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President’s House, late 1800s
Union College Schaffer Library,
Special Collections Picture File
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President’s House, early 1900s
Union College Elizabeth Taylor Postcard Collection

Completed in 1861, this house was built for President Eliphalet Nott and his wife Urania. It was designed by Nott’s grandson, Edward Tuckerman Potter (Union College Class of 1853) according to ideas suggested by Joseph Jacques Ramée’s original plans for the campus. Although Nott himself only spent five years there before he died, his wife continued living in the house until sometime shortly before her own death two decades later.  Therefore, subsequent presidents had to find other accommodations. The next president to live in this house was its eighth, Harrison Webster (Union College Class of 1868 and Professor of Natural History), who held the president’s office from 1888 to 1894. During the entire period of Mrs. Perkins’ letters, the house was occupied by the ninth president of the College, Andrew Van Vranken Raymond (the last of Union’s four alumni presidents, Union College Class of 1875).

Although Mrs. Perkins admired President Raymond and recognized the challenges of running the financially struggling college, she was sometimes critical of his administrative abilities. “If Dr. Raymond would give the Dean power, and uphold the Faculty, all might go well, but he is away all the time, really knows nothing about the boys, or the details of anything, and yet will not give the power to any one else” (March 30, 1901).  His wife was a close friend of Mrs. Perkins, frequently sharing confidential College business with her. Often ill, Mrs. Raymond nevertheless hosted many social events, sometimes insisting that Mrs. Perkins attend.

After the death of his wife in 1907, President Raymond left the College and returned to his ministry. The house, renovated several times in the twentieth century, remains the home of the Union College President to this day.