Theodore Woolsey was born on 31 October 1801 in New York City. He entered Yale at the age of fifteen and graduated with his BA as class valedictorian in 1820. He read law briefly in 1820–21, and then attended Princeton Theological Seminary. He returned to Yale in 1823 where he worked as a tutor while completing his theological training. Uncertain about his vocation, in 1827 Woolsey elected to travel abroad for further study of classical and modern languages. In 1831 he was hired as a professor of Greek at Yale, an appointment lasting until 1846 that marked the beginning of a long, distinguished career. Woolsey then served with distinction as President of Yale from 1846 until his retirement in 1871. As President, Woolsey taught history, political science, and international law, leaving the responsibility for teaching moral philosophy to his colleague Noah Porter. Woolsey's tenure at Yale included a term as President of the Oriental Society as well as regent of the Smithsonian Institution. His honorary degrees included an LLD from Wesleyan in 1845, and a DD from Harvard in 1847 as well as an LLD in 1886. In mid-career he authored two well-respected texts in international law and political science. Woolsey died on 1 July 1889 in New Haven, Connecticut.
From The Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers in Oxford Reference.