The cover had a blue 2½d ‘Swan’ stamp of Western Australia postmarked BEACONSFIELD/ SP 13/ 02/ W.A and it was addressed to Rev. Saml Boardman, D.D., L.L.D., Bloomfield, N.J., U.S.A. It had a ms.’ From T. Maguire, Beaconsfield, W.A.’ (Figure 1).
The reverse had a transit postmark of FREMANTLE/ 6/ SP 13/ 02/ W.A (Figure 2).
Samuel Ward Boardman was born at Pittsford, Vermont on August 31, 1830. His boyhood was spent in Vermont and he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Middlebury College, Vermont in 1851, and from Andover Theological Seminary, Massachusetts. Later he was awarded honorary Master of Arts degrees by both Middlebury and Dartmouth Colleges. The honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred upon him by Hamilton College, New York in 1870, 19 years before he went to Maryville, Tennessee; and that of Doctor of Laws by Middlebury College in 1890, a year before he became President of Maryville College.
He was an instructor at Middlebury College for 3 years (1859-62), and filled four pastorates all before going to Maryville, firstly Norwich, Vermont, 2 years; Auburn, N.Y. at the Second Presbyterian Church, for 15 years; Sterling, Illinois, 3 years; and, Stanhope, New Jersey, 6 years. During his Auburn pastorate he was moderator of his synod, and served as chairman of committees to raise funds for the Auburn Theological Seminary and Hamilton College. While at Maryville College, he was in 1897, Moderator of the Synod of Tennessee. Throughout his life, he was a frequent contributor to journals and to the press.
He was married at 27 to Jane E. Haskell of Maine, but after 2 years she and their son both died. Two years later he married Sarah Elizabeth Greene of Westborough, Mass. There were nine children, six of whom grew to maturity and two of his sons graduated from Maryville College, Samuel Ward Jr in 1894 and Ronald Sherman Boardman in 1896.
When Dr. Boardman took office as the fourth president of the College in September 1889, the College had been without a president for 2 years. On September 5 of that year he was inaugurated as “President and Professor of Mental and Moral Science, and of Didactic Theology”. He retired from the presidency of Maryville College in 1901 having reached the age of seventy, the College’s retirement age. From that time until his death in 1917, a period of 16 years, he lived in Bloomfield, New Jersey, filling pulpits in the area, by invitation. He was the Baccalaureate preacher at the Maryville College Commencement of 1915. He died August 30, 1917 at the age of 87, and was buried in Auburn, N.Y. Since his resignation in 1901 he had been in excellent health after recovering from a serious operation. Recently however he had several slight paralytic strokes and passed into the decline resulting in his death. A picture of Dr. Boardman is seen in Figure 3.
Maryville College was founded in 1819 and the advances made during Dr. Boardman’s presidency were very substantial, for the enrollment increased 40% to 400 and the faculty 70% to 17. The number of graduates receiving the bachelor’s degree each year was twice that in any year before 1890. The curriculum and academic standards were notably strengthened. College facilities were increased and improved from 5 buildings to 10 when he retired. During the 19th century there were 9 Negro students that received a bachelor’s degree, and eight of those conferred were done by President Boardman. A copy of the names of entire staff, taken from the ‘header’ of a letter written by Dr. Boardman in the early 1900s, and a short letter written to Prof. Rev. Samuel Tyndale Wilson D.D. (his successor as the fifth President of the College) thanking him and speaking of his improved health, are seen in Figures 4 & 5.
I am indebted to Martha Hess, the Registrar at the Maryville College, Tennessee for providing me with research material on President Boardman which otherwise would not have been available to me.