Hood College was founded May 12, 1893, the date of the first meeting of the board of directors, who at that time established The Woman's College of Frederick, now known as Hood College. Meeting at the parsonage of the Reformed Church (now the Evangelical Reformed Church, United Church of Christ) five members of the church established an independent college for women. Their goal was to establish a college that would prepare women for roles both in the home and, if they so chose, the work place. Their guiding principle was that a liberal arts education provides the best preparation for a productive life.
The five men who comprised the board of directors, which was appointed by the Potomac Synod, are recognized as the founders of what today is Hood College. They were: the Reverend Edmund R. Eschbach of Frederick; William H. Lakin of Jefferson, Md.; Adrian C. McCardell of Frederick; John Roller of Harrisonburg, Va.; and Rev. Calvin Slagle of Westminster, Md. One of their first tasks was to call a 28-year-old professor from Pittsburgh, Pa., Joseph Henry Apple, to be the founding president.
The College’s first home was downtown in the building known as Winchester Hall. It first opened its doors to students on Sept. 12, 1893, with 83 students and a faculty of eight.
Following are brief biographical sketches of those men.
The Reverend Edmund R. Eschbach
Rev. Edmund Rishell Eschbach served as the president of the first board of directors of The Woman's College of Frederick, from 1893 until his death in 1910.
At the time of the College's founding, Eschbach was minister of the Evangelical Reformed Church of Frederick, where he had served since 1873. Prior to that he served congregations in Baltimore and Somerset, Pa. The Frederick church was one of the largest and most influential congregations in Maryland. He was active in the Potomac Synod of the Reformed Church, including serving on the board of trustees.
Eschbach was born Nov. 9, 1835, in Chilisguague Township, Northumberland County, Pa. He graduated from Franklin and Marshall College in 1859 and from the Theological Seminary of the Reformed Church at Mercersburg, Pa., in 1861. He was ordained in October 1861.
He died April 15, 1910.
William H. Lakin
William Hilleary Lakin was a well-known farmer and active political leader in Frederick County. He was a member of the Evangelical Reformed Church of Frederick and was serving as a county Commissioner when named to the board of directors of The Woman's College of Frederick in 1893.
He was born Jan. 12, 1830, near Jefferson, Md., and educated at Union School. He served as a justice of the peace for 15 years; was a county commissioner for two terms, including one as president of the board; was a county school commissioner; and was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates.
He died Sept. 2, 1910.
Adrian C. McCardell
Adrian Ceolfrid McCardell was the owner of a prosperous candy company, active in civic affairs and a member of the Evangelical Reformed Church.
As treasurer of the first board of directors of The Woman's College of Frederick, he signed the original lease document for the College's buildings on East Church Street.
His niece, Nellie McCardell, was in the College's first graduating class. His daughter, Pauline McCardell '06, granddaughter Claire McCardell '27, and granddaughter-in-law Phyllis Green McCardell '45 are Hood alumnae; his grandson, Robert C. McCardell, was a member of the Hood College Board of Associates.
McCardell was born Dec. 29, 1845 in Williamsport, Md., and was educated in the Williamsport public schools.
He died March 30, 1932.
Gen. John E. Roller
John Edmond Roller was an officer in the Confederate Army and was with Robert E. Lee at the end of the Civil War in Appomattox. He served in the Virginia State Senate and was an authority on Virginia history. He was a popular lecturer throughout the United States.
Active in the Reformed Church, he served as an officer and director of the church's institutions for many years. In 1893 he was named to the board of directors of The Woman's College of Frederick. One of his five daughters, Frances Lewis Roller Grattan, attended the College in the class of 1897.
Roller, born Oct. 5, 1844, was a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute and received a law degree from the University of Virginia.
He died Aug. 10, 1918.
Rev. Calvin S. Slagle
The Reverend Calvin Shriver Slagle was a minister at St. Paul's Church in Westminster, Md., from 1887 to 1916. In 1893 he was named to the board of directors of The Woman's College of Frederick, serving as a secretary of the board for 15 years.
Born in Hanover, Pa., on Sept. 4, 1856, he was a graduate of Franklin and Marshall College and the Theological Seminary in Lancaster, Pa. He was ordained in 1881 and was active in the Reformed Church, serving as president of the Potomac Synod in 1914.
He died July 20, 1951.
Joseph H. Apple
Joseph Henry Apple was, at 28, one of the youngest men in the nation to be appointed to a college presidency. He organized, developed and led The Woman's College, later named Hood College, for an unprecedented 41 years. Upon his retirement in 1934, he was the oldest living college president in continuous active service at a single institution in the United States.
Apple was born in 1865 in Rimersburg, Pa. He was educated at Franklin and Marshall College, earning his bachelor's degree in 1885, a master's degree in 1888, and an honorary doctorate in 1911. Throughout his lifetime he was active in the Reformed Church, civic organizations and professional education associations.
Apple and his first wife, Mary Rankin Apple, Hood's first woman administrator and vice president, had two daughters. Charlotte died as a child, and Miriam Rankin Apple, who graduated from Hood in 1914, served as librarian of the College until her death in 1950.
Apple's first wife died in 1896 and in 1898 he married Gertrude Harner Apple, who was employed by the College as an English instructor and who is credited with establishing Hood's literary magazine, The Herald. She was responsible for supervising the planting of many of the original trees, shrubs and flowers, which contribute to the beauty of Hood's campus. The couple had three children: Elizabeth Apple McCain and Emily Apple Payne, both Hood alumnae and residents of Frederick; and Joseph Henry Apple IV. Elizabeth later became a long-serving member on the College’s board of trustees.
He died Jan. 17, 1948.