Morris B. Pell, BA

1827–79
Dean of the Faculty of Arts, 1866–77

Dean of the Faculty of Arts, 1866–77

[image: courtesy of University of Sydney Archives G3 224 1398]

Morris Pell was American-born but completed his school education in England and graduated from St John’s College, Cambridge.

In 1852 Pell was appointed to the foundation chair of Mathematics, renamed Mathematics and Natural Philosophy in 1855. He taught mathematics until his retirement, owing to ill-health, in 1877.

Pell’s standing as the second-most senior of the three original professors at this university meant that he took over as dean when J. Woolley died. He had also previously served as inaugural dean of the Law faculty (when it was just an examining faculty), having earlier been admitted to the New South Wales bar.

When the new regulations with limited terms of office for deans commenced in 1868, Pell retained the deanship of the Arts faculty, being re-appointed by Senate for three further terms, even after C. Badham became Classics professor. Badham would normally have been appointed dean as soon as he became Classics professor, owing to the rank accorded to this position. However, he himself is said to have declined appointment to the deanship at this time, in deference to Pell’s status as a foundation professor.
Australian Dictionary of Biography