Q: Originally called Palmyra, this northeast Kansas town now shares a name with a college in Ohio. Both the town in Kansas and the college in Ohio are named after an educator who started universities in both places. What’s the name of this town?
A: Baldwin City (named after John Baldwin, who founded Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio, and Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas)
John Baldwin was an American educator and the founder of Baldwin Institute (later Baldwin University) in Berea, Ohio, which would eventually merge into Baldwin–Wallace College (where KPR’s own Michael Keelan went to school!). Baldwin was also the founder of Baker University and Baldwin City, Kansas. And, he contributed money to start schools in India, which even today are called Baldwin schools.
Born in Connecticut, Baldwin became a teacher in Maryland and Connecticut and then moved to Ohio in the late 1820s. In the 1840s, he opened up the Baldwin Institute in Berea, Ohio. Later, the institution became Baldwin University and eventually merged into Baldwin-Wallace College.
Baldwin moved to Kansas around 1857 and, though he was nearing the age of 60, he helped develop the town of Baldwin City as well as Baker University.
Baldwin was a progressive educator and, despite the social climate of his time, he had no problem teaching blacks and whites and women as equals. This was evident when he opened Baldwin Institute in Ohio, without regard to the race or gender of its students.