Joseph H. Hill

Summary Information

Emporia State University Special Collections and Archives
Hill, Joseph H., 1858-1927.
Joseph H. Hill
5.0 Linear feet

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Biographical Note

Joseph Henry Hill was born on May 21, 1858 in Stockton, Pennsylvania. His parents were Joseph Hill and Betsy Moffat. The family moved to Kansas during Hill’s boyhood. At the age of 18 he graduated from the Kansas State Normal School. Hill would be the first president to also be a graduate from Kansas State Normal School. After graduating he became a teacher. In 1886 he received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Three years later, in 1889 he received his Master of Arts degree from the same university. Hill was the head of the Latin Department at the Kansas State Normal School from 1887 until 1906. He married Frances Meldrus in 1892 and they had five children: Alfred G. Hill, Armand P. Hill, Muriel Hill, Ruth Hill, and Joseph Hill. Hill held the position of President of the Kansas Teachers’ Association in 1901. From 1901 until 1906 he served as the Vice-President of the Kansas State Normal School. In 1906 Hill received his Doctorate of Divinity from Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas. Hill received his Doctorate of Law degree from Kansas State Agricultural College in 1909.

Dr. Hill was chosen by the Kansas State Board of Regents to replace President Jasper N. Wilkinson as president of the Kansas State Normal School in July of 1906. President Hill’s administration continued to organize departments and promote the growth of the school in moving it towards transitioning from a normal school to a college. In 1907 students were able to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Education degree. The Norton Science Hall was completed and dedicated during Hill’s administration. The Kansas State Legislature had approved $50,000 in 1905 for a new science building. The formal dedication took place on November 17, 1907. The new building was two stories high with a basement. There were large Corinthian columns on either side of the entrance. The entry had grey and red Tennessee marble on the floor and wainscoting. The basement housed a chemistry lab, lecture room, class room. The second floor contained the psychology room, physical science room, botanical lab, a museum, and two classrooms. The Music Department was also experiencing a period of expansion during this time. There had been an increase of students enrolled in courses for public school music, and individual lessons had more than doubled. Due to the increase in enrollment more room was needed for the department. In 1909 the Kansas State Legislation approved $20,000 to purchase and renovate the Eskridge property, which was connected to the campus on the east. After renovations were completed on the house to transition it from residential to academic use, the Music Department had fully moved into the new facilities in 1910. Another new building dedicated during President Hill’s administration was the new gymnasium. The Kansas State Legislature approved $75,000 in 1907 for the building, and another $20,000 in 1909 for equipment. The gymnasium was dedicated on April 15, 1910. The building was shaped like the letter “I”, in the basement were locker and bath rooms as well as the heating and venting, the center held the swimming pool. On the first floor there were two exercise rooms that could be divided with a rolling partition. The second floor held the men’s and women’s rooms, lecture room, recitation rooms, offices for directors, and an office for physical examinations. There were also two galleys, one contained a track and the other held observation seating. In 1909 the School Visitation Department was established headed by Dr. J. R. Jewell. The department was instrumental in establishing correspondence course and for the initiation of the Kansas State Normal Press. Another development under Hill’s administration was the establishment of the Home Economics Department beginning in 1908, which offered sewing and later cooking classes. By the 1911-12 academic year, the Kansas State Normal School had completed the departmental organization needed to transition from a normal school to a teachers’ college. The organizational structure of the Kansas State Normal School included the Elementary Model, the secondary school or Normal Training High School, and the Normal College. Within the Normal College were several departments, including: psychology and philosophy, school administration, zoology and geology, agriculture and biology, botany, chemistry, physics, physiology and hygiene, geography, English, mathematics, European history, American history, political science, economics and sociology, Latin, modern languages, library science, music, drawing, manual-training, home economics, commerce, speech arts, and physical training. The 1911-12 Kansas Board of Regents report stated, “it is in fact, as it should be in name, a teachers’ college, complete in its recognition of every phase of work demanded by the public-school system of the state.” President Hill resigned in June of 1913.

After resigning from the presidency of Kansas State Normal School Hill headed Boston University’s Department of Education from 1913 until 1915. In 1915 he accepted a position with the Clark Teachers’ Agency. Clark Teachers’ Agency was based in Chicago, Illinois however Hill would run an office out of Kansas City, Missouri. Hill would also serve as a minister in the Methodist Church starting in 1906 throughout his career. Joseph H. Hill died February 13, 1927 and is buried in Mount Washington Cemetery in Independence, Missouri.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Emporia State University Special Collections and Archives

1200 Commercial St
Campus Box 4051
Emporia, KS, 66801
(620) 341-6431

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Kansas State Normal School -- Presidents.

Personal Name(s)

  • Hill, Joseph H., 1858-1927.

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