1840The arrival of what would be the Monon Railroad at Bloomington (left) made IU conveniently accessible for the first time. The Civil War, however, siphoned off students and professors and sent the university into a holding pattern for the duration.

By 1867, the number of IU professors had increased to eight. Two developments that year set the stage for future expansion: Sarah Parke Morrison became the first woman admitted on an equal basis with men, and the state of Indiana committed to providing regular funding for the university. The annual appropriation helped stabilize IU's erratic income.


The disastrous fire of 1883, which destroyed IU's Science Hall (smaller building), pushed IU to move to a far more spacious campus east of Bloomington.


1840 Indiana University Campus

1841 New U.S. President Harrison, the former governor of Indiana Territory, gives a lengthy inaugural address in icy weather; he dies a month later of pneumonia.

1842 IU's 1,500-book library is catalogued by President Andrew Wylie's cousin Theophilus Wylie, a science professor, minister, inventor, diarist, historian, artist, and photographer. IU's School of Law is established, with circuit court judge David McDonald giving classes four months a year.

1845 Failure of the European potato crop, especially in Ireland, kills millions. Hunger and political unrest will spur widespread emigration to America and elsewhere.

1846 Last group of Native Americans in Indiana, the Miami, are forced to leave for Kansas.

1848 Victorious in the Mexican War, the United States buys much of its present Western territory from Mexico for $15 million. IU now has six professors and nearly 100 students.

1849 Harriet Tubman becomes a conductor on the Underground Railway. Safety pin patented by New York inventor Walter Hunt. Formation of IU's first continuing fraternity, Phi Delta Theta.

1850 New Albany, with its Ohio River port facilities, is Indiana's largest city in the 1850 census.

1851 First "normal" (teacher education) curriculum is added to IU catalog. IU President Andrew Wylie dies of pneumonia following a wood- chopping accident.

1852 Publication of Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe, helps galvanize U.S. opposition to slavery. Elisha Otis invents the safety elevator.

1853 Completion of the Wabash and Erie Canal, the nation's longest. Soon railroads will make canals obsolete.

1854 First rail connection, the New Albany & Salem (later called the Monon), comes to Bloomington. Fire destroys IU's largest building; it will be replaced in 1855.

1855 Florence Nightingale organizes pioneering nursing work during the Crimean War. James Oliver of South Bend invents a "chilled plow" with a strong, smooth steel working surface. By 1880 he will own the largest plow factory in the world.

1856 The I.M. Singer sewing machine company pioneers trade-in allowances and installment buying.

1859 Charles Darwin publishes his Origin of Species.

1861 Abraham Lincoln is inaugurated as U.S. President, and Civil War begins. At least 262 IU alumni and professors go to battle, including geologist Richard Owen (son of New Harmony's founder), who will return to IU in 1863. Indianapolis grocer Gilbert Van Camp receives an Army contract for canned pork and beans (his wife's recipe).

1862 Dr. Richard Jordan Gatling of Indianapolis patents the world's first effective machine gun. His aim is to make a weapon so destructive that war will become unthinkable.

1863 IU's trustees and faculty demand preapproval of all student speeches and invited speakers at literary society meetings. Free speech will win out after many tense months.

1864 Death of General Lucien Greathouse, A.M. '60, near Atlanta. William T. Sherman will later call the 22-year-old officer the war's greatest hero. The Ku Klux Klan is founded.

1865 Lee surrenders at Appomattox; Lincoln is assassinated. Austrian monk Gregor Mendel gives a paper explaining the basic laws of heredity. Alfred Nobel perfects dynamite.

1867 IU begins receiving an annual state appropriation and also begins to admit women. Baseball makes its debut on campus, along with The Student (later the Indiana Daily Student).

1868 William and James Showers buy out their father's interest in a Bloomington cabinetmaking business for $300. Eventually Showers Brothers will become the world's largest furniture factory. Christopher Scholes of Milwaukee patents the first practical typewriter; IU will be persuaded to buy one in 1881 (for $100).

1869 Completion of the Suez Canal and of the Transcontinental Railroad; founding of the private Indiana Medical College in Indianapolis. Sarah Parke Morrison becomes IU's first woman graduate.