History of Plymouth State

Digital Collections

The Plymouth State Historical Images Collection includes images of Plymouth State buildings and campus scenes as far back as 1896.

The Campus Publications Collection includes a selection of periodicals published by the college from its days as Plymouth Normal School up through today. In most cases the full text of these periodicals is searchable. These publications contain a wealth of information on campus events, as well as student, faculty and alumni news.

The Plymouth Yearbooks Collection contains yearbooks from the Plymouth Normal School era to the present. The current yearbook title, The Conning Tower, first appeared with the publication of the 1928 yearbook. This collection is an ongoing project dedicated to making the PSU yearbooks accessible to PSU affiliates and the public. Years are being added gradually, but not chronologically, so check back periodically to see if the year you graduated has been digitized.

Original Plymouth Normal School Catalog

The catalog for the spring term of 1871, the first term of the Plymouth Normal School, is now available online. The catalogs lists the names of students and teachers and provides information about admission, courses of study, regulations, expenses, and even which books were used.

Plymouth Normal School Building circa 1875

Timeline of Institutional Names

  • Plymouth Holmes Academy, 1808-1870
  • Plymouth Normal School, 1871-1939
  • Plymouth Teachers College, 1939-1963
  • Plymouth State College, 1963-2003
  • Plymouth State University, 2003-present

List of Presidents of the Institution

Short biographies of the presidents can be found at the President’s Page.

  • Silas H. Pearl (1871-1873)
  • Horatio O. Ladd (1873-1876)
  • Ambrose P. Kelsey (1876-1879)
  • Henry Pitt Warren (1879-1883)
  • Charles Collins Rounds (1883-1896)
  • Alfred Hills Campbell (1896-1900)
  • James E. Klock (1900-1911)
  • Ernest Leroy Silver (1911-1946)
  • Howard R. Jones (1946-1951)
  • Harold Eldred Hyde (1951-1977)
  • Kasper C. Marking (1977-1983)
  • Madie Barrett, Interim (1983-1984)
  • William J. Farrell (1984-1992)
  • Theodora J. Kalikow, Interim (1992-1993)
  • Donald P. Wharton (1993-2006)
  • Sara Jayne Steen (2006-)

Tribute to Norton R. Bagley

Plymouth State University mourned the loss of Professor Norton Bagley in February 2014. Dr. Norton Bagley: A Major Influence was written by student Jessica Fischer, Class of 2017.

    Campus Buildings

    The Plymouth State University Buildings project contains photographs and short histories of many of PSU’s buildings and their namesakes, as well as a timeline of building construction and acquisitions at the school. Our new Plymouth State Historical Images collection also has many building photographs.

    Yearbooks/Conning Tower

    Plymouth yearbooks are cataloged, so they have a call number and appear in LOLA, our online catalog. The call number for yearbooks is: LD4561.P925 C6 Oversize. The library has many copies of each year, and one copy is located in the circulating collection, on the Oversize shelves. There are also multiple copies in Special Collections, if you are unable to find the year you are looking for in the circulating collection.
    Please also visit The Plymouth Yearbooks Collection for a growing selection of digitized volumes.

    School Mottos

  • 1924 Out of school life into life’s school
  • 1925 Non nobis sed alus (Not for ourselves but for others)
  • 1926 Non finis sed initium (Not the end but the beginning)
  • 1927 Non sibi sed omnibus (Not for self but for all)
  • 1928-1929 Know thyself
  • 1930 Ut Prosim (That I May Serve)
  • 1931 Vincit qui patitur (He conquers who endures)
  • 1932 Potest qui posse putat (He can who thinks he can)
  • 1933-1939 Vincit qui se vincit (He conquers who conquers himself)
  • 1940-today Ut Prosim (That I May Serve)

Other Local Sources

The sources listed below are frequently used histories of the town of Plymouth and also Plymouth State. Please note that there are circulating copies of these items, as well as Special Collections copies.

Another informative source can be found at a site created by Plymouth State’s 2012 Public History Class called An Unfinished Story.