North American Scholar

THACHER, Thomas Anthony

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1815-01-11
  • Born City: Hartford
  • Born State/Country: CT
  • Parents: Peter & Ann Parks T.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1886-04-07
  • Death City: New Haven
  • Death State/Country: CT
  • Married: Elizabeth Day, 16 Sept. 1846; Elizabeth Baldwin Sherman, 1 Aug. 1860.
  • Education:

    A.B. Yale, 1835; study in Germany & Italy, 1843-5; LL.D. (hon.) Western Reserve U., 1869.

  • Professional Experience:

    Tchr. New Canaan, CT, 1835-6; with two schools in GA, 1836-8; tutor Yale, 1838-42; asst. prof. Lat. & Gk., 1842-3; Lat., 1843-51; prof. Lat., 1851-86; mem. CT Bd. Educ; mem. Comm. for Building Yale Art School; ed. Webster's Diet, of English Language, 1847-64.

  • Publications:

    Cicero De Offlciis (New Haven, 1850); A Discourse Commemorative of Prof. James L. Kingsley (New York, 1852); A Sketch of the Life of Edward C. Herrick (New Haven, 1862); Johan Nikolai Madvig, A Latin Grammar for the Use of Schools, trans. Rev. George Woods, 1st Am. ed. rev. & ed. Thacher (Boston, 1871).

  • Notes:

    Thacher was a true Yale man, descended from Rev. Thomas Buckingham, one of the founders of the college that became Yale, and he married the daughter of President Jeremiah Day. Once returned from teaching in Georgia, he left New Haven only for two years of study in Germany and Italy. He seemed to have very little interest in publication and devoted his energies to the affairs of Yale, involving himself in the interests of alumni, faculty, and students. He supported the notion of a graduate program in the humanities and was feared as a college disciplinarian, though he took a sensitive interest in the affairs and concerns of the students. In the words of C. W. Mendell, "A teacher always, rather than an investigator, he seems even to have had a slightly suspicious attitude toward those who gave too much time to research. Even in his teaching he was possibly too much of a disciplinarian and was sometimes thought to stick too rigorously to the grammar. ... He played a larger rĂ´le in the building of modern Yale than that of any one of his contemporaries."

  • Sources:

    C. W. Mendell, DAB 18:392-3; NatCAB 11:260; WhAmHS 596.

  • Author: Ward W. Briggs, Jr.