Samuel Findley was born in 1818 in West Middletown, Pennsylvania. In 1862, he was invited by George Woods to join the new Western University of Pennsylvania as Professor of Rhetoric, a position he held until 1865. Findley was a graduate of Franklin College in Ohio, and the Allegheny, Pennsylvania theological seminary. Ordained in October 1842, he served as a clergyman before becoming Principal of a succession of institutions, including Edinburg Academy in Wooster (Ohio), Chillicothe Female College, and Madison College. In 1857 he became the pastor of the Sixth Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, a position he resigned five years later when he accepted the professorship at Western University. From 1859 to 1861 he was the editor of the Pennsylvania Teacher.
After leaving Pitt, Findley became Chaplain and Professor in the Western Military Academy at Dayton, Ohio, and the pastor of the Fourth Presbyterian Church (also in Dayton) and remained there from 1865 to 1870. In the years following he was employed as pastor in a number of other churches in Ohio. He was a member of the American Entomological Society and published Rambles among the Insects in 1878. He died in Roxabell, Ohio, on November 2, 1889.
Edward Payson Crane was born in Jefferson, NY, on March 6, 1832. In 1851 he graduated as the English salutatorian from the University of the City of New York, and then from the Union theological seminary in 1855. As an ordained Presbyterian minister, he served as a pastor in New York and Florida from 1855 to 1861. Between 1861 and his time at the university, he did missionary work in parts of Florida. In 1866, Crane was appointed as the Provisional Professor of Latin Language and Literature to replace Samuel Findley. He would later be titled the Professor of Latin and Rhetoric.
Dorville Libby graduated from Bowdoin College in 1862 and was selected to deliver the class oration. He was described as a “courtly, scholarly, kindly man,--on all respects a gentleman,--beloved by all who know him.” From 1863-1865, he was the Principal of the Preparatory Department at the University of Pittsburgh. In the summer of 1868, while on vacation in Kansas, and (according to his obituary in The Pacific Unitarian) “while watching the glory of the setting sun, he suddenly determined to follow the glow and settle in California.”
In San Francisco, he met Bret Harte, who had just begun a new magazine, The Overland Monthly, where Libby published a much cited and reprinted essay in February 1869, “The Supernatural in Hawthorne.” A year later, he met John Muir at Yosemite and began a long and close friendship. Libby made two ascents of Mt. Shasta and one of Mt. Hood. He placed the Sierra Club cylinder on Freel Peek. According to the Bowdoin College obituary, “all the lofty peaks and mountain lakes above Lake Tahoe knew him and gave him their treasures for thirty summers.”
Libby signed the articles of incorporation for the Sierra Club in 1892, and he served both on the club’s Board of Directors and as the Chairman of the Committee on Publications and Communication. John Muir’s library contained a number of schoolbooks, including rhetorics and grammars, that were most likely gifts from Libby. In San Francisco, Libby served as the head of the “literary department” of the A.L. Bancroft & Co. publishers, and as the Pacific Coast manager of D. Appleton & Co.
I.N. Forner came to the Western University of Pennsylvania in 1867 to replace Dorville Libby. Like many of his colleagues, he served many administrative functions during his tenure. In addition to the teaching of English, Forner was Principal of the Commercial Department of the University, which taught the skills of Penmanship, Book-Keeping, and Accounting, as well as other areas of Business.