Born in Illinois on 17 July 1838, Harvey C. DeMotte eventually became a prominent Bloomington resident.  In 1856 he entered school at Metamora, Illinois, and in 1859 enrolled at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington.  At Illinois Wesleyan’s 1861 commencement, H.C. DeMotte and Peter Warner each received a university degree and were the first graduates of this institution.  While in college, DeMotte was “chiefly instrumental” in organizing a literary society named the Belles-Lettres Society.   A mere two years after graduating, DeMotte started the university’s alumni association.

After graduation, DeMotte was immediately appointed Professor of Mathematics at the school.   His teaching was interrupted in May 1862 when Governor Yates requested 200 volunteers to join a Union army regiment.  DeMotte entered the army and became First Lieutenant of Company G, Sixty Eighth Illinois Volunteer Infantry.  The enlistment was for three months, and in October 1862, he resumed his work at Illinois Wesleyan University.  During the War, he expanded his duties to become the first music instructor at the Wesleyan.

This collection includes a selection of materials presumably collected by H.C. DeMotte such as newspaper articles, music and literary programs, university programs, Methodist conventions, and more.  DeMotte wrote several of the newspaper articles, including some publicizing the university.