Western Reserve College opened in 1826. It was the predecessor to Adelbert College. The Western Reserve College was the first institution of higher education in what had been the Connecticut Western Reserve. Western Reserve College was closely affiliated with the Presbyterian Church. Religious groups operated most early colleges in Ohio, hoping to instill their students with good moral values and to create missionaries who would help convert new members. Originally established at Hudson, Western Reserve College moved to Cleveland in 1882. It was one of the first colleges in Ohio to admit African-American students.
During the 1820s and the 1830s, Western Reserve College became an important center for anti-slavery sentiment in Ohio. During the early 1830s, abolitionist Theodore Dwight Weld visited the school and recruited several faculty members to the anti-slavery cause. In 1833, Western Reserve College organized the first abolitionist society in the former Connecticut Western Reserve. The school's anti-slavery activities upset many white residents of northeast Ohio. Some of these people believed slavery was wrong but feared that large numbers of African Americans would move to the North, including Ohio, if slavery ended.
During the 1830s, Western Reserve College also built the first collegiate observatory west of the Appalachian Mountains. It was only the second observatory at a college in the entire United States.
Over the years, Western Reserve College's name changed. In 1892, Amasa Stone donated a sizable fund of money to the institution. As a result of this gift, Western Reserve College became Adelbert College of Western Reserve University. Adelbert was the name of Stone's son. In 1967, Adelbert College and Case Institute of Technology merged, creating modern-day Case Western Reserve University.
- Cramer, C.H. Case Western Reserve: A History of the University, 1826-1976. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company, 1976.