1880s Faculty

Edward Payson Crane continued to serve as Professor of Rhetoric and Logic through the 1880 academic year. Crane first joined the faculty in 1866.   He was Theodore Moses Barber’s senior colleague throughout the 70s and was certainly influential in Barber’s thinking about the place and role of English literature in the undergraduate curriculum.  Crane remained at the University until 1882Theodore Moses Barber

Theodore Moses Barber (1846-1915) graduated from Dartmouth in 1870 to join the university as an instructor in Latin. In his first year, he was asked to edit the College Journal, a monthly publication of the Philomathean Society, a student literary and debating club.  In 1873 he was promoted to Professor and became the faculty secretary. In 1882, as Latin enrollments declined, Barber began to offer courses in rhetoric and in English literature. In 1886, he was listed for the first time (and reluctantly, according to Starrett) as “Professor of Latin and of English.” He was, then, the university’s second Professor of English, following P. V. Veeder. 

Barber was described by his colleagues as “very much of a recluse, and only the students who were good Latin scholars, or who were themselves quiet and sensitive, were permitted to see his collection of rare and valuable etchings.” He led the literary society and, according to one of his students, “he introduced us to Chaucer, Milton, Goldsmith, Pope, Dryden, Coleridge, Keats, and Shelley.”  

James Heard, a Pittsburgh physician and a former student of Barber, tells this story:

The professor would read aloud to us selected passages of poetry or of prose. His pupils would be given reading assignments, and their diction, rhythm, and accent would be commented upon. Following a poor performance, the teacher would read the same selection to the class. This he would do so beautifully that he could always retrieve wandering attention. On one occasion, while a student was reading Shelly’s Adonais to the class, the unlucky youngster was seized by impious and uncontrollable laughter. The repetition of the phrase:

            Oh, weep for Adonais – he is dead!

had tickled his funny bone instead of moving his heart. His laughter was cut short by an angry and caustic rebuke; obviously he thought he would be dropped from the course. But Barber could not hold resentment long. At the end of the term he awarded a cash prize of fifty dollars to the offender.

Barber’s lecture on “The Moon in Mythology and Folklore” was reprinted in the student literary magazine, The College Journal. Barber retired from the university at the end of the school year in 1889.

Rev. P. V. Veeder, D.D., was appointed Professor of Logic, Rhetoric, English Literature and History in 1881, making him the first Professor of English at what would become the University of Pittsburgh. He had previously served as Acting President and Professor of Mental and Moral Philosophy at the City College of San Francisco. (In his first year in Pittsburgh, Veeder taught courses in the “Mental and Moral Sciences,” covering them for their usual Professor, Henry M. MacCracken, who was the new Chancellor-elect.)   

In 1882, in the description of English as a department of study, Veeder is not mentioned. Professor Barber is the faculty member listed as offering instruction in rhetoric and English literature, but he was the senior member of the faculty in this area and so this is not necessarily unusual. Veeder left the university in 1883. He later taught at Lake Forest College and in Tokyo.  

I.N. Forner continued as an Instructor in the Commercial branches until 1885.

George M. Sleeth joined the faculty in 1884 as an Instructor in Elocution, a position he held until 1887. He also served on the faculty of the Western Theological Seminary as an Instructor in Elocution.

J. P. Stephen replaced Sleeth as an Instructor in Elocution in 1889.