Ticknor, George, 1791-1871

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1791-08-01
Death 1871-01-26
English, French

Biographical notes:

Author, scholar, and educator George Ticknor was one of the preeminent American men of letters of his generation. He was a key figure in education reform, inspired by his extensive travels and studies in Europe, and impacted both Harvard during his tenure and American education generally. He was also a major figure in Boston society, and co-founded the Boston Public Library, to which he willed his impressive personal library of Spanish books.

From the description of George Ticknor letters, 1841-1865, n.d. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 55482639

From the description of George Ticknor letters, 1839-1864. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 60573831

Educator and historian.

From the description of George Ticknor correspondence, 1855 June 29. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 70980620

American educator and author.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Boston, to Harper & Brothers, 1855 Feb. 14. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270572571

American scholar and author.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : [n.p.], to Nathan Hale, [n.d., but paper watermarked 1825 and letter docketed 1827?]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270572580

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Boston, to Commander George H. Preble, 1867 Mar. 16. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270572588

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Boston, to Henry Carey, publisher of Philadelphia, 1828 Feb. 18. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270572574

From the description of Autograph letters signed (2) : Boston, to C. Edward[s] Lester, 1850 Jun. 2 and 23. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270572584

Ticknor received an honorary degree from Harvard in 1814 and taught French and Spanish literature at Harvard.

From the description of Papers of George Ticknor, 1817-1825 (inclusive). (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 76972901

Historian and educator.

From the description of Letters received, 1832-1851. (Boston Athenaeum). WorldCat record id: 14707217

Ticknor was a Boston historian and educator who founded the Boston Public Library.

From the description of ALS, 1852 November 21 : Boston, to an unknown correspondent. (Copley Press, J S Copley Library). WorldCat record id: 16849196

American author.

From the description of Papers of George Ticknor [manuscript], 1818-1870. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 647887397

Ticknor was an American author and educator, who helped to modernize the curriculum at Harvard University. Johann Gottfried Eichhorn (1752-1827) was a German biblical scholar and orientalist who taught at Jena and Göttingen.

From the description of Notes on lectures by Eichhorn : manuscript, 1815-1816. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 612753538

George Ticknor (1791-1871), educator and author, served as the first Smith Professor of the French and Spanish Languages and Literatures at Harvard from 1817 to 1835. After his arrival at Harvard, Ticknor became disenchanted with the school curriculum, characterizing the College as a well-disciplined high school, and began an effort to reorganize the College around four main goals: the division of students in courses according to academic proficiency and merit; the division of the College into departments grouped around related subjects; an elective system from which students could select their own courses above a prescribed minimum; and an open door policy which would allow students who were not candidates for a degree to take specialized courses at Harvard. After lengthy discussion and debate among members of the Corporation, the Board of Overseers and faculty, Ticknor's reform proposals were largely adopted in June 1825. However, the 1825 reform laws withered in the face of resistance by Ticknor's colleagues and by 1827 the reforms were abandoned in the College at-large, except in the Department of Modern Languages, where under Ticknor's direction they were largely successful. Ticknor resigned his professorship in May 1835 after becoming discouraged over the prospects of reform at Harvard College. He spent his remaining years traveling abroad, writing books and articles, and helping to establish the Boston Public Library.

The Smith Professorship of the French and Spanish Languages and Literatures was founded in 1816 under the will of Abiel Smith, a Boston storekeeper and businessman.

From the guide to the Records of the Smith Professor of the French and Spanish Languages and Literatures kept by George Ticknor, 1816-1835 and undated., (Harvard University Archives)

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Subjects:

  • French literature--Study and teaching
  • Authors, American
  • Scholars--Correspondence
  • French literature--19th century
  • Education
  • New Testament scholars
  • Passports
  • Visas
  • Publishers and Publishing
  • Copyright infringement
  • Schools
  • Educators--19th century--Correspondence
  • Compromise of 1850
  • Hymns, English
  • Spanish literature--Study and teaching
  • Slavery
  • Friendship
  • Abolitionists

Occupations:

  • Educators
  • Historians

Places:

  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • England (as recorded)
  • Monticello (Va.) (as recorded)
  • Europe (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Massachusetts--Boston (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Saxony (Germany) (as recorded)
  • Europe (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Europe (as recorded)
  • Massachusetts (as recorded)