1819-1860 Faculty


Charles B. Maguire, Professor of Modern Languages and Universal Grammar, was one of Robert Bruce’s original faculty appointments in 1822. Maguire was from Country Tyrone, Ireland. He held a degree from the Catholic University of Louvain, in Belgium. In Rome, he served as Professor of Theology at the College of St. Isadore. In 1815, he was commissioned by the King of Bohemia to go to the court of Brussels to perform a religious office. During the Reign of Terror, it is said, he barely escaped the guillotine.

John Henry Hopkins, 1792-1868

The Rev. Joseph M’Elroy, Professor of Rhetoric and Belles Lettres, was another of Robert Bruce’s 1822 faculty appointments.   M’Elroy was a graduate of Jefferson College. He stayed only one year, leaving to serve as rector of the Scotch Church of New York City, a position he held for 54 years. M’Elroy was replaced by John Henry Hopkins, formerly a teacher in the academy.

John Henry Hopkins served from 1823 to 1831 as Professor of Belles Lettres. He later became the first Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Vermont and the eighth presiding Bishop of the US Episcopal Church. In 1857, he published The American Citizen, a defense of slavery on Biblical grounds. Starrett’s history of the university also includes a poem of Hopkins’ on the education of women:

I doubt the wisdom of the change
Which thrusts our females on a range
Of studies so severe and dry.
Their time ‘twere better to apply
In reading history, travels, poems,
From well-established standard tomes;
And learning every gentle art
Which gilds the home and cheers the heart.

James Thompson was the first of Heman Dyer’s faculty appointments in English.  He joined the faculty in 1846 as Professor of Rhetoric and Belles-Lettres. According to Starrett, at the Western University’s one hundred and tenth anniversary celebration in 1897, the Reverend M.B. Riddle said of Thompson, “It was in the Western University of Pennsylvania that I first met a great teacher. I never can forget what I owe that one man, and I would send my boy four thousand miles to get as good a teacher.”

Charles Elliott

Charles Elliott was recruited to the University of Pittsburgh in 1847 as a Professor of Rhetoric and Belles-Lettres. He received his BA from Lafayette College (1840), his A.M. and D.D. from Ohio University (1861), his LL.D. from Hanover College (1891),  and his B.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary (1841).  He left Pittsburgh in 1849, when the university was closed after the fire, and he went on to a distinguished career at Miami of Ohio, where a building carries his name. When he left Pittsburgh after the fire, he donated several books of “modern literature” to the library, including Carlyle’s Essays, Burke’s Essays on the Sublime and the Beautiful, Emerson’s Essays, Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Audubon’s Birds in the Rockies, Borrow’s Bible in Spain, some novels by Dickens, and some English poetry.

George Upfold

Dr. George Upfold was president of the Western University Board of Trustees. According to Starrett:

Dr. Upfold …emphasized that the University would have no help from the state and that some professors would teach without pay. He set the example himself by giving his services in the teaching of literature and composition….

G.F. Gilmore taught English and classics in the preparatory department.