The Faculty History Project documents faculty members who have been associated with the University of Michigan since 1837, and the history of the University's schools and colleges. This project is part of a larger effort to prepare resources for the University's bicentennial in 2017. Find out more.

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Memorial

Andrew Ten Brook
The Michigan Alumnus 155-157

PROFESSOR TEN BROOK

Professor Ten Brook (of whose death brief mention was made in the 
last number of the Alumnus) was the last surviving member of what may be 
regarded as the original Faculty of the University of Michigan. The valu
able service that he rendered to the cause of education and religion makes 
it eminently proper that a somewhat extended notice of his life and services 
should appear in the Michigan Alumnus.

Andrew Ten Brook was born in Elmira, N. Y., Sept. 21, 1814. As his 
name indicates, he was of Dutch ancestry. He has said that his father contin
ued to speak the Dutch language, more or less, during his life. His grand-
father was reduced from competence to poverty by the depreciation of Continental money. The young man's desire for a liberal education enabled him to surmount the obstacles which poverty placed in his way, so that after six
 years of study, at what was then known as the Hamilton Literary and Theo
logical Institution, he graduated from the Collegiate Department in 1839; and 
two years after, from the Theological Department. In October following his
 graduation he was ordained pastor of the First Baptist Church of Detroit. 
He occupied this position three years, during which time he also edited the
 Michigan Christian Herald, the organ of the Baptist denomination in Michigan.


In September 1844, he was appointed to the chair of Moral and Intellec
tual Philosophy in the University of Michigan. The other members of the Faculty 
at this time were Professors Houghton, Williams, Whiting and Sager. He
 was at this time just thirty years old, and the first graduating class in the Uni
versity came under his instruction. He occupied this chair seven years to the 
satisfaction of the Regents and the students. These years were years of 
struggle, even of conflict, in the history of the University.


In 1851, he resigned his chair and soon after became the editor of the
 New York Baptist Register, published at Utica, N. Y. In consequence of 
the union of this paper with the New York Recorder, he left this position, and
 in 1846, was appointed U. S. consul at Munich in Bavaria. Here he resided
 with his family till the end of the year 1862, rendering acceptable and import
ant service, and at the same time mastering the German language and making 
himself familiar with German literature. 


In 1864 he was made librarian of the University, which position he occu
pied till 1877. During his residence in Ann Arbor Professor Ten Brook 
rendered much acceptable service to the various churches as a pulpit supply, 
 and several times served the Baptist church as acting pastor for months in
 succession, almost without compensation. Since 1877 he has occupied no 
public position except as a temporary pastor, but has given himself chiefly to
 literary work. He has published an octavo volume entitled State Universities 
and the University of Michigan, which the North American Review pro
nounced "a substantial contribution to the history of higher education in
 America." He has translated for a New York publishing house, History of 
the Thirty Years' War, and has written numerous articles on a great variety
 of subjects, for many public journals and newspapers. It is said that he had
 completed, just before his death, the MSS. of a work which has been pronounced by those who have examined it, one of great value. It is to be hoped 
that his death will not prevent its publication. 


Professor Ten Brook was twice married. Two sons died just before reaching mature manhood. His only daughter is the wife of A. E. Mudge, 
a successful lawyer living in Brooklyn, N. Y., an alumnus of the University 
of Michigan of 1866.

Until within a year past, Professor Ten Brook retained, to an unusual 
degree, both his physical and mental vigor; but during the last year of his 
life he suffered from illness and the infirmities of age. He had just com
pleted arrangements for making his home at a sanitarium in Detroit, and had
 scarce entered it, when, perhaps in consequence of over-exertion in removing, 
his strength failed and he passed away. 


Professor Ten Brook was a man of wide and varied learning. His 
knowledge, on a great variety of subjects was remarkably accurate. As a
 writer his style was distinguished for clearness, chasteness and simplicity. 
 He could not write a slovenly or extravagant or obscure sentence. He was 
eminently fair-minded, —little swayed by prejudice, —just and discreet in his 
judgements of men and things. His convictions on moral and religious and 
political subjects were the result of careful study and independent thinking, 
 and were therefore held firmly, but without bigotry or censoriousness towards 
those who differed from him. While thoroughly loyal to the denomination
 to which all his life he belonged, he had the largest charity towards Chris
tians of other faiths. In recent years he was much interested in humanitarian 
work; he was instrumental in the organization of the Humane Society, and 
he did much to promote the spirit of kindness to animals in the children of
 the public schools, being chairman of the educational committee of the Society. 
 All who have been on intimate terms with him, have remarked, during his
 last years, a manifest ripening of the Christian graces of patient cheerfulness
 under trial and disappointment, of kindly charity towards others, and of un-
questioning faith and hope in reference to the future life. 


N. S. Burton