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Chancellor Erastus O. Haven Papers

An inventory of his papers at the Syracuse University Archives

Finding aid created by: Cara Howe
Date: 2010


Erastus O. Haven

Bishop Erastus Otis Haven was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on November 1, 1820. Throughout his childhood, his family lived in not only Massachusetts but also Connecticut, New York, and Michigan.

Haven graduated from Wesleyan University in 1842, and he earned his D.D. from Union College in 1854 and an honorary LL.D. from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1863. He had his first teaching position after college when he opened a small school in Sudbury, Massachusetts. In 1846 Haven became principal of Amenia Seminary, New York, and two years later he entered the Methodist ministry in the New York conference. From 1853 to 1856, he taught at Michigan University. Haven then returned to Boston, where he was editor of the Zion’s Herald and served two terms in the state senate. In 1863 he became president of Michigan University, then after six years he became president of Northwestern University. Haven served as secretary of the board of education of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1872.

In 1874 Haven succeeded Alexander Winchell as Chancellor of Syracuse University. The financial burdens of the University left Haven little room to improve it organizationally, but he did succeed in weathering a financial storm that faced many Methodist institutes of higher learning at the time. Haven did direct his energies to strengthening both the curriculum and the University’s relationship to the city of Syracuse.

In 1880 Haven left Syracuse University, and he was elected and ordained a bishop. Haven died in Salem, Oregon, in 1881. He was widely mourned by colleagues, former students, and his wife and surviving children.

Scope and Content Note

Spanning the years 1873 to 1891, the Haven Papers is comprised of his publications and correspondence. Included are Haven’s autobiography, which was pieced together from his journals, correspondence, writings, orations, and sermons and edited into one volume by Reverend C.C. Stratton, and an essay on the reasons young men should attend college. There are three letters as well, to Reverend Mansfield French, Professor Franklin B. Marsh and Marne Whitford (secretary of the Esthetic Society of the College of Fine Arts at Syracuse University).


Access Restrictions:

Please note that the collection is housed off-site, and advance notice is required to allow time to have the materials brought to the Reading Room on campus.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from University Archives,
Special Collections Research Center
Syracuse University Libraries and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

Haven is featured on the Archives' SU History pages: "Chancellors of Syracuse University."

Selected Search Terms


Haven, E.O. (Erastus Otis), 1820-1881.
Stratton, C.C. (Charles Carroll), 1833-1910.
Syracuse University -- Chancellors.
Syracuse University.


Methodist Church (U.S.)
Syracuse (N.Y.) -- History.
College teachers.
Higher education.

Types of Material

Autobiographies (literary works)

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Erastus O. Haven Papers,
University Archives,
Special Collections Research Center
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

The two copies of the autobiography were donated to the Archives by Haven's great grandson, Quentin E. Armstrong, in 2007. There is no other information concerning when or by whom the remainder of the collection was donated to the Archives.


The subject files are arranged alphabetically.

Table of Contents