Joseph Thomas, 1811-1891
A native of Cayuga County, New York, Joseph Thomas was a young and very promising classicist at the time he joined the first Haverford faculty in 1834. He left after teaching just one year to pursue further study at the University of Pennsylvania, but returned in 1852-1853. A distinguished linguist and etymologist, Thomas was known as a stickler for correct pronunciation. Between 1856 and 1873, Thomas worked on numerous reference works for J. B. Lippincott & Co. His involvement with the production of gazetteers gave him opportunities to travel widely; while in India, he was trapped in a fort during the Sepoy mutiny and took up arms to defend himself and others. For this, he was disowned by the Society of Friends. Thomas was later among the founding contributors to Swarthmore College, where he served as professor of English literature.