Cornelius Conway Felton

Cornelius Conway Felton (November 6, 1807 – February 26, 1862) was an American educator. He was regent of the Smithsonian Institution, as well as professor of Greek literature and president of Harvard University.

Cornelius Conway Felton
President of Harvard University
In office
Preceded byJames Walker
Succeeded byThomas Hill
Personal details
Born(1807-11-06)November 6, 1807
West Newbury, Massachusetts
DiedFebruary 26, 1862(1862-02-26) (aged 54)
Chester, Pennsylvania

Felton was born in West Newbury, Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard University in 1827, having taught school in the winter vacations of his sophomore and junior years. During his undergraduate years, he was also a member of the Hasty Pudding. After teaching in the Livingstone High School of Geneseo, New York, for two years, he became tutor at Harvard in 1829, university professor of Greek in 1832, and Eliot professor of Greek literature in 1834. In 1860 he succeeded James Walker as president of Harvard, which position he held until his death, at Chester, Pennsylvania.

He was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1854.[1]

Felton edited many classical texts. His annotations on Wolf's text of the Iliad (1833) are especially valuable. Greece, Ancient and Modern (2 vols., 1867), forty-nine lectures before the Lowell Institute, is scholarly, able and suggestive of the author's personality.

Among his miscellaneous publications are the American edition of Sir William Smith's History of Greece (1855); translations of Menzel's German Literature (1840), of Munk's Metres of the Greeks and Romans (1844), and of Guyot's Earth and Man (1849); and Familiar Letters from Europe (1865).

Felton was the brother of Samuel Morse Felton, Sr., the half-brother of John B. Felton[2] and the uncle of Samuel Morse Felton, Jr..[3] He died of "disease of the heart" while en route to a Smithsonian meeting in Washington.[4]

A historical marker in the town of West Newbury marks Felton's birthplace.[5]


  1. American Antiquarian Society Members Directory
  2. William Bentinck-Smith (1982). The Harvard Book: Selections From Three Centuries. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-37301-3.
  3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-02-03. Retrieved 2006-02-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. Appletons' annual cyclopaedia and register of important events of the year: 1862. New York: D. Appleton & Company. 1863. p. 452.
  5. "Cornelius Conway Felton, Scholar and Harvard President". West Newbury. Retrieved 26 August 2019.


  • Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society (Boston, 1866)
Academic offices
Preceded by
James Walker
President of Harvard University
Succeeded by
Thomas Hill

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Felton, Cornelius Conway". Encyclopædia Britannica. 10 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 246.

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