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Department of Classics
University of Mississippi

After the Civil War

After resigning from the University in 1857, J. N. Waddel became President of the Presbyterian Synodical College in LaGrange, Tennessee. Following the war, he returned to the University of Mississippi as Chancellor of the University. Rev. John J. Wheat was appointed Professor of Greek and Alexander J. Quinche, Professor of Latin. The only other faculty member when the University reopened in 1865 was Gen. Claudius W. Sears who was Professor of Mathematics. The terrible experiences of the war and the fact that most of the new students were older resulted in a more sober and serious student body in the post-war years. Waddel served as Chancellor until 1874 when he resigned to become Chancellor at Southwestern University in Clarksville, Tennessee.

Chancellor Waddel, Professor Wheat and other faculty on the steps of the Lyceum in the late 1860s

On the occasion of its quarter-centennial celebration (June 25, 1873), Waddel wrote the first history of the University of Mississippi. In it he discussed the growth of the university as well as its often difficult relations with the state legislature. He cited, for instance, Gov. John J. McRae’s message to the legislature of 1856 in which it was calculated that the state owed the University Fund, at that time, $1,077,790.07. In 1869, with the approval of the Board, Waddel undertook a tour of other universities to study their facilities and curricula. He visited Harvard, MIT, Amherst, Yale, CUNY, Princeton, Brown, Michigan and Georgia. Influenced especially by Michigan and Harvard, Waddel urged the adoption of an elective curriculum which gave to the students a great amount of choice in the courses they took. Aside from this Historical Discourse of 1873 and his Memorials of Academic Life, Waddel wrote two other books–Moral Courage (1869) and The Evils of Unsanctified Ambition (1870).

Returning to the saga of the faculty, Rev. Wheat came from Copiah County, Mississippi and had studied at Hanover and Centre Colleges. His mother was a member of the Millsaps family and he was a Methodist minister. His interests ran to etymology and mythology as well as philology. He briefly served as Acting Chancellor in 1874. Quinche was of Swiss-Hugenot ancestry and came from Minnesota. He was educated at CUNY and received his degree from Columbian University (now George Washington University) in Washington, D.C. He served as custodian of the University buildings during the Civil War and is credited with saving them from destruction owing to the fact that he had lived in Illinois where he had known members of General Grant’s family. Grant is said to have ordered his men to guard the buildings of the University. Quinche is also credited with setting the outline of courses to be taken to fulfill the requirements for the M.A. in Latin. He continued as Professor of Latin until his death in 1889. His daughter was one of the first eleven women to enter the University in 1882.

In the post-war era the entrance requirements in Latin were reduced since fewer and fewer young men had adequate preparation. A. H. Whitfield was Adjunct Professor of Greek from 1872 to 1874 after which he practiced law and became Professor of Law at the University. He later served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Mississippi. The importance of Classics in the Reconstruction-era curriculum is revealed in the fact that the commencement exercises of 1876 included a Greek Salutatory address spoken by S. A. Witherspoon of Oxford.

In 1889, the chairs of Latin and Greek were again combined and Professor Addison Hogue took responsibility for both languages. Hogue had previously taught at Hampden-Sydney College. During his tenure Roman history and religion were added to the course offerings. He was author of The Irregular Verbs of Attic Prose (Boston, 1889).