William Barton Rogers’s ideas for a new kind of scientific institution were well received in Boston in the mid-nineteenth century. In November 1860 a committee chaired by Rogers petitioned the Massachusetts legislature for incorporation of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Rogers summarized his plans in a pamphlet entitled Objects and Plan of an Institute of Technology, the focus of the April Object of the Month exhibit by the Institute Archives and Special Collections. To gain support for the proposed institution, the pamphlet was widely disseminated among civic and commercial leaders, educators, and scientific and literary figures. The proposal was approved by the Massachusetts legislature, and on April 10, 1861, Governor Andrew signed the Act to Incorporate the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Learn more about the Institute’s beginnings and William Barton Rogers, the extraordinary man whose vision made it happen. Rogers’s papers and many documents concerning MIT’s early years are available for research in the Institute Archives, 14N-118.