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William Hyde Appleton Papers

Identifier: SFHL-RG6-D03

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of four folders of personal and official correspondence; a notebook titled General Organization, 1890-91, and an organic chemistry examination. Letters addressed to President Appleton transferred from the Edward H. Magill papers. (Box D03/01)


  • Creation: 1890-1891


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research with the understanding that certain confidential materials may be redacted. Please contact the repository for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright has not been assigned to Friends Historical Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in to the Director. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Friends Historical Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by reader.

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.


0.21 linear ft. (1 box)

Language of Materials



This collection contains correspondence, a notebook, and an organic chemistry examination from the papers of William Hyde Appleton, third President of Swarthmore College (1890-1891).

Physical Location

For current information on the location of materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donor: Swarthmore College President's Office

Processing Information

This collection was originally processed circa 1962, at which time materials were sorted, put into folders, and inventoried. In 1998/99, as part of the reorganization of the Swarthmore College Archives, the collection was reprocessed. Items were placed into acid-free folders and identification clarified. One folder was removed from RG6/D02 (the Edward H. Magill collection) and placed in this collection. The collection was reboxed and labeled. A small number of items were transferred to more appropriate locations in College Archives. A complete finding aid was produced.


Finding Aid for William Hyde Appleton Papers, 1890-1891
FHL staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Find It at the Library

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