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James Burrill Angell
History of the University of Michigan 219-220

JAMES BURRILL ANGELL was born at Scituate, Rhode Island, January 7, 1829, in direct descent from Thomas Angell, who accompanied Roger Williams on his expulsion from the Massachusetts Colony in 1636.

He was prepared for college at the University Grammar School, Providence, entered Brown University in 1845, and was graduated with the highest honors in 1849. The first year after graduation he was engaged as assistant librarian in the college library and as a private tutor; and then, for the sake of his health, which showed signs of impairment, he traveled extensively on horseback through the South.

Still looking for outdoor occupation, he took up civil engineering for a time, and then went to Europe for travel and study. While abroad he was appointed professor of the Modern Languages and Literatures at Brown University, a position, which he did not return to fill until 1853. In addition to the duties of his professorship, he contributed leading articles to "The Providence Journal" from time to time; and when Henry B. Anthony was elected United States Senator in 1860, Professor Angell succeeded him as editor of that paper and resigned his chair at Brown.

After six years of arduous editorial work covering the whole period of the Civil War, he accepted the presidency of the University of Vermont. In 1871 he resigned that position to become President of the University of Michigan. For a detailed account of his services in this position, the reader is referred to the chapter devoted to his administration (pages 62-76).

In 1880 he was appointed United States Minister to China, where he was also the head of a special commission charged with the negotiation of two treaties with that nation. The treaties procured through his negotiations effected a settlement of some annoying commercial questions and also the regulation of Chinese immigration. Later, in 1887, he was appointed a plenipotentiary on the part of the United States on the commission, which negotiated the North Atlantic Fisheries Treaty with Great Britain. In 1895-1896 he was chairman of the United States Commission on Deep Waterways, and presided at the joint meetings with the Canadian commissioners. The year 1897-1898 was spent at Constantinople as United States Minister to Turkey.

He is a recognized leader in the Congregational Church, and at the second International Congregational Council which met in Boston, September, 1899, he presided over the deliberations of that body, composed of delegates from all parts of the world and representing the scholarship and the ecclesiastical organization of that Church in the persons of its most distinguished members.

He is an accomplished speaker and writer. A considerable number of his public addresses have been published, and he has contributed numerous articles to the leading journals and reviews. He has received many academic honors. The degree of Doctor of Laws has been conferred upon him by the following institutions: Brown University, 1868; Columbia University, 1887; Rutgers College, 1896; Princeton University, 1896; Yale University, 1901; Johns Hopkins University, 1902; University of Wisconsin, 1904; and Harvard University, 1905. He is a member of the American Philosophical Society, of Philadelphia; the American Antiquarian Society, of Worcester; the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, of Boston; and the American Historical Association, of which last he was president in 1893; also, a charter member of the American Academy at Rome, and of the Society of International Law; also, a corresponding member of the Massachusetts Historical Society, and of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts. He has been for many years a Regent of the Smithsonian Institution.

On November 26, 1855, he was married to Sarah Swoope Caswell, daughter of the Reverend Doctor Alexis Caswell, then a professor in Brown University, afterwards president of that institution. There are three children: Alexis Caswell (A.B. 1878, LL.B. 1880), a member of the Detroit Bar; Lois Thompson, now Mrs. Andrew C. McLaughlin, of Chicago; and James Rowland (A.B. 1890, A.M. 1891), Professor of Psychology in Chicago University. Mrs. Angell died at Ann Arbor, December 17, 1903.