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Blanchard, Charles A. (Charles Albert) (1848-1925) | Archival Collections at Wheaton College

Name: Blanchard, Charles A. (Charles Albert) (1848-1925)


Historical Note:

Charles Albert Blanchard liked to recall that he was born in 1848, the year of revolutions.  He was named for Charles Albert, Duke of Sardinia,  who strove for Italian unification.  The fifth of Jonathan and Mary Avery Bent Blanchard's twelve children was born on November 8, 1848,  in Galesburg,  Illinois.  Charles' father had left the pastorate of the Sixth Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati to assume the presidency of Knox Manual Labor College in 1845. Following the elder Blanchard’s resignation in 1858 and brief pastorates in Congregational churches in Ottawa and Galesburg, the Blanchard family moved to Wheaton, where Jonathan Blanchard became head of the financially struggling Illinois Institute (soon re-named Wheaton College).  The town of Wheaton became Charles Blanchard's residence for the remainder of his life.

Life as a boy in the Blanchard family included work on the family farm and preparatory school studies. A highlight of Charlie's younger years was a wagon trip to the Montana gold fields in 1864.  Accompanying his father,  the journey took them across the states of Illinois and Iowa and the territories of Nebraska, Montana, Idaho, Utah, and Colorado.  On the return trip, Charles remained for a time in Nebraska Territory as a farm worker.

Charles Blanchard began his preaching career at the age of nineteen, when he delivered his first sermon in York Center, Illinois.  By the time he graduated from Wheaton College in 1870,  he had presented 65 addresses concerning the ills of lodgery.  Following his commencement, Charles lectured as an agent for the National Christian Association,  a reform organization dedicated chiefly to opposing Freemasonry and other oath bound orders.

In 1872, Charles began the affiliation with Wheaton College which was to last the rest of his life.  That year he took the position of Principal of the Preparatory Department.  Two years later he became the College's first professor of English, a position he held for eight years.  He studied at Chicago Theological Seminary in 1875 and served as Pastor of College Church in Wheaton from 1878-1883.  Charles Blanchard married Margaret Ellen Milligan on October 16, 1873.  His bride hailed from the Keystone State and the wedding took place in Pittsburg.  Five children were born to the couple: Jonathan McLeod, Mary Belle, Julia Warden Ellen, Rachel Geraldine, and Clara Levancia.

In 1882, Charles Albert Blanchard succeeded his father as President of Wheaton College.  He would retain leadership as President and Professor of Mental and Moral Science for forty three years; the longest tenure served by a Wheaton College President.

In 1884, after 11 years of marriage, Ellen died, suffering from heart lesions caused by childhood rheumatic fever. Charles remarried in 1886.  The object of his love, Miss Amanda Jennie Carothers,  had graduated with the Class of 1878 and served as Dean of Women from 1880 to their marriage.  Jennie bore three children: Jane Caroline, Marie Frances, and Mildred Nora, bringing the total number of Blanchard children to 8. (The son born to Charles' previous marriage died in infancy and Marie Frances died at the age of two.) Amanda Jennie died in 1894, leaving Charles a widower for the second time.

Charles corresponded with Jennie's sister,  Frances (an 1880 graduate of Wheaton College and medical doctor), after Jennie's death.  This exchange eventually expanded to concern itself with matters of the heart and their marriage followed in 1896.  During their marriage of twenty nine years, an adopted son, Paul, was added to the Blanchard home.

Blanchard's professional life continued to expand.  In 1896 the Doctorate of Divinity degree was bestowed upon him by Monmouth College.  Between 1897 and 1899, Blanchard served a second time as pastor of College Church.  Wheaton College named Blanchard to the Professorship of Psychology and Ethics in 1900 and from 1902 to 1904 Blanchard held the Presidency of the National Christian Association.  Until his death on December 20, 1925, Charles Blanchard remained active as President of Wheaton College as well as continuing to lecture and write.







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