1787-1819 Overview


Early History: The Pittsburgh Academy


Replica of the one-room log cabin, home of the Pittsburgh Academy

The University has its roots in the Pittsburgh Academy, a preparatory school that was later chartered as the Western University of Pennsylvania before becoming the University of Pittsburgh.

Founder Hugh Henry Brackenridge’s argument on behalf of the Academy was published in the Pittsburgh Gazette on September 2, 1786. Speaking of the Revolutionary War, Brackenridge said,

THugh Henry Brackenridgehe door of Janus has been long open, presenting battle axes and all the armory of war. The literary education of our youth has been in the meantime neglected. It becomes us to reinstitute the arts of peace, and keep an equal pace with our sister states. I should rejoice to see Pennsylvania at all times able to produce mathematicians, philosophers, poets, historians, and statesmen, equal to any in the confederacy. With the view to this object it will become her to provide for the cultivation of genius in every part of the government. Who knows what portions of the elementary fire may rest in this country; seminaries of learning will bring forth and kindle it to a blaze.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania granted a charter to the Pittsburgh Academy on February 28, 1787.