Hildreth H. Smith

Hildreth Hosea Smith


Feb. 17, 1820 Birth
Deerfield, NH
c.1853-56 President of Catawba College
Newton, NC
1857-68 Member of University of North Carolina faculty
186x-73 Organized schools in Shelbyville, TN
1877 -
Nov. 13, 79
Named Superintendent of the Houston (TX) Public Schools
1879 Becomes 2nd President of SHSU
1881 Resigns from presidency
Sep. 14, 1908 Death
Atlanta, GA



  • History of the University of North Carolina (Vol. 1: 1789-1868); 1907

Hildreth Hosea Smith served as the second president (or principal) of Sam Houston State University (then Sam Houston Normal Institute) (1879-81).

Smith graduated from Foxcroft Academy in Maine in 1842 and, in 1850, became a professor at Catawba College in Newton, North Carolina; he was named president of the institution (1853-56). Smith later served as Chair of Modern Languages at the University of North Carolina (1857-68).

At the urging of Rev. Dr. Barnas Sears, the Superintendent of the Peabody Fund, Smith organized schools in Tennessee and Georgia and became the first superintendent of the Houston school district. He left this position to assume leadership of SHNI where he served two years as principal.

He was awarded the LL.D. by Baylor University in 1880. Following his tenure in Huntsville, he returned to Georgia and wrote for the Atlanta Journal.

He and his wife had four children; son Hoke (1855-1931) was a United States Secretary of the Interior (1893-1896) and Governor of Georgia (1907-09, 1911).

A stained glass window in the Memorial Hall of the Main Building was dedicated in his honor in 1955.

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