Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History

Sauer, Anne

Branco, Jessica

Bennett, John

Crowley, Zachary


Dean, Oliver, 1783-1871


Oliver Dean (1783-1871) was the first president of the Board of Trustees of Tufts College and a great benefactor of the institution during its infancy.

Dean was born in South Franklin, Massachusetts, on February 18, 1783.After completing the equivalent of elementary school, Dean worked briefly in a lumber yard in Dedham and as a woodsman in Machias, Maine, where he also taught in a country school for one winter. He then returned to Massachusetts to study for two terms at Framingham Academy and completed his general education under the Reverend Doctor Crane, studying Greek.

Choosing medicine as his career, Dean studied under two prominent Boston doctors before receiving his medical degree from the Curators of the Massachusetts Medical Society in 1809.He then practiced medicine in Boston and Medway from 1812 to 1817, during which time he married Caroline Francoeur, who died in 1866.

From 1817 to 1826, Dean relinquished his medical practice, becoming the superintendent of the Medway Cotton Manufactory. He then moved on to industrial endeavors in Manchester, New Hampshire, taking charge of the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company. His development of the mill directly affected the surrounding community, encouraging the population's growth from a few hundred to several thousand people. He continued to serve as president of the corporation until his death almost fifty years later.

In 1834, Dean returned to Framingham, serving as presidentof the Framingham Bank and becoming active in community affairs, including the Universalist Church. From 1844 to 1851, Dean had permanent residences in Boston and then Franklin. In 1868, he married Louisa C. Hawes, a widow from Wrentham.

Dean's interest in higher education prompted him to offer his estate in Franklin in 1851 as a possible site for the Universalist Church's first institution of higher learning, which was chartered as Tufts College the following year. Although the school was eventually located on land donated by Charles Tufts in Somerville and Medford, Dean continued his affiliation with the endeavor, serving as one of the original provisional trustees elected in 1851. From 1852 until his death on December 5, 1871, Dean served as the president of the Tufts Board of Trustees.

In 1865, a coeducational preparatory school was also chartered under the Universalist Church in Franklin, intended to be a "feeder" school for Tufts. Dean Academy, built on land again offered by Dean, later became Dean Junior College, now known as Dean College. He also was a benefactor of the Universalist Church of Franklin, and the public libraries of Medway, Franklin, and Manchester, New Hampshire.

In 1886, Dean Hall, a men's dormitory on the Medford campus was built and named in his honor. It was razed in 1963 to make way for additional facilities for the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Source: VF

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  • The encyclopedia seeks to capture more than 150 years of Tufts' achievements, societal contributions and outstanding alumni and faculty in concise entries. As a source of accurate factual information, the Encyclopedia can be used by anyone interested in the history of Tufts and of the people who have made it the unique institution it is.
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Numeric Entries
Dame, Lorin Low, 1838-1903
Dana, Charles A., 1881-1975
Dana Laboratory, 1963
Daniel Ounjian Prize in Economics,
Davies, Caroline Stodder, 1864-1939
Davies House, 1894
De Florez Prize in Human Engineering, 1964
de Pacheco, Kaye MacKinnon, ca. 1910-ca. 1985
Dean Hall, 1887-1963
Dean, Oliver, 1783-1871
Dearborn, Heman Allen, 1831-1897
Department of Anatomy and Cellular Biology, 1893
Department of Anesthesia, 1970
Department of Art and Art History, 1930
Department of Biochemistry, 1893
Department of Chemistry, 1882
Department of Community Health, 1930
Department of Dermatology, 1897
The Department of Economics, 1946
Department of Medicine, 1893
Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology
Department of Neurology, 1893
Department of Neuroscience, 1983
Department of Neurosurgery, 1951
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 1893
Department of Ophthamology, 1893
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, 1906
Department of Otolaryngology, 1895
Department of Pathology, 1893
Department of Pediatrics, 1930
Department of Pharmacology, 1915
Department of Physics and Astronomy, 1854
Department of Physiology, 1893
Department of Psychiatry, 1928
Department of Radiation Oncology, 1968
Department of Radiology, 1915
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, 1955
Department of Surgery, 1893
Department of Urban and Environmental Policy, 1973
Department of Urology, 1910
Dental Health Sciences Building, 1969
Dewick, Cora Alma (Polk), 1875-1977
Dewick/MacPhie Dining Hall, 1959
Dickson Professorship of English and American History, 1913
Dirlam, Arland A., 1905-1979
Dog Cart, 1900
Dolbear, Amos Emerson, 1837-1910
Donald A. Cowdery Memorial Scholarship, 1946
Dr. Benjamin Andrews Professorship of Surgery, 1987
Dr. Philip E. A. Sheridan Prize, 1977
The Drug Bust, 1970
Dudley, Henry Watson, 1831-1906
Dugger, Edward Jr., 1919-75
Durkee, Frank W., 1861-1939
Durkee, Henrietta Noble Brown, 1871-1946
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