1870-1913: Launcelot Minor Blackford
"... by precept and example, taught his pupils that cleverness without goodness is not to be desired; that material prosperity is not what makes a man truly rich; that the smallest man in any community is the most selfish man; and that character, based on Christian ideals, is the greatest asset any man can possess …" - 1913 “Whispers” dedication to Launcelot Blackford
In 1870, a strong leader was needed to guide the School as it continued its post-Civil War recovery. Launcelot Minor Blackford was an experienced educator and eager applicant. “Having made up my mind to apply for the appointment, I knew that no time was to be lost and sat up all one night writing to persons of influence whom I knew to ask them to recommend me to the appointing power,” said Mr. Blackford.
During his tenure as Principal, Mr. Blackford, known as Old Bar to his students, transformed EHS into a vibrant, sound, and modern institution. Many of the School’s most cherished organizations were established, among them monitors, literary societies, Missionary Society, student publications, and interscholastic athletics. He believed extracurricular activities would be diversions to keep the boys out of mischief. His legacy survives in the form of the student leadership opportunities he fostered during his tenure.
Mr. Blackford launched a building campaign that would meet the requirements of his vision for a modern school, renovating the main building and constructing two dormitories, Stewart Gymnasium, and Liggett Hall.
After 43 years of devoted and visionary service, Mr. Blackford retired in 1913, having transformed EHS into one of the nation’s top schools.