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The Seven Wise Men were the seven professors who taught at the College after it reopened in 1888. They included Lyon G. Tyler, Hugh S. Bird, Charles E. Bishop, Van F. Garrett, J. Lesslie Hall, Thomas Jefferson Stubbs, and Lyman B. Wharton.

Yellowed, historic photograph of the Six Wise Men, four seated and two standing wearing dark suits
The Six Before the Seventh, circa 1888-1889 (UA 8)

Lyon G. Tyler was originally hired to teach at the College in 1877; however, he left in 1878 because the College could not pay him an adequate salary. In 1887, he was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates and campaigned to have William & Mary reestablished. In 1888, he was hired both as President and professor of moral science, political economy, and civil government; although he was originally hired for only one year, he served in both roles until his retirement in 1919. When the curriculum was changed in 1898, he began to teach American History and Politics.

John Lesslie Hall was hired as the professor of English and History in 1888, while he was still a doctoral candidate. He earned his doctorate from Johns Hopkins University in 1892. When the curriculum was changed in 1898, he taught English Language and Literature and General History.

Thomas Jefferson Stubbs was the master of the Mattey and Grammar School at the College; he then moved to Arkansas and taught at the University of Arkansas for 16 years and was a member of the Arkansas state legislature. He was hired as the professor of mathematics in 1888.

Yellowed, historic photograph of the Seven Wise Men, two seated and five standing wearing dark formal suits and posing in front of a wood door
Seven Wise Men, 1896 (UA 8)

Lyman B. Wharton was ordained an Episcopal priest in 1860 and served as a Confederate chaplain. He originally taught Latin and Greek at the College from 1870 to its closure in 1881. After its closure he became the rector of Bruton Parish Church. In 1888 he was rehired as the professor of languages, and taught Latin, Greek, French, and German. In 1892, Charles F. Bishop was hired to teach Greek, French, and German and Wharton continued to teach Latin.

Van F. Garrett earned a medical degree at Bellevue Hospital Medical College in New York in 1868. He was hired as the professor of natural science in 1888. He later became professor of chemistry and physics and then chemistry alone.

Hugh Bird was hired in 1888, at the age of nineteen, to serve as the professor of pedagogics. When the curriculum was changed in 1898, he began to teach philosophy as well as pedagogics. He was the first of the Seven Wise Men to leave William & Mary, resigning in 1904.

Charles E. Bishop was hired in 1892 to teach Greek, French and German. He had previously earned a doctorate from the University of Leipzig in 1889.

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A note about the contents of this site

This website contains the best available information from known sources at the time it was written. Unfortunately, many of the early original records of William & Mary were destroyed by fires, military occupation, and the normal effects of time. The information in this website is not complete, and it changes as we continue to research and uncover new sources.