Warhawk Almanac: Albert Salisbury Dies



On June second 1911, Albert Salisbury was pronounced dead at the Sacred Heart Sanitarium in Milwaukee. Salisbury, the fourth president of the Whitewater Normal School (now UW-Whitewater), had taken a leave of absence for health reasons but his death still shook the school community. Salisbury was already an accomplished man when he became the president of Whitewater Normal in 1885. He had been principal at Broadhead High School, served in the army, traveled across the country inspecting schools, and more.[1] While in Whitewater, Salisbury was dedicated to helping his students succeed. The 26 years that Salisbury was president were marked by steady growth, and under his guidance the school was expanded three times.[2] Students also found new ways to get involved on campus; 1901 saw the establishment of the campus newspaper, The Royal Purple. However, it was not all peaceful growth for Salisbury as on April 27th, 1891, the early morning was pierced with the cry “Normal is afire!”[3] The north wing of the school was destroyed by the fire, but it was rebuilt later that year.[4]

Albert Salisbury at his Desk
Salisbury sitting at his desk.
Anderson Library Archives and Area Research, Anderson Library, University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, Whitewater, WI. 

Salisbury was well loved by students and faculty alike, and at his funeral “every seat in church was filled.”[5] His death left the office of the president empty, and so George Shutts was chosen to act as interim for a year until a new president could be found. Though Salisbury was a president and leader for all departments of the Normal School, his passion was for botany. It was his goal to “plant every kind of tree, shrub, and forb that will grow in our climate on the school grounds.”[6] To this day the university has pledged to follow this dream by planting native trees across campus. Overall, Salisbury was dedicated to making this school a better place and distinguishing it as a place of excellence.  

Albert Salisbury
Albert Salisbury.
Anderson Library Archives and Area Research, Anderson Library, University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, Whitewater, WI. 

[1] Mary Janette Bohi, A History of Wisconsin State University Whitewater, 1868-1968, (Whitewater WI: Whitewater State University Foundation Inc, 1967), 68.

[2] “President Salisbury Dead,” Whitewater Gazette, June 8, 1911.

[3] Bohi, Whitewater, 114.

[4] Ibid, 116.

[5] “President Salisbury Dead.”

[6] “The Salisbury Idea” UW-Whitewater Sustainability, retrieved from: https://www.uww.edu/sustainability/campus-initiatives/salisbury-idea.

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