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William Harkness Sampson (1808-1902) was Principal and the primary financial agent of Lawrence University from the beginning of classes in 1849 until1853, during the time that the institution operated only as a preparatory school. He came to the Wisconsin Territory in 1842, where he worked as a Methodist minister. He was named Presiding Elder of the Green Bay Mission District in 1844. While serving in this position, he was approached by Amos Lawrence’s agents and became involved in the founding of Lawrence Institute. Following his resignation as principal and agent in 1853, he was a faculty member for several years longer and served on the Board of Trustees until 1884. The date of his written account of the early history of Lawrence is unknown.


For more information about William Harkness Sampson, see the Early Presidents Collection in the University Archives.

Brief Sketches of the Early History of Lawrence University