Lane Theological Seminary was established in the Walnut Hills section of Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1829 to educate Presbyterian ministers.
It was named in honor of Ebenezer and William Lane, who pledged $4,000
for the new school, which was seen as a forward outpost of the Presbyterian Church in the western territories of the United States. Prominent New England pastor Lyman Beecher moved his family (including daughter Harriet and son Henry) from Boston
to Cincinnati to become the first President of the Seminary in 1832.
During this time, the family lived in what is now known as the Harriet Beecher Stowe House.
Lane Seminary is known primarily for the "debates" held there in 1834 that influenced the nation's thinking about slavery.
The event resulted in the dismissal of a group of students, a professor
and a trustee and was one of the first significant tests of academic freedom
in the United States and the right of students to participate in free
discussion. Several of those involved went on to play an important role
in the abolitionist movement and the buildup to the American Civil War.
Following the slavery debates, Lane Seminary continued as a "New School" seminary, cooperating with Congregationalists and others in mission and education efforts and involved in social reform movements like abolition, temperance,
and Sabbath legislation. The seminary admitted students from other
denominations and pursued educational and evangelistic unity among Protestant churches in the West.
At the end of the 19th century, Lane Seminary was reorganized along
more conservative lines. In 1910, it became affiliated with the
Presbyterian Seminary of the South, and the Seminary continued as a
small but respected school, though financial pressures continued to
increase. Following a brief period of growth in the 1920s, it became
apparent that Lane could no longer survive as an independent school. In
1932, it became part of McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago.
While a permanent Board of Trustees for Lane Theological Seminary
remained in service until the Seminary was legally merged out of
existence in 2007,
the faculty, library collections, and students were transferred to
Chicago, and the last remnants of the Cincinnati campus were destroyed