Special Lincoln Bicentennial Induction: February 12, 2009

During the academic year 2008-2009 the Hartwick College Honor Society (HCHS) co-sponsored an Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Symposium. Partners in sponsorship include various academic departments, the Office of Student Life, and the City of Oneonta's Commission on Community Relations and Human Rights. The symposium featured courses, lectures, panel discussions, and excursions. Hartwick's symposium received endorsement from the national Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.

The Hartwick Seminary and Academy building was erected in 1815, a year before the institution was chartered in 1816 by the New York Legislature as the first Lutheran Seminary in the United States. The larger number of enrolled students attended the academy receiving instruction in classical studies, which set the curriculum for the Freshman Year of college by 1888. Forty years later, in 1928 the Board authorized four years of college education at Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York.

As part of Hartwick's Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Symposium, the Hartwick College Honor Society posthumously inducted a group of the distinguished personalities in the history of the Hartwick Seminary and Academy during Lincoln's Birthday Bash on February 12, 2009


Isaac Newton Arnold was born in Hartwick, New York. After studying at local schools, he enrolled at the Hartwick Seminary and Academy, where in 1831-32 he served as vice president of the Philophronean Society. After studying law in Cooperstown, Arnold relocated to Chicago in 1836. He emerged into a fierce abolitionist and befriended Abraham Lincoln. During the 1860 election, Arnold was elected to Congress and soon after accompanied his friend to Washington, DC. Arnold’s House Resolution of 1862 abolished slavery in the District of Columbia and the Florida Territory. His House Resolution of 1864 led to the Thirteenth Amendment ending slavery in the United States in December 1865. Arnold’s 1866 book, The History of Abraham Lincoln and the Overthrow of Slavery is recognized as the most scholarly text on President Lincoln. Arnold affirmed his connection to the Hartwick Seminary and Academy by providing handwritten notations in his personal copy of the 1866 text, Memorial Volume of the Semi-Centennial of Hartwick Seminary, which today is a part of the Matthews Collection for the Preservation of Freedom Journey Classics.

The Husband’s House in Cooperstown was a frequent gathering place for prominent local citizens and students of the Hartwick Seminary and Academy. Its owner, Joseph Dottin Husbands, Esq., was the former Colonial Secretary of Barbadoes before escaping in 1815 to the United States because of his anti-slavery views. His son, Joseph Husbands, Jr., enrolled at the Hartwick Seminary and Academy in 1816 at the age of seven; later in life he emerged as an abolitionist in Rochester. The senior Husbands served as a Trustee of the Hartwick Seminary and Academy between 1825-1833.

The Franckean Synod was established during 1837 by Rev. John D. Lawyer, a founding member of the Hartwick Synod, who determined the need for a religious body to “wipe slavery from the face of the earth,” as he phrased it. The Franckeans emerged as the leading Lutheran anti-slavery organization and retained direct affiliation with the Hartwick Seminary and Academy. Reverend Lawyer served as a Trustee of the Hartwick Seminary and Academy from 1829-1856.

George Miller Sternberg was born in 1838 at the Hartwick Seminary and Academy, the son of principal Levi Sternberg. After completing his studies at the Academy, he received an introduction to the medical field by studying with physicians in Cooperstown. He attended medical school before the start of the Civil War, later enlisting in the Union Army. His career as a scholar and doctor led to the 1893 appointment as Brigadier-General, USA Surgeon-General. He died in 1915 with his will administered by the Hartwick Seminary and Academy.

Endorsed by the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission