Thornwell Jacobs was born in South Carolina in 1877. His grandfather served on the faculty of the original Oglethorpe, founded in 1835 and out of business since the Civil War. Jacobs re-established Oglethorpe University in Atlanta in 1916. He intended it to be a living memorial to Georgia’s founder; the school’s gothic revival architecture is modeled on Corpus Christi College at Oxford, Oglethorpe’s honorary alma mater.
Jacobs tried unsuccessfully to bring Oglethorpe’s remains to Georgia after re-discovering his tomb in Cranham, England. Jacobs’ other innovations included awarding over 150 honorary degrees to the likes of Amelia Earhart and FDR, and the Crypt of Civilization, a time capsule sealed in 1940 that won’t be opened until the year 8113.
The man who re-founded Oglethorpe University and led it for 28 years was born on February 15, 1877, Today in Georgia History.
Thornwell Jacobs wrote an autobiography, Step Down, Dr. Jacobs: The Autobiography of an Autocrat, in 1945.