The now digitized 1891 Semi-Centennial Catalog was the first attempt at a comprehensive compilation of Davidson alumni, trustees, and faculty providing far more data than the preexisting lists of Davidson graduates. The Davidson Alumni Association appointed an early committee in June 1886 with the special task of compiling this book with the hope that it would “remind the student of his college life and the friendships there formed, but will also afford him much cause for pride in his Alma Mater and gratification at the results of her first fifty years’ work.”
Though the book admits to shortfalls due to incomplete college records, death or unknown whereabouts of students, and the failure of some to respond to letters, it nevertheless marks the first attempt at a comprehensive record of the college’s history. The catalog includes a list of trustees by year, as well as the faculty, before compiling lists of graduates and matriculates by class year. The catalog also lists all honorary degree recipients from the first fifty years, as well as some demographic statistics of the student body.