North American Scholar

PACKARD, Alpheus Spring

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  • Date of Birth: 1798-12-23
  • Born City: Chelmsford
  • Born State/Country: MA
  • Parents: Hezekiah & Mary Spring P.
  • Date of Death: 1887-07-13
  • Death City: Squirrel Island
  • Death State/Country: ME
  • Married: Frances Elizabeth Appleton, 1827; Mrs. Caroline W. Bartelles McLellan, 1844.
  • Education:

    A.B. Bowdoin, 1816.

  • Professional Experience:

    Tchr. various Maine academies, 1816-9; tutor to prof. Lat. & Gk. Bowdoin, 1824-65; prof, rhetoric & oratory, 1842-5; Collins prof. nat. & revealed religion, 1864-84; coll. Librarian, 1869-81; actng. pres., 1883-4; librarian Maine Hist. Soc.

  • Publications:

    Xenophon's Memorabilia of Socrates (Andover, NY, 1838; 2d ed. 1841).

  • Notes:

    Alpheus Spring Packard was a legend at Bowdoin College, where he taught for 60 years, enjoying one of the longest careers of any American classicist. A famous teacher, he had Longfellow and Hawthorne in his classes. He tended to concentrate his teaching on the intellectual content of the material being read rather than on strict grammatical analysis. He said that teachers are "Like faithful guides we are to show the pupil the most direct path to knowledge and become the companions of his way." Though he published only one edition, Xenophon's Memorabilia, he wrote some 30 educational and historical essays. In 1875 Longfellow paid a moving tribute to him in his poem "Morituri Salutamus," which spoke of Packard's "Honor and reverence and the good repute / That follows faithful service as its fruit."

  • Sources:

    Memorial: Alphaeus Spring Packard 1798-1884 (Brunswick, ME, 1886); Kenneth C. M. Sills, DAB 14:125-6; WhAmHS A6\.

  • Author: Meyer Reinhold