Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Pyper, William

PYPER, WILLIAM (1797–1861), Scots professor of humanity, was born of poor parents in the parish of Rathen, Aberdeenshire. Matriculating at Marischal College, Aberdeen, he completed his course there with distinction. From 1815 to 1817 he was parochial schoolmaster at Laurence Kirk; he afterwards held a similar position at Maybole, and was a teacher in the grammar school of Glasgow in 1820. Two years later he succeeded James Gray in the high school of Edinburgh, and retained that post for twenty-two years. On 22 Oct. 1844 he was appointed professor of humanity at St. Andrews University, in succession to Dr. Gillespie. He obtained the degree of LL.D. from Aberdeen University. He died on 7 Jan. 1861, when his assistant, John Shairp (afterwards principal of St. Andrews), succeeded him in the humanity chair. Pyper was an excellent latinist, and a thorough classical scholar of the older type. He proved an admirable professor. He helped to organise and improve the university library. By a bequest of 500l. he founded a bursary at St. Andrews. He published: 1. ‘Gradus ad Parnassum,’ London, 1843, 12mo, a work still in use in schools. 2. ‘Horace, with Quantities,’ London, 1843, 18mo.

[Works in Brit. Libr.; Conolly's Eminent Men of Fife.]

A. H. M.