23 Rare Furman University Photos Show College Life In The First Half Of The 1900s

Furman University was founded in 1826 by the South Carolina Baptist Convention and is the oldest private university in South Carolina. Its namesake, Richard Furman, was a clergyman in Charleston and considered the most important Baptist leader before the Civil War.

Originally called “Furman Academy and Theological Institution,” the school was first located in Edgefield, SC. But Furman changed names two more times and moved three more times until it landed in what’s called the “Old Furman” location in downtown Greenville in 1851. In the mid-to-late 1950s the university moved to its current location north of town. In a strategic move, Furman merged with Greenville Women’s College in 1933. The University has a detailed interactive timeline you can refer to for more information.

Let’s take a look at what life was like at Furman in the first half of the 1900s.

(Note: The photos in this article are from the Special Collections and Archives at Furman University, a virtual treasure trove of images depicting life at the university throughout the years. The collection is divided into the era from 1851-1958 – a collection referred to as “Furman Old Photos;” and 1950-1962 – a collection called “New Campus Photos.” All of the images in this article are from the first collection dated 1851 – 1958. Dates and names are noted if they were available in the archive. Few, if any, distinctions were made in the archive notes between the Men’s College and the Women’s College.)

College life seemed pretty much the same then as it is now, except for the lack of some technology. Education, fellowship, and fun seemed to be at the heart of Furman in these photos.

What did you think of the photos? Did they resurrect any good memories from your own college experience?

Do you have any pictures or stories to share about life at Furman? We’d love to hear them. Please share in the comments section below.