Smith, William, 1727-1803

Alternative names

Hide Profile

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 He continued to hold this position until the school's charter was revoked in 1779.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

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Smith, William, 1727-1803. Petition, 1759. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Smith, William, 1727-1803. Lecture notes on theology, 1767-1769. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Smith family. Papers, 1757-1861. Historical Society of Pennsylvania
referencedIn Lucien Goldschmidt, Inc. Records, 1930-1991 (bulk 1937-1986). Grolier Club
referencedIn Stauffer, David McNeely, 1845-1913. Scrapbook, 1749-1763. Historical Society of Pennsylvania
creatorOf Smith, William, 1727-1803. Sermon addressed to students, n.d. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Smith, William, 1727-1803. A sermon on diligence in our temporal and spiritual callings : manuscript, 1766. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Carson, Joseph, 1808-1876,. Letters, 1789-1858. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn Rittenhouse, David, 1732-1796. Papers, ca. 1755-1802. Historical Society of Pennsylvania
creatorOf Smith, William, 1727-1803. Papers, 1690-1871 (bulk 1748-1804). University of Pennsylvania, Archives & Records Center
creatorOf Smith, William, 1727-1803. Charter, laws, & regulations for the College, Academy, and Charitable School of Philadelphia, 1771-1789. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection, 1668-1983, Bulk, 1750-1850, 1668-1983 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Brinton, Jasper Yeates, b. 1878. Jasper Yeates Brinton collection, 1696-1916, bulk 1765-1820. Historical Society of Pennsylvania
referencedIn Sam Schaefler historical and literary letters and documents, 1674-1970s Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Houghton Library printed book provenance file, R-Z, and unidentified. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Smith, William, 1727-1803. A charge delivered May 17, 1757 at the first anniversary commencement at the College & Academy of Philadelphia : manuscript, 1757. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Smith, William, 1727-1803. Sermons, 1748-1836. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn U.S. History mss., 1612-1977 Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)
creatorOf Smith, William, 1727-1803. Saffin-Ellis miscellany : manuscript, [ca. 1716-1762]. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Livingston, Robert R., 1746-1813. Miscellaneous manuscripts, 1763. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Stillé, Charles J. (Charles Janeway), 1819-1899. Miscellaneous manuscripts, n.d. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Smith, William, 1727-1803. Account book, 1772. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Smith, William, 1727-1803. First drafts of minutes of the Trustees, 1789-1790. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Smith, William, 1727-1803. Manuscripts, 1765-1774. Historical Society of Pennsylvania
creatorOf Joseph Carson letters, 1789-1858, 1789-1858 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Smith, William, 1727-1803,. Chemistry notebook : manuscript, [1700-1774] / attributed to William Smith. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn American Philosophical Society Archives. Record Group IIa, 1743-1806 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Smith, William, 1727-1803. The substance of a course of lectures in natural philosophy : lecture notes, 1760. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn White, William, 1748-1836. William White papers, 1784-1873. Archives of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland
referencedIn Episcopal Church. Province of Pennsylvania. Convention. (1760 : Philadelphia, Pa.). Minutes, 1760. New-York Historical Society
referencedIn University of Pennsylvania. Accounts, 1762-1763. Historical Society of Pennsylvania
creatorOf Smith, William, 1727-1803. Lecture notes on natural philosophy, 1768-ca. 1778. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Hall & Sellers shop book, 1767-1769, 1767-1769 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Smith, William, 1727-1803. Clipping of protest to Pennsylvania's Assembly, 1788. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Smith, William, 1727-1803. Will, 1803. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Bellamy, Joseph, 1719-1790. Papers of Joseph Bellamy, 1752-1785. Library of Congress
creatorOf Smith, William, 1727-1803. Papers, 1755-1803. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Smith, William, 1727-1803. An act for the continuance & encouragement of the College and Academy of Philadelphia, between 1778 and 1789. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Smith, William, 1727-1803. Letter to Jasper Yeates, Lancaster [manuscript], 1773 July 15. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Hall and Sellers. Shop book, 1767-1769. American Philosophical Society Library
creatorOf Kinnersley, Ebenezer, 1711-1778. Miscellaneous manuscripts (Large), 1757. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Penn, William, 1644-1718. Records of the proprietary government, 1629-1828. Historical Society of Pennsylvania
creatorOf Smith, William, 1727-1803. Commonplace book, n.d. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn John Vaughan papers, 1768 - Circa 1936, 1768 - Circa 1936 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Smith, William, 1727-1803. Account book, 1762-1763. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Washington College (Chestertown, Md.). Records of Washington College, Chestertown, Md., 1782. Library of Congress
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Agassiz, Louis, 1807-1873 person
associatedWith Alison, Francis, 1705-1779 person
associatedWith American Philosophical Society. corporateBody
associatedWith American Philosophical Society. Membership. corporateBody
associatedWith Andrews, John, 1746-1813. person
associatedWith Banks, Joseph, Sir, 1743-1820 person
associatedWith Bard, John, 1716-1799 person
associatedWith Barton, Benjamin Smith, 1766-1815 person
associatedWith Bellamy, Joseph, 1719-1790. person
associatedWith Bond, Thomas, 1712-1784 person
associatedWith Boyd, George, 1788-1850. person
associatedWith Brinton, Jasper Yeates, b. 1878 person
associatedWith Camden, Charles Pratt, Earl, 1714-1794, person
associatedWith Carson, Joseph, 1808-1876, person
associatedWith Clayton, John, 1686-1773 person
associatedWith Colden, Cadwallader, 1688-1776 person
associatedWith College, Academy, and Charitable Schools of Philadelphia. corporateBody
associatedWith Collinson, Peter, 1694-1768 person
associatedWith Columbia University corporateBody
associatedWith Cooper, Thomas, 1759-1839 person
associatedWith Cotes, William. person
associatedWith Coues, Elliott, 1842-1899 person
associatedWith Currie, William, 1754-1828 person
associatedWith Cuvier, Georges, Baron, 1769-1832 person
associatedWith Darlington, William, 1782-1863 person
associatedWith Edison, Thomas A., (Thomas Alva), 1847-1931 person
associatedWith Einstein, Albert, 1879-1955 person
associatedWith Episcopal Church corporateBody
associatedWith Episcopal Church. Province of Pennsylvania. Convention. (1760 : Philadelphia, Pa.) corporateBody
associatedWith Everett, Edward, 1794-1865 person
associatedWith Fergusson, Elizabeth Graeme, 1717-1801. person
associatedWith Fitch, John person
associatedWith Fothergill, John, 1712-1780 person
associatedWith Franklin, Benjamin, 1706-1790. person
associatedWith Genth, F. A., (Frederick Augustus), 1820-1893 person
associatedWith Goldsborough, Charles, 1761-1801. person
associatedWith Gray, Asa, 1810-1888 person
associatedWith Greeley, Horace, 1811-1872 person
associatedWith Hall and Sellers. corporateBody
associatedWith Hall & Sellers. corporateBody
associatedWith Hamilton, James, 1710-1783. person
associatedWith Harding, Warren G. person
associatedWith Hewson, William, 1739-1774 person
associatedWith Houghton Library. person
associatedWith Jay, James, 1732-1815. person
associatedWith King's College (New York, N.Y.). corporateBody
associatedWith Kinnersley, Ebenezer, 1711-1778. person
associatedWith Livingston, Robert R., 1746-1813. person
associatedWith Lucien Goldschmidt, Inc. corporateBody
associatedWith Maskelyne, Nevil, 1732-1811. person
associatedWith McClurg, James, ca. 1746-1823 person
associatedWith Middleton, Peter, 1752-1781 person
associatedWith Milton, John, 1608-1674. person
associatedWith Mitchill, Samuel L., (Samuel Latham), 1764-1831 person
associatedWith Moore, William, 1699-1783. person
associatedWith Newcomb, Simon person
associatedWith Newton, Isaac, Sir, 1642-1727 person
associatedWith Nuttall, Thomas, 1786-1859 person
associatedWith Penn, John, 1729-1795. person
associatedWith Penn, Julianna, 1729-1801. person
associatedWith Pennsylvania. County Court (Carlisle, Penn.) corporateBody
associatedWith Pennsylvania. General Assembly, corporateBody
associatedWith Pennsylvania. Provincial Assembly. corporateBody
associatedWith Penn, Thomas, 1702-1775. person
associatedWith Penn, William, 1644-1718. person
associatedWith Peters, Richard, 1704-1776. person
associatedWith Philadelphia County (Pa.). Register of Wills. corporateBody
associatedWith Poinsett, Joel Roberts, 1779-1851 person
associatedWith Priestley, Joseph, 1733-1804 person
associatedWith Ramsay, David, 1749-1815 person
associatedWith Rittenhouse, David, 1732-1796. person
associatedWith Rush, Benjamin, 1746-1813. person
associatedWith Schaefler, Sam, 1920-, person
associatedWith Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe, 1793-1864 person
associatedWith Seybert, Adam, 1773-1825 person
associatedWith Smith, Charles, 1765-1836. person
associatedWith Smith family. family
associatedWith Smith, Rebecca, 1733-1793. person
associatedWith Society for the Propagating Christian Knowledge Among the Germans Settled in Pennsylvania. corporateBody
associatedWith Sparks, Jared, 1789-1866 person
associatedWith Stauffer, David McNeely, 1845-1913. person
associatedWith Stevens, Henry person
associatedWith Stillé, Charles J. (Charles Janeway), 1819-1899. person
associatedWith Sully, Thomas, 1783-1872 person
associatedWith Thomson, Charles, 1729-1824 person
associatedWith University of Pennsylvania corporateBody
associatedWith University of Pennsylvania. Dept. of Medicine - Faculty. corporateBody
associatedWith University of the State of Pennsylvania. corporateBody
associatedWith Vaughan, John, 1756-1841 person
associatedWith Washington College (Chestertown, Md.) corporateBody
associatedWith Waterton, Charles, 1782-1865 person
associatedWith Wayne, Anthony person
associatedWith White, William, 1748-1836. person
associatedWith Wistar, Caspar, 1761-1818 person
associatedWith Yeates, Jasper, 1745-1817. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
United States
United States
Pennsylvania--Philadelphia
Subject
Physics--Early works to 1800
Universities and colleges--Finance--Early works to 1800
Medical education--United States
Wills--19th century
Education
Libel and slander--Early works to 1800
Universities and colleges--History--18th century
Stamp act, 1765
Medicine
Land titles--Cases
Universities and colleges
Universities and colleges--Sermons
Freedom of the press--Early works to 1800
Theology Early works to 1800
Physicians
Occupation
Scientists
Function

Person

Birth 1727-09-07

Death 1803-05-14

French,

English

Information

Permalink: http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w68g8nbh

Ark ID: w68g8nbh

SNAC ID: 4870855