William Hyde Appleton
William Hyde Appleton (1837–1926), a longtime classics professor at Swarthmore, was a former high school student of then-Principal Edward Magill in Providence, R.I. After earning an M.A. and a bachelor of laws degree from Harvard, he remained there for two years as a Greek instructor. In 1872, he again met Magill, by now president of the College, who was looking for a teacher for the Greek and German departments. Appleton accepted the position, which he would ultimately hold for nearly 40 years.
After Magill’s retirement in 1889, Appleton became acting president of the College and reluctantly agreed to formally continue his tenure until a successor was found. His stated priority: to return to his “life work, that of a teacher.”
At various times, Appleton taught Greek, German, English, and literature. When asked to serve as acting president again in 1902, he, not surprisingly, turned down the offer.