William Gammell (1812-1889), professor of rhetoric, history and political economy, was born in Medfield, Massachusetts, on February 10, 1812, the son of a Baptist clergyman who was also a trustee of the University. After graduating from Brown in 1831, Gammell was principal of an academy in South Reading, Massachusetts, for a year before he returned to Brown as a tutor. He became assistant professor of belles-lettres in 1835 and professor of rhetoric in 1837. In 1843 he began to teach a course in history, and was appointed to the chair of history and political economy in 1850. He resigned in 1864. Gammell was active in civic affairs. He was involved in the founding of Rhode Island Hospital and delivered the opening address on October 1, 1868. He was a trustee of Butler Hospital for the Insane, and president of the Providence Bible Society, the Providence Athenaeum and the Rhode Island Historical Society. He died in Providence on April 3, 1889, and left to the University a bequest of $10,000 for the purchase of books relating to United States history.