Biographical / Historical
William Hyde Appleton was born in New England on June 10, 1837. A student of Edward H. Magill in Providence, RI, he went on to graduate from Harvard in 1864. After graduation, Appleton studied law and received the degrees of Master of Arts and Bachelor of Laws from Harvard. He remained at Harvard for two years as an instructor in Greek before travelling abroad to study in the German universities.
In 1872, upon his return from Europe, he again met Edward Magill, then President of Swarthmore College. Dr. Magill was seeking a teacher for the Greek and German departments, and Appleton accepted the position. After teaching at Swarthmore for ten years, he was given a year's leave of absence to study abroad. In 1882, after reading about a fire at Swarthmore, he returned to resume his work at the College.
After Edward Magill's retirement, Appleton reluctantly became acting president of Swarthmore College in 1889 and was appointed to become permanent president in 1890. However, he declined the position, preferring to teach. The Board of Managers in December 1890 selected William Dudley Foulke of Indiana, and his inauguration was planned for March 1891. However, before that date, personal reasons required Foulke to withdraw his acceptance. Under the urging of the Board of Managers, Appleton agreed to serve as president until his successor was found. In September 1891, Charles De Garmo was selected to be the fourth President of Swarthmore College, and Appleton quickly returned to teaching. Appleton's teaching career spanned from 1872 until 1909, and at various times he taught Greek, German, English, and Literature. In 1900 he married Esther Townsend Moore, an 1872 graduate of Swarthmore College. She had taught in the College's preparatory department after her graduation and worked as secretary to the College President and registrar from 1889 to 1900. William H. Appleton died on April 3, 1926, in Philadelphia, Pa., and his widow died in 1934 in Baltimore, Md.