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Chancellor Charles N. Sims Collection

An inventory of his collection at the Syracuse University Archives


Creator: Sims, C.N., (Charles N.), 1835-1908.
Title: Charles N. Sims Collection
Dates: 1843-1956
Size: 14 boxes (8.8 linear feet)
Abstract: The Charles N. Sims Collection contains personal and professional correspondence, photographs, sermons, lectures and other items relating to Sims' time as Chancellor of Syracuse University.
Language: English
Repository: University Archives,
Special Collections Research Center
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Ave., Suite 600
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010


Charles N. Sims

Charles N. Sims was born in Fairfield, Indiana on 18th May 1835, where he completed his studies in the district school. He then spent his winters teaching and his summers working on the farm. In 1858 he married Eliza Foster, with whom he had four children: Mary Dumont, M. Estella, Charles G. (died aged 6) and Eliza N. (also known as Lida Newman Sims).

Sims graduated from Indiana Ashbury University in 1859 and received an honorary A.M. from Ohio Wesleyan in 1860. That year he became president of Valparaiso Male and Female College, holding the position for two years before resigning to take on pastoral work. In 1861 he received an A.M. from Indiana Ashbury University, and the next year he began work as a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1871, Indiana Ashbury University conferred the degree of Doctor of Divinity upon Sims, and in 1882, the same institution awarded him an honorary LL.D.

Sims had a history as an educator, administrator, and minister. He served as pastor in churches in Maryland, Indiana, and New Jersey before settling at the Summerfield Methodist Church of Brooklyn. It was here that he received the offer to hold the chancellorship at Syracuse University.

Sims arrived on campus in April 1881, and once in Syracuse he began teaching classes in English and often preached at different churches throughout the city as well as gave weekly chapel talks on campus. He was inaugurated as Chancellor on June 28, 1881, the day before the University celebrated its tenth annual commencement. Sims set about defining clear authority and purpose and establishing a presence for the Chancellor in all aspects of University life. Most importantly, he was willing to take on the role of builder and felt that if the University could not pay off its deficits and begin the process of establishing an actual endowment, then its future was not promising. During his tenure, the University Charter was amended to include clauses for the establishment of the University Senate, a reorganization of the Board of Trustees, the creation of a separate fund for endowments, and the incorporation of the Medical College into the University. Sims also established a building program, which saw its first construction finished with the completion of the Holden Observatory.

Sims retired from Syracuse University in 1893. He moved back to Indianapolis but returned to Syracuse in 1898 as the minister of the First Methodist Church. In 1903 he was made a trustee of the University. After a few years he retired once again and moved to his old home in Indiana where he died on March 27, 1908.

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Scope and Content Note

The Charles N. Sims Collection spans the years 1843 to 1956 and covers most of Sims’ adult life, including his term as Chancellor at Syracuse University. Included are almost twenty years of writings, notably sermons, addresses, and many lectures given at the University and other institutions.

The collection is split into seven series:

The Correspondence series is split between correspondence to and from Charles N. Sims and correspondence among Sims family members. Notable correspondents are John D, Archbold and James Roscoe Day.

The Lectures series spans Sims' career from 1854 to 1905 and cover a variety of subjects.

The Methodist Episcopal Church Publications series features publications from several different states.

The Photographs and Portraits series includes images of the Sims family and their homestead as well as several unidentified portraits and photographs from Sims' travels.

The Sermons series spans Sims' career with material from 1858 to 1900.

The Subject Files series contains documents spanning Sims' life including certificates, diplomas, journals, his will, travel wallet, and university catalogs. Items of note include Sims' passport, the flag of the Sons of the Revolution used to cover Sims' coffin in 1908, and a silver cup awarded to his father in 1854. There are also several items pertaining to Sims' daughter Mary Dumont and her husband George Parker.

The Syracuse University series contains documents relating to the Board of Trustees of the University and finances of the University while Sims was Chancellor.

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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.

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Related Material

The Archives holds clippings and portrait files on Charles N. Sims and George A. Parker and a clippings file for Mary Sims Parker.

Sims is featured on the Archives' SU History page, "Chancellors of Syracuse University."

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Selected Search Terms


Archbold, John D. (John Dustin), 1848-1916.
Day, James Roscoe, 1845-1923.
Sims, C.N., (Charles N.), 1835-1908.
Indiana Ashbury University (Greencastle, Ind.)
Syracuse University -- Buildngs.
Syracuse University -- Chancellors.
Syracuse University -- Trustees.
Syracuse University.


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

Types of material


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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Charles N. Sims Collection,
University Archives,
Special Collections Research Center
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

The bulk of the collection was donated to the Archives by Mrs. George Sims Parker and Mrs. C. F. Potter in 1962 and then added to by the former in 1967 and 1968. A photograph of John Sims (along with his silver cup) was donated to the Archives by Hyman and Dolores Share in 1996.

Processing Information

The paper materials have been placed in acid-free folders. The photographs and portraits have been placed in mylar sleeves.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: Cara Howe
Date: 2010
Revision history: Revised and converted to EAD by Erin Lee, 2012; revised by Meg Mason, 2015

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Folders are arranged alphabetically and chronologically within each series.

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Charles N. Sims
Box 1 Archbold, John D. 1892-1893, 1897
Box 1 Arnold, Ebenezer undated
Box 1 Burford, Ella 1900
Box 1 Carey, H.G. 1892-1893
Box 1 Clark, J. Scott 1892
Box 1 Comfort, George Fisk 1904
Box 1 Day, James R. 1892-1893, 1906
Box 1 The Evangelical Alliance for the United States of America 1896
Box 1 General 1855-1897
Box 1 General 1898-1907
Box 1 General 1908-1927
Box 1 General undated
Box 1 Gunn, Arthur 1891
Box 1 Officers of University Presidencies and Pastorates 1875, 1883, 1885
Box 1 Parker, Eunice Bell 1900
Box 1 Parker, George A. 1889-1890
Box 1 Parker, Mary Dumont 1875-1876, 1878, 1893, 1895, 1898, 1901
Box 1 Root, Francis H. 1892
Box 1 Sims, Eliza A. 1859-1902
Box 1 Sims, Irene 1859, 1876-1877, 1884
Box 1 Sims, Lida Newman 1875
Box 1 Woodford, Stewart 1893, 1897
Box 1 Bryan, R. to sister 1859-1864
Box 1 Leonard Ficklen & Co. to Sims, Eliza A. 1924, 1927
Box 1 Letters of Condolence upon Sims’ death 1908
Box 2 Parker, Eunice Bell and Parker, Mary Dumont 1901, undated
Box 2 Parker, George A. to Family 1878-1881, 1900-1901, undated
Box 2 Parker, George A. to Parker, Eunice Bell 1892, 1908
Box 2 Parker, George A. to Parker, Mary Dumont 1892, 1900-1901
Box 2 Parker, George Sims to Sims, Eliza A. 1914
Box 2 Parker, George Sims to Parker, Mary Dumont 1901
Box 2 Parker, Mary Dumont to Family 1889, undated
Box 2 Parker, Mary Dumont and Sims, Eliza A. 1886, 1889, 1893, 1898, 1907-1910, 1917, 1920, undated
Box 2 Russell, Alexander to Parker, Mary Dumont 1939
Box 2 Sims, Eliza A. and Family 1921, undated
Box 2 Sims, Eliza A. and Foster, J.B. and Foster, R.J. 1860-1864, undated
Box 2 Sims, M. Estella to Sims, Eliza A. 1904, 1914
Box 2 Sims, Frieda and Parker, Mary Dumont 1889, undated
Box 2 Sims, Frieda to Sims, Eliza A. 1917, undated
Box 2 Sims, Lida Newman to Sims, Eliza A. 1909, 1914, 1918, undated
Box 2 1854-1858, 1864, 1866
Box 2 1873-1874, 1885, 1893, 1898-1899, 1905
Box 3 Undated (7 folders)
Box 3 Schedule undated
Methodist Episcopal Church Publications
Box 4 Baltimore, Maryland 1873
Box 4 Brooklyn, New York 1877-1878
Box 4 Indianapolis, Indiana 1892, 1905, 1908, 1921, undated
Box 4 National 1859, 1873, 1904, 1908, 1917, undated
Box 4 Syracuse, New York 1880, 1903-1904, 1907, 1909, 1914, 1917, 1923-1924, undated
Photographs and Portraits
Box 4 Family 1887, 1889, 1914, 1920, 1938, undated
Box 4 France and Italy 1933, undated
Box 13 Lithograph of Francis H. Root undated
Box 4 Sims Homestead, Fairfield, Indiana 1843, undated
Box 4 Unidentified undated - portraits and oudoor lecture event
Box 13 Unidentified group of men undated
Box 13 Unidentified group of men and women undated
Box 4 Unidentified travel undated
Box 4 1858-1866 (bound)
Box 4 1862-1866 (bound)
Box 5 1866-1873 (bound)
Box 5 1868 (bound)
Box 5 1870 (bound)
Box 5 1870-1872 (bound)
Box 5 1872-1873 (bound)
Box 5 1873-1876 (bound)
Box 6 1876-1877 (bound)
Box 6 1877-1878 (bound)
Box 6 1879-1894, 1899-1900 (bound)
Box 6 1881
Box 6 1893
Box 6 1894
Box 6 1895 (2 folders)
Box 7 1896
Box 7 1897 (2 folders)
Box 7 1898 (2 folders)
Box 8 Undated (4 folders)
Subject Files
Box 8 “A Chapter in the History of Syracuse University”, dictated by Chancellor Sims to his secretary Mrs. M.K. Phillips 1870-1893
Box 9 Address Book 1893
Box 9 Addresses 1887, 1889, 1897-1899
Box 13 Bachelor’s Degree Diploma, Indiana Ashbury University 1859
Box 9 Baldwin, S.A. (1946). The Story of the American Guild of Organists. New York: The H.W. Gray Co.
Box 9 Bills from European trip 1875
Box 9 Biographical Information 1944
Box 13 Certificate of Membership in the Philosophy Society of Indiana Ashbury University 1859
Box 13 Certificate of Membership in the Sons of the Revolution Society 1889
Box 13 Certificate of Purchase of a Perpetual Scholar of Indiana Ashbury University 1867 (2 certificates)
Box 9 Certificates 1859, 1861
Box 9 Composition Book, Mary Dumont Parker 1875-1876
Box 9 Constitution of the State of Washington 1889
Box 9 Deeds 1879-1881
Box 13 Doctor of Divinity Diploma, Indiana Ashbury University 1871
Box 13 Doctor of Laws Diploma, Indiana Ashbury University 1882
Box 13 Doctor of Theology Diploma, Indiana Ashbury University 1870
Box 9 Donations and Library Funds Record 1881-1889
Box 9 Dr. Sims’ Resignation from the Hospital Committee, Indiana 1906
Box 13 Flag from the Sons of Revolution 1908
Box 9 Indiana Ashbury University Catalogue 1858-1859
Box 9 Invitations 1879, 1889, undated
Box 9 Journal 1856
Box 10 Journal 1859
Box 10 Last Will and Testament of C.N. Sims 1903
Box 13 Master of Liberal Arts Diploma, Ohio Wesleyan University 1860
Box 13 Memorial to Dr. Sims by the Board of the Meridian St. Church 1908
Box 10 Music Programs 1856-1896
Box 10 Music Programs 1897-1917, 1923-1924, 1933, 1939, 1956, undated
Box 10 Newspaper Clippings 1890, 1895
Box 10 Notes 1889-1890
Box 10 Obituaries, Tributes and Memorials 1908
Box 10 The Onondaga Treaty – Report of the Commission appointed by the State of New York 1883
Box 13 Passport of C.N. Sims 1896
Box 10 Pastoral Records 1896-1898, 1903-1904
Box 10 Personal Ephemera 1912, undated
Box 10 Poems undated
Box 11 Preamble and Resolutions adopted by the Officers and Teachers of Trinity M.E. Sabbath School 1872
Box 11 Quarterly conference of the Board of the Simpson M.E. Church, Brooklyn, NY 1879
Box 11 Quarterly report to the Board of the M.E. Hospital, IN 1905
Box 11 Record of the Family of Dr. Joseph Shepherd Allen undated
Box 11 Resolutions passed at the Syracuse District Conference (M.E. Church) upon Sims' retirement 1902
Box 11 Scrapbook, poetry and clippings 1874
Box 14 Scrapbook 1856-1908, undated
Box 11 Silver cup, "U.C.A.S. Awarded to John Sims for the best Acre of Wheat 1854
Box 12 Sims, C.N. (1893). Annals of the family of John Sims. New York:Hunt & Eaton.
Box 12 Sons of the Revolution, Proceedings of the General Society 1905
Box 12 Thorntown Academy, writings and history 1888, 1907, undated
Box 12 Travel Wallet undated
Box 12 Valpraiso College, Indiana, Catalogs 1859-1861, undated
Box 12 Watercolor ‘On the Wabash’ by J.B. Foster undated
Box 12 Writings 1852, 1855-1856, undated
Syracuse University
Box 12 Accounts, loose sheets of disbursements 1881-1885
Box 12 Account Book 1881-1882
Box 12 Annual Report to the Board of Trustees 1881-1893
Box 12 Financial Materials 1882, 1893, undated
Box 12 Financial Report to the Board of Trustees 1881-1893
Box 12 Plans for Sims Hall undated
Box 12 Semi-Annual Reports to the Board of Trustees 1883-1893
Box 12 Tributes of Appreciation by Syracuse University Trustees and Faculty 1895

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