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Thomas Dwight Goodell papers

Call Number: MS 1280

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of correspondence, writings, notes, note cards, printed matter, and sheet music, 1871-1920, documenting the professional and personal life of Thomas Dwight Goodell, professor of Greek at Yale College from 1888 to 1920; and meetings of the Classical and Philological Society of Yale College, 1866-1890.

Goodell's professional writings and research materials concern Greek, meter in Greek and other languages, classical authors, modern Greece, and the nature and value of classical education. His correspondents include prominent classicists, philologists, and writers; the primary correspondents are Basil L. Gildersleeve, William Henry Denham Rouse, and Thomas Day Seymour.

The Thomas Dwight Goodell Papers are arranged in three series:

Series I, Correspondence, contains letters from and to colleagues, friends, and other prominent individuals. A partial list of correspondents is in the first folder.

Series II, Writings, constitutes half of the collection, and consists of Goodell's student writings, professional writings and notes, and poems. Many of the professional writings were published; and there is a set of note cards giving a bibliography of Goodell's publications. The series also contains a book of minutes, and membership lists, of the Classical and Philological Society of Yale College, and a typescript essay by Goodell about the club. Series III, Teaching Papers and Printed Material, consists of a small quantity of course notes and printed examinations, and a few folders of printed research materials.

For further Goodell materials, readers should consult the Horatio Parker Papers at the Yale Music Library. For further materials about Greek at Yale during this period, readers should consult the Seymour Family Papers, MS No.440, especially Series VII, Thomas Day Seymour; and Faculty of Arts and Sciences: Classics, RU 419.


  • 1866-1920


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain. There are no restrictions on use. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Harriet J. Goodell, 1920-1928.


The materials are arranged in three series: I. Correspondence, 1877-1920. II. Writings, 1866-1920. III. Teaching Papers and Printed Material, 1894-1920.


1.5 Linear Feet (4 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


Correspondence, writings, notes, note cards, printed material, and sheet music documenting Goodell's career as a professor of Greek at Yale College (1888-1920), and meetings of the Classical and Philological Society of Yale College (1866-1890). Goodell's writing and research materials concern classical education, Greek language and literature, and modern Greece. Correspondents include Basil L. Gildersleeve, William Henry Denham Rouse, and Thomas Day Seymour.

Biographical / Historical

Thomas Dwight Goodell was born on November 8, 1854 in Ellington, Connecticut and died on June 20, 1920 in New Haven, Connecticut. He was a professor of Greek at Yale College (1888-1920).

Biographical / Historical

Born November 8, 1854, in Ellington, Conn. Died July 7, 1920, in New Haven, Conn.

Thomas Dwight Goodell was born in Ellington, Conn., November 8, 1854, the son of Francis and Sophia Louisa (Burpee) Goodell. His father, who was a farmer, was the son of Thomas and Naomi (Pierce) Goodell. He was descended from Robert Goodell, who was probably of Norman ancestry and born in England about 1606. Robert Goodell married in England Katherine (Kilham?) and sailed with her and three children, Mary, Abraham, and Isaac, for New England on the ship Elizabeth in April, 1634. They settled in Salem, Mass., where other children were born, Thomas Dwight Goodell being descended from the fourth child, Zachariah, who was born in 1640. His ancestor of the fourth generation was Thomas Goodell, who married Sarah Horrell. They were among the first settlers of Pomfret, Conn., and from their eleven children, all but two of whom were sons, are descended nearly all of the Connecticut Goodells and many of those who later emigrated to Vermont and then to the West. Sophia Burpee Goodell's first American ancestor was Thomas Burpee, whose name first appears on the court records of Boston September 8, 1639; he removed to Rowley, Mass., and was made a freeman there in 1647. Her parents were Thomas and Betsey (Temple) Burpee. Her brother, Thomas Francis Burpee, who was Colonel of the 21st Regiment of Connecticut Volunteers in the Civil War and was mortally wounded June 9, 1864, was the father of Lucien F. Burpee,' 79, and Charles W. Burpee,'83.

Thomas Dwight Goodell was fitted for college at the Rockville (Conn.) High School. He was awarded the Hurlbut Scholarship in his Freshman year at Yale, received a third prize in English composition as a Sophomore, in his Junior year was given a first prize in the Winthrop competition and a second prize at the Junior Exhibition, and divided the Scott Prize, and in Senior year received a College Premium in English composition. His appointments were a philosophical oration in Junior year and a high oration at Commencement. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

He had taught school in North Coventry and in Rockville before entering Yale, and upon graduation accepted a position as classical teacher in the grammar school section of the Hartford Public High School, where he remained for eleven years, carrying on at the same time extra work in the Yale Graduate School, for which he received the degree of Ph.D. in 1884. In 1886 he went abroad for fourteen months, matriculating at the University of Berlin and traveling in Greece and Italy. He was appointed assistant professor of Greek at Yale in 1888, and took up his work at the University in January, 1889. In 1893 he was promoted to a full professorship. He became senior professor of Greek in 1909, and since 1912 had been Lampson professor of the Greek language and literature.

He served as professor of the Greek language and literature at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens during 1894-1895, having been given a year's leave of absence by the University. He wrote the Greek Festival Hymn for the Yale Bicentennial Celebration, the music for which was composed by the late Horatio Parker, dean of the School of Music. Professor Goodell had published many books, among them being The Greek in English; First Lessons in Greek, with Special Reference to the Etymology of English Words of Greek Origin, 1886 (revised and enlarged, 1889); Greek Lessons, 1892; Chapters on Greek Metric, Yale Bicentennial Publications, 1901, A School Grammar of Attic Greek, 1902; Greek Lessons for Beginners (with Frederick S. Morrison, '80), 1903; and Athenian Tragedy: A Study in Popular Art, 1920. A volume of poems, entitled Commemoration, was published through the Yale University Press in June, 1921. Professor Goodell had contributed numerous articles and monographs to magazines and philological journals. He was a Congregationalist, and attended the College Church. He served as vice-president of the American Philological Association from 1909 to 1911 and as its president during 1911-1912, and was also a member of the Archæological Institute of America, the Connecticut Academy of Sciences, the Classical Association (British), and the Advisory Council of the Simplified Spelling Board.

He died at his home in New Haven, July 7, 1920, after a brief illness due to uræmia. Interment was in Evergreen Cemetery. Since his death Mrs. Goodell has given to the Archæological Museum of Phelps Hall a valuable group of Greek and Roman antiquities collected by Professor Goodell.

His marriage took place in Rockville, May 9, 1878, to Julia Harriet, daughter of William Wiltshire and Julia Ann (Stebbins) Andross. They had no children. In addition to his wife, Professor Goodell is survived by two brothers, one of whom is Edwin B. Goodell (B.A. 1877, LL.B. 1880), and two sisters. Philip Goodell, '04, and Francis Goodell, '08, are nephews.

Yale University Obituary Record, No. 22, 1921, pp. 99-101.

Guide to the Thomas Dwight Goodell Papers
Under Revision
compiled by John Espy
November 1983
Description rules
Finding Aid Created In Accordance With Manuscripts And Archives Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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