The Centennial History of Tufts College, 1952

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Generous Donors of the Early Days

Generous Donors of the Early Days


Once the decision had been made to build the new college the plan won wide financial


support. The wealthy and aristocratic neighbors of the college in the then residential Boston suburb of Charlestown xvere especially generous in their gifts. John Harvard, for whom Harvard University is named, had also been a resident of Charlestown. The
colleges besides Harvard and Tufts that have been named for residents of Charlestown, "the mother of colleges," are Carleton in Minnesota, Colby in Maine, and Doane in Nebraska.

Among the early benefactors of Tufts who lived in Charlestown may be mentioned Dr. William J. Walker, who gave generously to the college and left $250,000 to Tufts in 1865. In terms of gifts to education at the time this was a notable benefaction. Dr. Walker, one of the well-known surgeons and physicians of New England, was a graduate of Harvard in the class of 1810. After studying medicine with Governor John Brooks of Medford, he went abroad and continued his medical


education in France. Besides his generous gift to Tufts he also left bequests to Amherst and to other institutions. In the fine portrait of Dr. Walker at Tufts he holds in his hand
a copy of Sir Thomas Browne's , a book which many years later was also a favorite of Sir William Osler.

Other early donors to Tufts College were Richard Frothingham and his daughter Mary, later Mrs. Thomas A. Goddard. Mrs. Goddard's husband was one of the merchants and ship owners who made New England's commerce known all over the world. Mrs. Goddard gave Tufts its chapel and its first gymnasium to provide, as she said, for the spiritual and physical needs of the students. This first Tufts gymnasium, since its remodelling, is now Goddard Hall of the

Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. The Honorable Charles Robinson, Jr., Civil War mayor of Charlestown, was a benefactor and president of the Board of Trustees of the new college. His son, Sumner Robinson, '88, a Boston lawyer and also for many years a trustee of Tufts, contributed by his wisdom and his philanthropy in many ways to the college. Robinson Hall and large endowment funds have been gifts to Tufts from this family. Silvanus Packard of Boston by a bequest established in 1858 left a fund which now exceeds $280,000.