Andrew Boelus Brumbaugh (09 August, 1836–1908) Founder, Trustee, Lecturer
Brumbaugh was born on August 9, 1836 on his family’s farm in Penn Township, Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania. He was the third son of Jacob and Rachel Brumbaugh. From an early age he had a thirst for knowledge and exceled in all that he studied. In his youth he trained himself to be ambidextrous and he learned tailoring which he later used to make his own wedding suit. He also worked as a carpenter. Even with this set of skills, he also prepared for studies in the field of medicine.
To further his education, he enrolled in an academy near Newport, PA and later attended the State Normal School at Millersville. Following his education at Millersville, he taught for a period of nine years in the public schools. After his years as a public educator, Brumbaugh enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania Medical Department.
In 1866, he graduated and became the first member of the Church of the Brethren to earn a medical degree. Dr. Brumbaugh quickly moved to Huntingdon, PA and established a surgical practice in the town. He served as the practicing surgeon for the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Huntingdon and Broad Top Railroad. While living in Huntingdon, he grew concerned over the education of the community. Even though he and his wife were the only members of the Church of the Brethren in Huntingdon, he had strong feelings toward an educational institution created by the Brethren. To spread his idea, he gathered the attention of two of his cousins, H.B. Brumbaugh and J. B. Brumbaugh, and convinced them to move their printing plant to Huntingdon. The addition of his cousins’ weekly pamphlet written for members of the Church of the Brethren, The Pilgrim, he believed would be an asset in recruiting students for the school. The three Brumbaughs then shared the responsibility for beginning the school. H. B. Brumbaugh provided space above his print shop for a classroom. J. B. Brumbaugh supplied living quarters for the teacher. Finally, Dr. Brumbaugh had the responsibility of recruiting students. In fulfillment of his duty, A. B. Brumbaugh enrolled his own son, Gaius M. Brumbaugh, to be one of the three students in the first class in 1876.
In 1877, Dr. Brumbaugh was appointed to a committee responsible for planning the creation of a larger more permanent building for the college. On May 6, 1878, Dr. Brumbaugh wielded the first shovel to break ground on what would eventually become Founders Hall. On November 18, the charter for the Brethren’s Normal College finally passed all of its legal requirements. The following February, Dr. Brumbaugh nominated Jacob M. Zuck to fill the position of Principal and President. Following the death of Jacob Zuck in 1879, Dr. Brumbaugh delivered a prophecy of this school in his memorialization of Zuck’s role. He wrote: “The time will come when the influence of this school movement will be felt from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from the Lakes to the Gulf.”
Beginning in 1883, Dr. Brumbaugh began lecturing on hygiene. By 1885, he was given a weekly time slot on Thursday to discuss the “evils of tobacco and strong drink.” He would also annually give a talk to the male students on the bad effects of masturbation. Dr. Brumbaugh would occasionally help in physiology classes and perform vivisections on stray cats.
In 1890, Juniata’s campus newspaper The Echo, began printing quarterly with Brumbaugh as the editor. In 1891, Brumbaugh continued his mission of improving the school by soliciting donations in The Echo: “The Editor of The Echo wants to receive fifty thousand names to be placed in the secure vaults of the Memorial Hall that their contributions will erect.” By 1896, it became a monthly publication.
He continued to serve on the college’s Board of Trustees and lecture up until his death in 1908. On January 27, 1908 Dr. Brumbaugh died in Philadelphia, PA from an operation for appendicitis.
Frank S. Brumbaugh ‘15
Brumbaugh, Andrew B. “Juniata Echo.” Juniata Echo. November 1891, Volume II, No. I edition.
Chamberlain, Joshua Lawrence. University of Pennsylvania: Its History, Influence, Equipment and Characteristics; with Biographical Sketches and Portraits of Founders, Benefactors, Officers and Alumni. R. Herndon company, 1902.Ellis, Charles Calvert. Juniata College: The History of Seventy Years (1876-1946). Elgin, Ill.: Printed for Juniata College by the Brethren Pub. House, 1947.
Kaylor, Earl C. Juniata College: Uncommon Vision, Uncommon Loyalty: The History of an Independent College in Pennsylvania Founded by the Brethren 1876-2001. Huntingdon, PA: Published by Juniata College, 2001.
Surgical Journal, 1908.
"Andrew Boelus Brumbaugh." The Brethren Encyclopedia. Philadelphia, PA: Brethren Encyclopedia, 1983.