Reprinted from Crabb, Alfred Leland. The Historical Background of Peabody College. Nashville: George Peabody College for Teachers, 1941.
James Robertson's heroic group arrived at "The Bluffs" late in 1779. John Donelson's flotilla ended its epic journey early in April, 1780. It was then that the permanent settlement of Nashville was begun. In December, 1785, Davidson Academy, so called though its curriculum was largely collegiate, was chartered. No other of the nation's major settlements established an institution of learning at so young an age. By a direct route the college moved along shifting its campus or its name as conditions seemed to demand. Finally, it reached its Hillsboro campus, whereon it seems to have found its permanent home as George Peabody College for Teachers. Its descent is direct, its lineage clear. In point of charter it is the nation's fifteenth college. Distinguished people have been its patrons. Eight of its trustees have been presidents of the country, four have been Supreme Court justices, five have been United States senators, and so on. Its alumni, too, have achieved great honor and some fame. Three became generals, three United States senators, five have been in the cabinet, twenty-two have served in the lower house of Congress, fifty have been chosen college and university presidents. It has produced its share of scholars and writers. Thirty thousand of its alumni have taught in the nation's schools.
This line of colleges, then, is a century and a half old. It is older than the Constitution, a decade older than Tennessee. It was a going concern when Andrew Jackson first rode through the Cumberland wilderness. Lafayette visited it, so did President Monroe, so did President Van Buren. Its alumni have been scalped by marauding Indians and have met death on the battlefields of six wars.
Five years ago we celebrated our Sesquicentennial and now we are well begun on the second half of our second century. We have pride in this maturity. This age, we believe, has not dimmed our vision, nor made stale our ideals. Proper pride in ancestry demands no dilution in the quality of posterity.
A. L. CRABB
October 15, 1941