Administration of John Brown White 423
I went to college to learn. . . . I had been in Professor White's recitation room but a
half dozen times when I conceived a sovereign contempt for his knowledge of the
mathematics. He could not teach. His methods, call them methods, were atrocious....
In looking wise, and keeping his mouth shut, in Yankee shrewdness and finesse, he
The following opinion, that of Dr. J. D. Hufham, is the one that has
long been current in North Carolina. It doubtless faithfully reflects the
prejudiced view of certain friends and patrons of the College; it was
prevalent at the time and is now generally, but wrongly, accepted as
correct. Writing in 1909 Hufham said:
In 1853 John B. White was President. He was a New Englander and was not
fitted to preside over a Southern college. He was often rude in speech and manner
and in his intercourse with the students, and seemed to know nothing of the tact
which always puts them on their best behaviour. He resigned the presidency and
moved to Illinois before I reached the studies which were his special care. Few felt
any personal loss at his removal, and his departure was a distinct gain to the
Not only did the Trustees in October, 1853, by corporate action deal
harshly with White, but neither in the several communications to the
Biblical Recorder, of which some are signed "Trustee," nor in the
editorial references of that paper to affairs of the College at that time
is there one kind word about him.
A year earlier, however, on October 9, 1852, when White was
thought to be ready to leave, the Philomathesian Society presented
him with a volume of the Bibliotheca Sacra as a token of their
appreciation, and sent a committee of their most trusted members to
invite him to address the Society in a manner fitting the occasion.
Furthermore, the records of the Board of Trustees are in White's
favor; through all the years they were eager to retain him, as has been
told above, a year before and spoke of him in high terms, whereas in
1853 they were seemingly vindictive in accepting his resignation.
Ibid., XXVIII, 324.
Ibid., XXVIII, 339.