HIS 460: Sesquicentennial Project: Example of a Research Topic

Professor Rebecca McCoy, Spring 2015.

LVC's First African Graduate

Photographs of Alfred Charles Tennyson Sumner 1900-1901.

A group photo of the Glee Club or Conservatory from the 1900 yearbook. Sumner is pictured on the left. Image courtesy of LVC's Archives.

Another group photo from the 1900 yearbook. This time Sumner is pictured with the Philokosmian Literary Society (lower right) and listed as the group's Organist. Image courtesy of LVC's Archives.

From the 1901 yearbook, Sumner is again pictured with the Philokosmian Literary Society (lower left). Image courtesy of LVC's Archives.

Writer or Associate for - The College Forum



The College Forum, Oct. 1900, Vol. 13, No. 5, p. 1. To Link to the full text click the image above.

Sumner's Graduation from LVC

Sumner's graduation biography from the school newspaper, The College Forum, June 1902, Vol. 15, No. 10: p. 161.

Sumner's graduation biography from the school newspaper, The College Forum, June 1902, Vol. 15, No. 10: page 1.

Alfred Tennyson Sumner

Sumner's picture from the 1901 LVC yearbook, The Bizarre.

Sumner is LVC's first African graduate hailing from Bonthe, Sherbo, West Africa.

He was born June 27, 1874 and died on June 29, 1943.

As an educator in Sierra Leone, Sumner went on to become "the author of grammars of the Mende, Sherbo, and Temne languages" (Wallace, 206).

Alfred's son was the Hon. Doyle Sumner who went on to become the Minister of Natural Resources in Sierra Leone. Doyle attended LVC from 1936-1938.

Source: Lebanon Valley College: A Centennial History, 1866-1966 by Paul A. W. Wallace

Sumner's School Activities

1898

The year Sumner entered LVC according to his senior biography in The College Forum, but he is not listed in the 1899 yearbook.

1900

  • Organist of the Philokosmian Literary Society
  • Conservatory student
  • An Associate for The College Forum

1901

Listed as a sophomore...

  • Member of the Chorus Class
  • First Violin Philo Orchestra
  • Member of the Philokosmian Literary Society
  • Associate on The College Forum editorial staff
  • Member of the Devotional Committee of the Y.M.C.A.
  • President, Dr. Roop and Sumner attended a general conference held at Frederick City*
  • In the class’s “A Glimpse of the Future” it is stated regarding Sumner, “A.C.T.S. will be a missionary. Thousands will be civilized and Christianized by his efforts and he will be made Bishop of Africa.”

1902

Listed as a junior, but 1902 is noted as his graduation year.

  • Member of the Chorus Class
  • Member of the College Orchestra (played the Bag Pipe)
  • Member of the Philokosmian Literary Society
  • Junior Rhetorical: First Division "Africa in History"

This list of Sumner's activities was complied by reviewing the LVC yearbook and school newspaper: The Bizarre and The College Forum.

*This perhaps refers to the 1901 United Brethren General Conference held in Frederick, MD.

What is a Literary Society?

"In most colleges of the United States during the nineteenth century, the Literary Societies were not only important elements in the students' social life; they contributed something essential to the intellectual atmosphere, supplementing the formal college curriculum by introducing a wide range of intellectual interests not directly handled in college classes" (Wallace, 55).

The Philokosmian Literary Society at LVC was started on May 3, 1867 and the name was suggested by President Vickroy.

Yesterday and Today



LVC has a connection to Africa via Sumner and others. To read more about it click the photo below and visit the LVC President's Report from 2010-2011.

West African Life - An Article Written by Sumner

The College Forum, Nov. 1898, Vol. 11, No. 8, p. 121. To read the full West African Life article click the image above.

Biography of Sumner



The College Forum, Nov. 1898, Vol. 11, No. 8, p. 125. To read the full biography of Alfred Charles Tennyson Sumner click the image above.