National Normal University, Warren County, Ohio
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Lebanon, Ohio (1855-1917)
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This page was created as a result of a number of email inquiries regarding the school and its students.

Alumni were called "Normalites."

Perhaps you can help.

  1. The Digital Archives are in need of images of students, class lists, buildings and similar memorabilia. [or links to them if they are already on-line elsewhere]

  2. If you have an ancestor who attended NNU, I would be happy to add them to the list of Students & Faculty below. Send an email with their name, what you know about their involvement with the school plus whatever else you might want to share about them.

The National Normal University is a defunct school that was located in Lebanon. It was primarily a teachers college but also had a number of other departments through the years. The school thrived through much of the last half of the 1800s but fell on hard times and finally closed in 1917. The school had seved over 80,000 students!

The school was first housed in the Lebanon Academy Building located at the corner of Cherry and New streets.

The school outgrew the Academy Building and relocated to the Lyceum Building. The school had a number of buildings through the years with the main structure [as I understand it] located across the street from the courthouse at the southwest corner of East Street and Silver Street. A brand new building on that site burned in 1883 and was rebuilt. After the closing of N.N. U., the building at East Street housed the Lebanon high school for a time in the 1920s and was later converted to apartments. It has since been demolished and the site is now the location of the Presbyterian Church Annex Building.

(2003 photo of the Presbyterian Church Annex that was built on the NNU site)

See the links below for additional information about the school.


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November 24, 1855 Southwestern State Normal School established in Lebanon, Ohio with Alfred Holbrook appointed Principal. He and his wife were paid $320 for the first year. The Lebanon Academy transferred their Academy building to the trustees of the new school. They had 95 pupils for their first session. At the close of the first year the school passed into the control of Mr. holbrook who conducted it on a proprietary basis. "State" was later dropped from the name.
[the Academy Building is still standing. It is located next to the post office at the corner of Cherry and New Streets.]
1859 Tuition raised from $8.33 to $10 for an eleven week session.
1870 Name changed to National Normal School
1881 Named changed to National Normal University (NNU)
Enrollment probably reached its peak at 1,850 students in 1881, the twenty sixth year of the school.
25 Jan 1883 Fire destroyed much of the main building which was rebuilt at the Silver and East streets site and served the school until its 1917 closing
1897 President Holbrook resigns after serving as president for 42 years. School experiences financial difficulties and attendance falls off.
1904 Institution rechartered under a Board of Trustees, as a corporation without profit, and is therefore now a public institution.
April, 1907 Name changed to Lebanon University
1908 In accord with an act of the Ohio Legislature, the University is a part of the school system of Lebanon, and is supported by a city tax. All high school graduates of Lebanon are thus given free tuition in the University.
August 9, 1917 Last Commencement was held.
Lebanon University
went bankrupt and closed at the end of the 1917-1918 school year. The school was merged with Wilmington College in Wilmington, OH in August, 1917. At that time, all of the NNU records were transferred to Wilmington College. The Special Collections Department of Wilmington College has said that all of the NNU records that were held by them have since been moved to the Warren County Historical Society.
28 Jan 1918 Lebanon University Real Estate sold at auction to Solomon Fred for $4,400.
1920-1930 North part of the main building houses Lebanon High School
Summer of 1933 Alfred Holbrook College opened in the old NNU Building
July, 1934 Alfred Holbrook College moved from Lebanon to Manchester Ohio (and closed in 1941)
1977 Main building sold to the Lebanon Presbyterian Church and demolished.


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If you wish to do further research it is my understanding that the following have varying amounts of information regarding the school in their archives. Do you know of any other resources or links regarding NNU?

Digital Archives
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Students & Faculty
If you have any photos (students, buildings, etc.), autograph books or any other memorabilia from the National Normal University, I would be happy to add an image or transcription of it to the collection. Anybody have any diplomas???(Click on thumbnails for larger images)
Do you have any photos or drawings to add to the collection?

Lebanon Academy Building - the original home of the National Normal University
2003 photo contributed by Arne H Trelvik

Administration Building
(photographed image of picture in a book located at the Warren County Historical Society)
Main Building
(photographed image of picture in a book located at the Warren County Historical Society)
Photo from page 110 of "The Centennial Atlas of Warren County, Ohio" published in 1903 by The Centennial Atlas Association.
University Building - Artist rendition as found in the 2 December 1896 edition of the Lebanon Gazette. Caption reads,
"The above is the University building as it was projected when the present chapel was built, but the burning of the chapel soon after its completion has delayed further improvements. The prosperity of the University is now so flattering, the completion of this structure is in the near future. It will be an ornament to our town and a suitable monument to the pluck and skill of the founder of this great institution."
Thirty-Second Annual Commencement, College of Science, Fall Class 1887, August 17-19, 1887, University Hall, Lebanon, Ohio.
Thirty-Third Annual Commencement, College of Liberal Arts; Friday, August 17, 1888; University Hall, Lebanon, Ohio.
Thirty-Fifth Annual Commencement, August 13th, 14th, 15th, 1890 contributed by Bill Ehrenstrom 19 January 2009

of the
Alumni and Alumnæ
of the
National Normal University,
Lebanon, Ohio.
Unitas inter nos et fidelitas Almæ Matris.
Published by the
For Distribution among its members.

Mrs. Simpson's Boarding Club July 21, 1899 contributed by Vivian Combs Moon on 20 Oct 2003
Graduation Picture [probably 1893] contributed by Jim Keim on 12 Dec 2003 who writes,
"graduation picture of 4 men and 4 women from about 1894, maybe 1893, including my great grandparents, Grace Gilmour and Thomas C Christie. I might be able to pin down the year more closely, and will let you know if I do. The caption on the back reads, in part: "

Left to right:
1.unknown    [Karen Counts thinks it may be her Great-Great Aunt, Letitia (Tish) Counts]
2. Arthur Smith
3. Florence Bowles
4. Crawley
5. Grace Gilmour
6. Thomas C. Christie
7. Phebe Farlow
8. [From another photo at the Warren County Historical Society, this is probably W. C. Merrill of Point Rock, OH]
Their graduation picture from National Normal University Lebanon, Ohio

The Card File at the Warren County Historical Society has all of the above named students (except Crawley & Merrill) listed as "BS 1893"

Virtus In Arduis Victoriam.
Fall Scientific Class, N.N. U. 1893

contributed by Tom Gay of Amarillo, Texas whose grandfather, C. L. Gay is pictured in the 5th row, column 4


Photo Album [ca. 1894-1896] from the Elizabeth (Fisher) Adams Estate contributed by Lisa & Don Howell of Arlington, Kentucky on 20 March 2004.
Most of the photos are identified as being taken by L. E. Kratzer, 219 Silver St., Lebanon, O.

1A: Unknown 6B: Unknown
1B: Unknown 7A: F. W. Willhouse, Troy, Miami Co., Ohio

2A: Unknown

7B: G. W. Pruitt, Winchester, KY
2B: Unknown 8A: Jno. Caywood, Miles City, Custer Co., Mont.
3A: Unknown 8B: J. L. Selby, Greenville, Darke Co., Ohio
3B: Unknown 9A: J. T. Castle, Eupora, Miss.
4A: Unknown 9B: Rose Graham, Chunckey, Newton Co., Miss
4B: Unknown 10A: Martin Renip, Millville, Ohio
5A: Unknown 10B: J. A. Knight, Mt. Willing, Ala.
5B: Unknown 11A: W. L. Collard, Wheellock, Tx
6A: Unknown 11B: Herman Hirsch, Fredericksburgh, Tx.

The N.N.U Basball Team contributed by Carolyn Higgins on 2 May 2004

The only person identified in the photo is Carolyn's grandfather, George Wesley King who is the player on the right in the middle row. George had once told his son, Charles [Charles, who passed away in March of 2005 was Carolyn's father] that he had once hit a home run and the game had to be stopped as the ball was never found and it was the only one they had. Can anyone identify any of the other players?

The picture is not dated but George Wesley King is also in the 21 July 1899 photo of Mrs. Simpson's Boarding Club.

John Rudolph Snider
Autograph Book dated 16 December 1877
Contributed by his great grandson Thomas L. Downey on 6 July 2004
A group of old student photos. Many are of the class of 1896 National Normal School, Lebanon, Ohio provided by Bill Bronsch on 7 July 2004
Lawrence "Lon" Aubrey Stuart Collection contributed by Kenneth Lawrence Crow
Cards, photos and papers acquired by Lawrence Aubrey Stuart while attended Lebanon University in 1909 and 1910.
Biographical sketch

National Normal University Envelope postmarked Lebanon O. Sep 23 1881
addressed to Mr. J. M. Hallet, Muddy Fork, Clark Co, Ind. [contents unknown]

Contributed by Patricia Jacobi Eurton on 9 Mar 2007 who writes,
"I found this envelope going thru boxes of things that belonged to my Great Grandmother Roerk. Boxes that have been at my house since 1975.
I was lucky enough to get to know her. She died 1962 at Borden IN. At the time I was 9. Muddy fork, Clark Co. IN would be Borden."

Note: The 1893 Alumnal Roster has an entry, "Hallet, E. S. - B.S. '85"

H. Casper Berger 1883 Autograph Book contributed by his grandson, Robert G Berger who writes, "I came accross an autograph book of my grandfather's H. Casper Berger from 1883 with notes of congratulations from fellow classmates. Most are dated in July evidently following graduation. They mention accounting."

Tom Corwin Club ca. 1910

Contributed 13 Mar 2008 by Rod Franz who writes,
" I also have a group picture of the Tom Corwin Club. My grandfather, George Frederick Franz, who must have been a club leader, is holding Corwin's portrait. They are a real serious looking bunch, perhaps a debating society."

Philomathean 1909
Lebanon University
  Harriet Hamilton Autograph Book 1887-1887 contributed by her granddaughter, Mary Wilson Reder
image of carte-de-viste identified as "Lebanon, O. Normal School, about 1868"
contributed by Stephen Altic of Columbus, Ohio from an album of photographs from the 1860s and 70s mostly of people from Union Township, Miami County, Ohio.
Bulletin of Lebanon University 1910-1911 contributed by Ken Daniszewski    21 January 2009
see photos of R. Heber Holbrook and the 1910 Scientifics
1 Feb 1872 The Western Star National Normal School Advertisement
8 Dec 1881 Lebanon Gazette National Normal University Buildings
11 May 1882 Lebanon Gazette Normal University Students
3 Aug 1882 Lebanon Gazette Miss Abbie C. McKeever
10 Aug 1882 Lebanon Gazette National Normal University
21 Jul 1888 Lebanon Gazette The University Laundry
20 Dec 1888 Lebanon Gazette Normal University
23 Jun 1892 Lebanon Gazette National Normal University branch at Knoxville
8 Sep 1892 Lebanon Gazette Alfred Holbrook & Eason Thompson Wedding
20 Oct 1892 Lebanon Gazette Will it Go - Proposed Removal of the National Normal University to Columbus
20 Apr 1893 The Western Star The Holbrook Normal College at Knoxville, Tenn.
11 May 1893 The Western Star

THE NORMAL FAILS; The Oldest and One of the Largest Normal Schools in the Country

1 Jun 1893 The Western Star The National Normal University Again on a Sound Financial Basis
29 Jul 1897 The Western Star The National Normal University Is in Better Shape than Ever Before
12 Dec 1901 The Western Star New Manager for the National Normal University and his name is Stilwell
4 Aug 1910 The Western Star Fifty Fifth Commencement Of Lebanon University (added 8 September 2007)
4 Aug 1910 The Western Star University Placed on Accredited Lit Through Hawkin's Bill (added 8 September 2007)
24 Jul 1913 The Western Star Lebanon Normal University Will Open First Week in September under New Management
13 Sep 1917 The Western Star "What are the leading facts in the history of the Lebanon Normal School"
31 Jan 1918 The Western Star The Lebanon University Sold
15 Jun 1933 The Franklin Chronicle New College At Lebanon Formally Opened on Monday
10 Aug 1933 The Franklin Chronicle Enrollments Increase at Alfred Holbrook University
undated unknown newspaper Rev. H. W. Tate Biographical Sketch

Anna Maria Sophia (Brammeier) Harms Photo Album

photos of Elizabeth Anderegg, Ira F. Bigony, Lizzie Bowyer, Anna Maria Sophia Brammeier, Mrs. Irene Clark, Emma Daily, Frank B. Finney, L. M. Henderson, Alfred Holbrook, E. N. Lake, W. F. Perry, Leander G. Pope, H. H. Tye & two unknown students
National Normal University Class of 1889?
National Normal University 33rd Commencement Program, College of Liberal Arts, August 17, 1888

Taken July 26, ‘94

Catherine "Kate" M. (nee Graham) Evans Photo Album

contributed 5 Nov 2015 by Gayle Graham Low, the great great granddaughter of William and Melissa (Miller) Graham


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The school had about 80,000 graduates. The names of a small handful of them (as submitted by researchers or as posted elsewhere on the internet) are listed below. The list is slowly growing. If you would like to add your ancestor to this list, send an email to Arne H Trelvik with whatever information you might have about their attendance at the school. I'd be happy to include a photo and short bio if you have them.

Students listed at the "Southwest Normal School" in the 1870 census
Students listed at the "Normal School" in the 1880 census
Register of Students 1909-1910
unknown students (can you help?)


Adkins, Akers, Aldridge, Alexander, Allen, Anderegg, Angle, Armstrong, Arnold, Atkinson, Aultman, Axtine, Ayres


Bain, Baker, Baldwin, Bangham, Bartlett, Barwise, Batterson, Battin, Beachler, Beekman, Bean, Beeny, Behymeyer, Belch, Beller, Belknap, Benedict, Benham, Bennett, Berger, Berry, Biel, Bigony, Bilyeu, Bishop, Blackford, Blair, Blaisdell, Blake, Bobbitt, Boden, Boggess, Bone, Boudinet, Bovey, Bower, Bowles, BowmanBowyer, Brady, Bradley, Brammeier, Brandon, Brant, Brate, Brattain, Breese, Brewer, Brewster, Bridwell, Brigham, Briton, Brittain, Brodbeck, Brouse, Brown, Brumbaugh, Bryant, Buchanan, Buchman, Buel, Burdine, Burgess, Burns,


Cadwallader, Caldwell, Campbell, Carey, Carle, Carpenter, Carrey, Carson, Cass, Castle, Cavanaugh, Caywood, Chandler, Chaney, Chapman, Cheek, Chilton, Choguill, Christie, Clark, Clodfelter, Close, Coe, Colbert, Cole, Collard, Collett, Collins, Colville, Conger, Conlon, Conner, Constable, Cook, Cooper, Conrey, Corcoran, Corrington, Corson, Corwin, Cosby, Counts, Covault, Cowan, Crane, Crawley, Creager, Crispin, Crockett, Cromer, Cronebach, Crosley, Crumley, Cunningham, Curles/Curless, Currey, Cusick, Custer,

D Dailey, Dakin, Davis, Davison, Day, Dearth, Deatherage, DeBolt, Deegan, Deeter, Delaplaine, DeMar, Dillon, Dodds, Dolan, Downer, Downey, Drake, Dreher, Drushel, Duke, Duncan, Dunham, Dunlap, Dunn,

Earnhart, Eckmann, Eddy, Edwards, Eilenberger,  Elliott, Ellis, English, Evans, Ewing,

F Farlow, Fawley, Feyh, Fields, Finch, Finefrock, Finney, Fisher, Fitzgerald, Fitzpatrick, Flannagan, Fleming, Fletcher, Florea, Fortney, Frank, Franklin, Franz, Fraser, Frazier, Fred, Freeman, French, Frey, Frye, Fuller, Fulton, Funk, Furbee,

Gallaher/Gallagher, Gant, Gay, Gaston, Gaynard, Gelvin, Gerrard, Gibson, Gilleylen, Gill, Gillespie, Gilmour, Givens, Glass, Gobel, Goldsby, Gomie, Good, Gorman, Graber, Grady, Graham, Greathouse, Greely, Grimes, Grisell, Groff, Grose, Gustin,

H Hadley, Haines, Hale, Hall, Hamilton, Hamond, Hampton, Hancock, Harless, Harman, Harmon, Harper, Harris, Harrison, Hart, Hartsock, Harvey, Hasting, Hatfield, Hathaway, Hatt, Hawk, Hawkins, Hazlett, Hecox, Hedrick, Hehr, Heizer, Hemenway, Henderson, Henkle, Hess, Hetsler, Hewitt, Hickel, High, Highee, Hill, Hillis, Hirsch, Hittson, Hizar, Hoff, Holbrook, Holder, Holmes, Holzlin, Hooker, Hopkins, Hoppe, Hopping, Horne, Houf, Houston, Howell, Hudson, Hufford, Hughes, Hull, Humbrecht, Humphrey, Hunt, Hunter, Hynes,

Ihrig, Ingram,  Iorns/Irons, Irwin,

J  Jackson, James, Jameson, Jarratt, Jarvis, Jeffrey, Jenkins, Jessee, Johnson, Johnston, Jones, Jordan, Joseph, Joyce, Jury,

Karnes, Kaucher, Keaton, Keeler, Keever,  Keller, Kelly, Kelsh, Kemper, Kendall, Kerr, Kimble, Kincannon, King, Kinsey, Kirkpatrick, Knapp, Knight, Koogle, Kuhn,


Ladley, Lake, Lambert, Land, Larrabee, Laughlin, Lawther, Leaverton, Lee, Leftwich, Leonard, Lewis, Liddil, Liming, Logan, Loomis, Ludlum, Ludy, Lupton, Lux, Luzadder, Lyons,

M MabonMaddock, Malone, Malsbary, Marlatt, Marrs, Marshall, Marstiller, Martin, Mason, Matthews, McBride, McCartney, McClellan, McClelland, McClung, McCormick, McCune, McDonald, McDougle, McGregor, McGrew, McIlwain, McLucas, McKay, McKinney, McKeever, McSpadden, McVey, Medsker, Meeker, Meier, Meloy, Mendenhall, Merrill, Merritt, Messenger, Milhollin, Milburn, Miller, Milligan, Minnis, Mitchell, Moore, Monfort, Montgomery, Moore, Morgan, Morris, Morton, Mote, Mounts, Mulford, Mull, Muttart, Myers,
N Nations, Neal, Neighbors, Nesbit, Nelson, Neuhaus, Newman, Niles, Nixon, Nizon, Noble, Noblett, Noblitt, Norris, Null,
O   O'Day, O'Flaherty, O'Flarity, O'Neal, Odell, Ogle, Olander, Ollinger, Osborne, Owens,
P Pantall, Park, Parker, Pate, Patterson, Paxton, Payne, Pearson, Penn, Perkins, Perry, Peters, Peterson, Pettway, Petty, Pflaumer, Pflumner, Pheanis, Phillips, Pickett, Pierson, Platte, Pociey, Polluck, Polly, Pomeroy, Pope, Porter, Pratt, Price, Prickett, Pruitt, Pugh, Purdy, Pyle,
Q QuayleQueener, Quicksall,
R Ralls, Randolph, Raynham,  Reason, Rees, Reeves, Rehl, Reid, Renip, Retallick, Reynolds, Rice, Richard, Richardson, Rick, Riggs, Riley, Ringer, Rinker, Ritz, Robb, Roberts, Robertson, Robinson, Robison, Roby, Rogers, Roll, Rosenthal, Rosnick, Ross, Roth, Rowland, Ruffner, Rundle, Russell, Rutledge,

Schaefer, SchellSchneider, Scofield, Scott, Scoville, Scurlock, Seal, Secore, Selby, Sellers, Sexton, Shade, Shambaugh, Sharp, Shaw, Shawhan, Sheppe, Sherritt, Shinn, Shoemaker, Shreve, Shultz, Sievers, Siler, Simonton, Simpson, Slye, Smith, Snell, Snider, Snook, Sours, Spriegel, Stanley, Steddom, Steele, Steinhauser, Stephan, Stephens, Stevens, Stevenson, Stewart, Stillings, Stillwell, Stitt, Stocker, Stokes, Stork, Strawn, Strickland, Strong, Stuart, Stultz, Sturgeon, Suddarth, Suemening, Swetnam,


Tate, Taylor, Terry, Thomas, Thompson, Tigar, Timm, Timon, Titchenor, Todd, Toll, Tribby, Trindale, Tubb, Tucker, Turner, Tuttle, Twenhofel, Tye,

V Vail, Van Cleve, Van Pelt, Van Winkle, Vance, Venable, Vogel, Vogely, Voorhis,
W Wade, Wales, Walker, Wallis, Walton, Ward, Warner, Warren, Weaver, Webster, Weed, Weik, Welch, Welfling, Welker, West, Wheeler, Whitacre, White, Whiteside, Whitmore, Wiley, Will, Willhouse, Williams, Willis, Wilson, Winans, Winegar, Winfield, Winkler, WithersWolcott, Wolfe, Womack, Woolman, Workman, Worley, Wright, Wrightsman,

Yochum,  Young,

Z  Zartman, Zeiders, Zentmyer, Zerfoss, Zimmerman, Zitka,

UNKOWN STUDENTS (return to name index ) Can you identify any of these people?

Image from 1893 Class Photo contributed by Jim Keim on 12 Dec 2003

Unknown Students contributed 20 March 2004 from the Photo Album obtained by Lisa & Don Howell at the Elizabeth (Fisher) Adams Estate Sale


appears to be Morgan Fitzpatrick

perhaps Bert Drake

Class of 1891. Unidentified photos from Benjamin Clark Wood (1868-1929) Photo Collection contributed by Debbie Cervino on 22 Aug 2014

photo by Kratzer
Lebanon, O.

photo by Kratzer
Lebanon, O.

photo by Kratzer
Lebanon, O.

photo by Potter
Mansfield, O
unknown unknown unknown unknown

photo by L. E. Kratzer
Lebanon, O.

photo by Chas. Hayner
Lebanon, O.
unknown unknown        

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NOTICE: All documents and electronic images placed on the Warren County OHGenWeb site remain the property of the contributors, who retain publication rights in accordance with US Copyright Laws and Regulations. These documents may be used by anyone for their personal research. Persons or organizations desiring to use this material, must obtain the written consent of the contributor, or their legal representative, and contact the listed Warren County OHGenWeb coordinator with proof of this consent.

This page created 24 August 2003. Last updated 8 October, 2017
© 2003-2009 Arne H Trelvik  All rights reserved