Lincoln University of Missouri Receives Donation of Valuable Historical Documents

Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri, has received a collection of papers from the family of Richard Baxter Foster. Foster, a graduate of Dartmouth College, was an abolitionist in the antebellum period who had worked with John Brown. When the Civil War began Foster volunteered to become an officer for the 62nd Colored Infantry. After the end of the war Foster moved to Jefferson City and was one of the founders of what is now Lincoln University.

Foster and his family founded Lincoln University in 1866 despite universal opposition from the white population of the city. Soldiers of the 62nd Colored Infantry contributed $5,000 to the new school for freed slaves. Because of their efforts to educate Negroes, the Foster family had no white friends and Foster’s children were not permitted to attend the public schools. Within six years Foster was educating 130 students at Lincoln. He then left to assume the ministry in Kansas. Foster died in Oklahoma in 1901.

The papers recently donated to Lincoln University by Foster’s great-grandson include letters Foster sent to his wife Lucy in the 1863-1865 period while he served in the Union Army.