History of Tufts College, 1854-1896Start, Alaric Bertrand
B. F. TWEED, A.M.
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN TWEED was born in Wakefield (now Reading), Massachusetts, January 17, 1811.
Up to the age of sixteen he attended a district school, learning the shoemaker's trade during the intervals between terms. He then attended an academy at Lynnfield, Massachusetts, teaching at various district schools during the winter months until 1835.
It was his earnest desire to go to college, but the sickness of an elder brother, together with other conditions in his father's family, compelled him to give up the cherished scheme. It was a great disappointment, but the young man bravely submitted, and began looking about for the position where he could earn the most money toward the support of the family.
He soon obtained a school in Medford, Massachusetts, and for three years taught almost in the shadow of what was then Walnut Hill, never dreaming of the work which he was to do in future years upon its summit.
In 1839 Mr. Tweed was offered the principalship of the Bunker Hill Grammar School in Charlestown, Massachusetts. He accepted, and remained there for ten years, during which time he became acquainted with Thomas Starr King, who was engaged at the age of seventeen as his assistant.
Of Mr. King Professor Tweed said: "It was to his quickening influence that I was indebted for the preparation to fill the place assigned to me in Tufts College. It was through him that I became intimately acquainted with Dr. Ballou, and my surprise was great, when, in 1853, the Doctor informed me that I had been selected for a professorship in a college which was to be."
Mr. Tweed immediately began preparing himself to fill the place for which he had been chosen, and entered upon
|his new duties with the opening of the institution. The subjects taught by him were Rhetoric, Logic, and English Literature. During his entire stay he was exceedingly popular among the students. There was a wealth of kindly sympathy in his nature, which, combined with a keen intellect and a fund of dry humor, served to quickly endear him to the hearts of the young men who came into such intimate relations with him as then existed between instructor and pupil.|
In 1864 Professor Tweed received a call to the chair of English Literature and Mediæval and Modern History at Washington University, in St. Louis, Missouri. Although he felt loath to leave the young institution at whose birth he had assisted, the financial inducements offered were too great to be disregarded, and he accepted the call, remaining until 1870, when he was invited to take the office of Superintendent of Schools in Charlestown, where he had taught years before. He held the office of Superintendent for six years, at the end of which time, Charlestown being incorporated with Boston, he was appointed Supervisor for the district, holding the position until 1880, when, being advanced in years, he resigned. Shortly afterward the Boston School Board christened a new grammar school-house in the Charlestown district the B. F. Tweed Grammar School.
Professor Tweed was interested in most of the Massachusetts educational societies, and was a member of the American Institute of Instruction, at the first meeting of which in 1830 he was present. He published several works on English Grammar and Composition, which have been widely used as text-books. For several years he edited the "Massachusetts Teacher," and he always contributed largely to the leading educational journals.
In 1853, at the time of his beginning his connection with Tufts College, Harvard University conferred on him the degree of A. M., in recognition of his scholarship.
Professor Tweed, having retired from active work, resided with his daughter and her husband, Judge J. W. Hammond, of the Class of '61, in Cambridgeport, Massachusetts, until his death on April 2, 1896.
Published by the Class of 1897. The original contains appendices with a directory of alumni, the college catalog, and the college charter. These were not included in this addition.
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