MOREY, William Carey
A.B. U. Rochester, 1868; Rochester Theological Seminary, 1868-1869; A.M. U. Rochester, 1871; Ph.D. (hon.) Franklin College, 1881; D.C.L. (hon.) Denison University, 1903 and U. Rochester, 1908.
- Professional Experience:
Tutor in Latin U. Rochester, 1869-1870; prof. history & English literature Kalamazoo College, 1870-1872; prof. of the Latin language & literature U. Rochester, 1872-1877; prof. of Latin & history, 1877-1883; prof. of history & political science, 1883-1892; Watson Professor of history and political science, 1892-1920.
Synopsis of the Study of the Roman Law in its Relation to General Jurisprudence (Rochester, 1877); Outlines of Roman Law: Comprising its historical growth and general principles (Putnam, NY, 1884; 5th edition 1891); Rome and the Provinces, American Institute Essays in Biblical Literature (Chicago, 1895); Papers and Addresses by Martin Brewer Anderson, 2 vols. (Philadelphia, 1895); Outlines of Roman History to the Revival of the Empire by Charlemagne (New York, 1901); The Government of New York; its History and Administration (New York, 1902); Outlines of Greek History with a Survey of Ancient Oriental Nations (New York, 1903); Outlines of Greek and Roman History (New York, 1903); Outlines of Ancient History for the Use of High Schools Academies (New York, 1906); High School Ancient History(Toronto, 1909); The Study of Roman Law in Liberal Education (Rochester, 1911); Ancient Peoples; a Revision of Morey’s “ Outlines of Ancient History” (New York, 1915); Diplomatic Episodes; a Review of Certain Historical Incidents upon International Relations and Diplomacy (New York, 1926).
W. C. Morey’s career could be paralleled by those of many professors in his generation. The son of a Baptist minister, he entered the University of Rochester in 1862 but left after his first year to join the Union Army. He served with distinction, first in the infantry and then in the cavalry under the command of General Philip Sheridan (1831-88) in the critical campaigns of 1864 and 1865, taking part in the Battles of the Wilderness and Petersburg and being present at Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865. After his discharge from the army in 1865, having attained the brevet ranks of major and lieutenant colonel, he re-entered the University of Rochester, earning an A.B. degree in 1868 and an A.M. in 1871. After a brief stint as Professor of History and English literature at Kalamazoo College in Michigan, he joined the faculty of the University of Rochester in 1872 where he remained for the rest of his career, retiring in 1920. He was a leading figure in the transformation of the University of Rochester from a 19th century college into a modern university marked by the “treatment of college students as scholars and not merely as pupils,” and was honored by the university for his service in 1930 by naming its Liberal Arts Building Morey Hall. His contributions to the university included his support for ending its identity as a primarily Baptist institution, the diversification of its fixed curriculum by permitting students to choose electives, and the introduction of discipline-based departments. Although he was hired to teach Latin and Latin literature and taught those subjects for fifteen years, his most important legacy to the university was being the founding professor of its history department. His conversion to history was accidental, the result of assigning Justinian’s Institutes to a Latin class, which inspired a life-long enthusiasm for Roman law and its educational value. He instituted one of the first college level courses in Roman law in the United States, which he taught for the rest of his career. He also wrote the first American textbook of Roman law. As the sole professor of history until the appointment of a second faculty member in 1913, he taught the full range of the department’s courses from antiquity to the present as is reflected in the breadth of his publications. Ancient history, however, remained the heart of his teaching and scholarship. He reviewed books on Roman history and Roman law for The American Historical Review and The American Political Science Review and authored a series of successful textbooks dealing with Greek and Roman history that were published by The American Book Company, one of the leading publishers of textbooks of the period, and that were widely used in public and private secondary schools in the United States and Canada during the early 20th century. Their emphasis on the transmission of acquired knowledge, however, gradually rendered them obsolete as the redesign of ancient history courses to emphasize the findings of scholarship and historical thinking mandated by the recommendations of the famous 1907 report of the American Historical Association’s Committee of Seven took hold.
General Catalogue of the University of Rochester, 1850-1911 (Rochester, 1911); Rochester Alumni Review, 3.3 (February – March, 1925), 6.4 (April-May, 1928); Arthur J. May, A History of the University of Rochester 1850-1962, ed. and abr. by Lawrence Eliot Klein (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1977).
Papers: Special Collections, Rush Rhees Library, University of Rochester.