Southeastern Section–55th Annual Meeting (23–24 March 2006)

Paper No. 9
Presentation Time: 11:00 AM


CORGAN, James X., DEPARTMENT OF GEOSCIENCES, AUSTIN PEAY STATE Univ, Woodstock, Trenton, KY 42286 and STEARNS, Richard G., Vanderbilt Univ, 5717 Stevenson Ctr, Nashville, TN 37235,

American universities of the 1600s were created to train clergy. Later, this mission pervaded schools at all levels. In the 19th century evangelical societies funded schools that offered curricula they preferred. By the 1830s one society directly supported 10% of all college students in the United States, many secondary students, and schools at all levels. Schools were theocratic. From publication of the first geology textbook in 1816 through the last early text, published in 1851, religion was discussed in most geology texts. Initially, religion was not emphasized. In the 1830s Benjamin Silliman at Yale and his associates intensified religiosity. Their work was widely accepted. The most successful texts had the most religion. By the 1840s a few new texts deemphsized religion or omitted it. And, in this era religious texts differed from each other strongly in the interpretation of things such as the Days of Creation and the Noachian Flood. College texts were slightly more liberal but the best selling secondary text, by John Lee Comstock, insisted that the six days of creation lasted for 144 hours. In 1863, changes in the publishing industry and entry of a new text into the book market launched a new era.