Smith, William, 1727-1803Alternative names
Clergyman, educator, playwright.
From the description of Letter to Jasper Yeates, Lancaster [manuscript], 1773 July 15. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 647814474
Physician Joseph Carson taught medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The College of Philadelphia's Medical School, founded in 1765, became known as the University of Pennsylvania, Dept. of Medicine In 1779.
From the guide to the Joseph Carson letters, 1789-1858, 1789-1858, (American Philosophical Society)
Provost of the College of Philadelphia, 1755-1779 and 1789-1791; ordained as a clergyman in the Church of England, 1754.
From the description of Papers, 1755-1803. (University of Pennsylvania Library). WorldCat record id: 155863900
William Smith was born in 1727 in Aberdeen, Scotland, the son of Thomas and Elizabeth (Duncan) Smith. With the support of the Society for the Education of Parochial Schoolmasters, he attended the University of Aberdeen. Smith chose to come to America in 1751 to serve as the tutor of the sons of Colonel Martin of Long Island, New York. Smith had a keen interest in promoting education in the British North American colonies. After reading Smith's proposal, Benjamin Franklin invited Smith to come to Philadelphia to see the new academy and charity school he helped establish several years before. Smith was greatly impressed by his visit to Philadelphia in 1753 and agreed to join the faculty of the school the following year. Before coming to the Academy of Philadelphia, Smith chose to return to England and take Holy Orders in the Church of England.
In May of 1754, William Smith arrived at the Academy of Philadelphia as Rector and chief administrative officer of the institution. He taught logic, rhetoric, and natural and moral philosophy. When the Trustees received a collegiate charter in 1755, Smith became Provost of the College of Philadelphia. He continued to hold this position until the school's charter was revoked in 1779. Smith was an active leader and promoter of the new college. From 1762 to 1763, Smith went on an extensive and very successful fund-raising tour of Great Britain which secured several thousand pounds for both the College of Philadelphia and Kings College, New York (later to become Columbia University).
Smith's educational interests were not confined to the College of Philadelphia. In 1754 he lead the Society for the Propagating Christian Knowledge Among the Germans Settled in Pennsylvania, commonly known as the German Free School movement.
William Smith's activities to promote and support the College of Philadelphia drew him into the fray of Pennsylvania politics. Smith was an astute observer of the political situation and quickly realized that in order to receive the kind of financial support he needed for the College he needed to ally himself with the Penn family, the Proprietors of Pennsylvania. This immediately identified him as an enemy of the provincial Assembly, and of Benjamin Franklin, who had been struggling with the Penns over the control of the colony. Smith's activities, however, made him, and the College of Philadelphia by extension, the focus of the many attacks upon proprietary privilege in Pennsylvania. By the time of the American Revolution, Smith had managed to alienate himself from the mainstream Pennsylvania politics.
After helping to establish Washington College, William Smith returned to Philadelphia in the mid 1780s. When conservatives gained control of the state government a few years later, they re-instituted the College of Philadelphia. In 1789 Smith was called back to his former position, Provost of the College of Philadelphia. It soon became apparent, however, that Philadelphia was unable to support two colleges. In 1791 the College of Philadelphia and the University of the State of Pennsylvania merged and together became the University of Pennsylvania. As part of the compromise necessary to create the new University, Smith was denied any position in the faculty or administration. Smith retired to his country house above the Falls of the Schuylkill in Philadelphia and occupied the last decade of his life in land speculation and the development of canals in Pennsylvania. He died in 1803 in Philadelphia.
From the description of Papers, 1690-1871 (bulk 1748-1804). (University of Pennsylvania). WorldCat record id: 122614729
|Place Name||Admin Code||Country|
|Physics--Early works to 1800|
|Universities and colleges--Finance--Early works to 1800|
|Medical education--United States|
|Libel and slander--Early works to 1800|
|Universities and colleges--History--18th century|
|Stamp act, 1765|
|Universities and colleges|
|Universities and colleges--Sermons|
|Freedom of the press--Early works to 1800|
|Theology Early works to 1800|