Robert Peter Papers,1828-1895

Descriptive Summary

Robert Peter Papers,1828-1895
Peter, Robert, 1805-1894
ca. 5.5 cubic ft.
Bartlett, Elisha, 1804-1855.
Bowman, John B., 1824-1891.
Bullitt, Henry M., 1817-1880.
Comstock, D. O., fl. 1828-1833.
Durand, Elias, 1794-1873.
Flint, Joshua B. (Joshua Barker), 1801-1864.
Hildreth, Samuel P. (Samuel Prescott),1783-1863.
Lawson, L. M., 1812-1864.
Lesley, Joseph P., fl. 1858-1885.
Lesquereaux, Leo, 1806-1889.
Owen, David Dale, 1807-1860.
Owen, Richard, fl. 1860-1887.
Peers, Benjamin Orr, 1800-1842.
Peter, Robert, 1805-1894.
Proctor, John Robert, 1844-1903.
Schaeffer, George C., fl. 1850-1881.
Schere, Alexander, fl. 1853-1857.
Shaler, Nathaniel Southgate, 1841-1906.
Williams, John Augustus, 1824-1903.
Eclectic Institute (Lexington, Ky.)
Kentucky Geological Survey.
Kentucky Geological Survey -- History.
Kentucky School of Medicine (Louisville, Ky.)
Kentucky University.
Kentucky University. Agricultural and Mechanical College.
Kentucky University -- Faculty.
Kentucky University -- History.
Pittsburgh Philosophical Society.
Rensselaer Institute.
Transylvania University -- Faculty.
Transylvania University -- History.
Transylvania University. Medical Dept.
Western University of Pennsylvania.
Agricultural colleges -- Kentucky -- Lexington.Botany.
Coal -- Kentucky -- History.
Coal -- Appalachian Region -- History.
Disciples of Christ.
Education, Higher -- New York (State) -- Troy.
Geological surveys -- Indiana.
Geological surveys -- Kentucky.
Medical colleges -- Kentucky -- Lexington
Medical colleges -- Kentucky -- Lexington -- History
Medical colleges -- Kentucky --
Universities and colleges -- Kentucky --
Universities and colleges -- Kentucky -- Lexington -- Faculty
Universities and colleges -- Kentucky -- Lexington -- History
Universities and colleges -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh -- Faculty.
Lecture notes.
Finding Aid Author
Processed by: staff; machine-readable finding aid created by:Bonnie Cox
Transylvania University

Collection Overview

Biography / History
Robert Peter, a native of England, came to America with his family in 1817. Having received some training as a druggist in Philadelphia in the apothecary shop of Charles Ivory, Peter attended Rensselaer Institute in Troy, New York in 1828, and from 1829 to 1831 lectured on natural science and chemistry at the Pittsburgh Philosophical Society and Western University of Pennsylvania. In 1832 he came to Lexington, Kentucky as an instructor at the Eclectic Institute, a school for boys established by Benjamin O. Peers. Peter was named to a chair in chemistry at Transylvania University in the following year. Peter continued to be associated with Transylvania, then known as Kentucky University, until 1878 when religious and political turmoil resulted in the separation from the university of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Kentucky, to which Peter adhered as professor of chemistry. In that controversy Peter played a prominent role as a spokesman against the narrow orthodoxy of Kentucky University Board of Curators representing the interests of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). In addition to Peter's duties as an instructor, he was employed as chemist by the Kentucky Geological Survey at various times during the administrations of state geologists, David Dale Owen, N. S. [Nathaniel Southgate] Shaler, and John Robert Proctor. The results of his extensive analyses of Kentucky soils and minerals were published in various reports of the survey. Other Peter writings included a manuscript history of Transylvania University and its Medical Department which were published by The Filson Club subsequent to his death (1896, 1905).
Scope and Content
This collection is comprised of correspondence, manuscripts, lectures, notebooks, and other materials of Robert Peter. Included are letters detailing Peter's scientific interests in chemistry, botany, and medicine, from Elisha Bartlett, D. O. Comstock, Elias Durand, Samuel P. Hildreth, and George C. Schaeffer; the establishment of the Kentucky School of Medicine in Louisville, from Joshua B. Flint, Henry M. Bullitt, and L. M. Lawson; geological survey work in Kentucky and Indiana, from David D. Owen, Richard Owen, and Leo Lesquereaux; the withdrawal of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Kentucky from Kentucky University, from John B. Bowman, John Augustus Williams, and others; Peter's personal relationships with associates including Joseph P. Lesley and Alexander Schere; and his private financial affairs. In some instances copies of Peter's outgoing correspondence accompany relevant letters. Among the manuscripts present are Peter's history of Transylvania University and Kentucky University; a history of the Kentucky Geological Survey (1891); and sketches on historical resources in eastern Kentucky coal fields (1879), and the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Kentucky (1881). Manuscripts are accompanied by notes. Other materials present include notes from coursework undertaken by Peter (ca. 1828); notes from lectures delivered by him at the Western University of Pennsylvania (1829); notebooks relating to his coursework in the Medical Department of Transylvania University (1833); a draft of his M.D. thesis (1833); records relating to student payments of fees for lectures (1838-1858); Medical Department expense records, including a notebook used to record equipment purchases made by Peter in Europe (ca. 1838-1839); lecture notes and outlines (1838-1852); a laboratory experiment logbook (1838-1860); copies of speeches delivered by Peter (1839-1882); and scrapbooks maintained by Peter which contain clippings relating to the breakup of Kentucky University (1870s), the election campaigns of 1888-1889, and general political and historical subjects. Condition of material: fair.