While grammar, rhetoric, and composition were subjects of study at the Western University of Pennsylvania, there was no English department (as we understand the designation) at this time and no formal program in the study of English literature, and this was consistent with other institutions across America. Harvard first granted English departmental status in 1872, and it was not until 1876 that Harvard appointed Francis James Child to its first professorship in English.
In 1862, there were six Professorships at the Western University:
George Woods, M.A., Principal and Professor of Metaphysics and Ethics
Hon. Moses Hampton, Professor of Law
Joseph F. Griggs, M.A., Professor of Ancient Languages
George H. Christy, M.A., Professor of Mathematics
Rev. Samuel Findley, M.A., Professor of Rhetoric
The Professorship of Natural Sciences remained open.
And there were three non-professorial positions:
Alphonse D. Danse, Teacher of the French Language
F.S. Apel, Teacher of the German Language
Glaucus H. Bonnafor, Instructor in Military Tactics
In 1864, George Woods took the title of President of the Western University. In 1873, Rudolph Leonhart was appointed as Teacher of the German Language. Leonhart published several books of fiction and non-fiction, including Adventures of a German Soldier in Virginia (1863). As the faculty grew in size over the period of the 60s, the additions came through new professorships in science and engineering including, for example, the appointment of Samuel Pierpont Langley, who became head of the new Allegheny Observatory in 1867.
The University of Pittsburgh’s Annual Catalogs from the 1860s separated the college curriculum from the “Preparatory” program, a program designed for students not yet ready for collegiate academics. The Preparatory program had three tracks: Preparatory English, Preparatory Classical, and the Scientific Department (for “students who do not wish to study the ancient languages). In 1865, for example, 182 of 222 students in the Western University were in a preparatory program; there was one resident graduate, and the remaining 39 college students were represented by 31 freshman and sophomores and 8 juniors and seniors.