William Ireland Knapp was Chair of Modern and Ancient Languages at Vassar from 1865-1867. Born in New York on March 10, 1835, he received his B.A. in 1860 and went immediately on to teach at Colgate University. When Vassar opened, he left his previous job to join the faculty there. During his short time at Vassar, he left quite an impression on the students, to whom he taught Latin and French.
After Knapp left Vassar, he moved to Europe. He spent time in England, France, and Spain and wrote many papers on Romance language and linguistics. In 1877, he was appointed to the Spanish Order of Isabella la Catolica. That year he returned to the United States to teach at Yale. In 1892 Knapp was appointed the Head Professor of Romance Languages at the University of Chicago, where he remained for the next three years. He died in 1908.
Vassar College Special Collections Biographical File