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Faces Behind the Places of DePauw University

This guide includes historical information about the people behind DePauw University's building names.

William C. Larrabee

                                                                  William C. Larrabee
                                                                  December 23, 1802 – May 4, 1859

William C. LarrabeeLarrabee was one of Indiana Asbury University’s first professors, serving as the chairman of mathematics and taught the natural sciences from 1841 to 1852. He even served as acting president for the year of 1848-49, during which time he introduced reforms to systemize the course of studies. After 10 years on the faculty, Larrabee left Asbury to become Indiana’s first superintendent of public instruction, having been elected as the Democratic candidate. Larrabee served in the position twice, but non-consecutively.

A licensed preacher, Larrabee gave his first sermon at the age of 19. He earned his degree from Bowdoin College in 1828 as second in his class of twenty. Early in his education career, Larrabee served as principal at Maine Wesleyan Seminary, Wesleyan University, and the Oneida Conference Seminary. Additionally, Larrabee served as a delegate to the general conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. An appointed chaplain of the Regiment of Artillery, Larrabee served as a member and secretary of the board of visitors of the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Larrabee married Harriet Dunn in 1828. Together they founded the Greencastle Female Collegiate Seminary. In Greencastle, they were known for their Gothic Revival home dubbed Rosabower, named in remembrance of their beloved daughter Rosa who died young. Her grave was originally located in the Dells, but was later relocated to Forest Hill Cemetery. As a lover and creator of literature, Larrabee wrote multiple books on history, religion, and science. His most prominent book was titled Rosabower, a book of essays, reminiscences, and emotional pieces. Between his position at DePauw and as the superintendent of public instruction, Larrabee spent six months as the editor of the Ladies’ Repository, a Methodist monthly magazine of which he was a longtime contributor.

Sometime before 1871, Larrabee’s contributions to the university and the Greencastle community were honored by the city with a street named after him.