Lapwai in March, 1875, and after a perilous journey by stage and train through a snowstorm, arrived in Salt Lake City on April 2, 1875. Neither Coyner nor Welch's First Presbyterian Church had sufficient funds to properly open the new Presbyterian day school, but they managed to do so, never the less, calling it the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute. The institute opened with 27 students; that number grew to 63 within a few weeks, and to 150 students by the end of the first academic year (June, 1876). Mary Coyner worked with primary children (2-year course), Emma Coyner with intermediate level students (3-year course), and John Coyner with pre-collegiate students.
Over the next 10 years, enrollment at the Collegiate Institute increased to 245 students, and the Institute was considered a success. The Institute would continue to grow, adding more buildings and teachers, and eventually develop into Westminster College.
In April, 1885, Coyner resigned for health reasons; he and his wife left Salt Lake City for Pasadena, California. Mary Coyner died a few years later. John remarried and became a successful rancher, active in the community and church. John M. Coyner died at age 80 on May 17, 1908 in Hopkinsville, Kentucky at the home of his brother.
Content Description +/-
This collection consists of the writings of John M. Coyner, the first principal of the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute. Coyner was principal from 1875-1885. These writings include three copies of his "History of the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute", excerpts from other writings, and an interview he had given on Josiah Welch, an early Presbyterian missionary and initiator of the idea to establish the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute.
Because Coyner was intimately involved with the business of the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute for its first ten years, he felt compelled to write its history. "History of the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute" was written in December 1897. It provides an account of the Institute's first decade (April 12, 1875-May 5, 1885), including its founding, how Coyner was able not only to keep it open but to make it flourish. The first copy in the collection appears to be Coyner's original typed copy. The second is undated but appears to be another early version. The last copy is a recent copy (ca. 1990s). No editorial changes appear to have been made between the three versions.
The excerpts include information taken from Coyner's history, a copy of an unidentified Salt Lake Tribune article that was quoted in the history, a copy of a financial statement made by John M. Coyner on the Institute's 10th anniversary, 4 quotations by Coyner, Miss Edith Paul (one of the Insitute's earliest teachers), and 2 unidentified individuals. The final document is an undated written interview of John M. Coyner on the topic of Josiah Welch. The unknown interviewer's questions are numbered and written in ink while Coyner's responses are in pencil. It appears the questions were sent to Coyner to answer and return to the interviewer.
Collection Use +/-
Restrictions on Access:
Open to public research.
Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.
Twenty-four hours advance notice is encouraged.
Restrictions on Use:
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances.
Permission to publish material must be obtained from the director of the Giovale Library.
John McCutcheon Coyner Salt Lake Collegiate Institute Principal's writings, 1881-circa 1908, ACC-013, Giovale Library Archives, Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Administrative Information +/-
Arranged alphabetically by title, and thereunder numerical by copy number.
Processed August 2003 by Nicki Blair.
Coyner, John McCutcheon, 1827-1908
Collection materials are in English.
0.2 linear feet
Language of the Finding Aid:
Author of the Finding Aid:
Finding aid written by Patricia Lyn Scott; expanded with a biographical note written July 2011 by Sarah Shaw.
EAD Creation Date:
2011 July 11 by Sarah Shaw
Describing Archives : A Content Standard (DACS)
Related collections and photographs in Giovale Library Archives:
Salt Lake Collegiate Institute--Administration
Preparatory schools--Utah--Salt Lake City--History--Sources
Form or Genre Terms:
Coyner, John McCutcheon, 1827-1908--Archives
Salt Lake City (Utah)--History--Sources