San Francisco County
JOHN SWETT, City Superintendent of Common Schools of San Francisco
was born in Pittsfield, New Hampshire, in 1830. When he was twelve years of age
his father died, and from that time he was thrown to a great extent upon his own
responsilities. He managed to secure a good education, and at the age of
seventeen years he was tendered a position as a teacher near
Swett arrived in California early in 1853, and after
a few months in the mines he began teaching in San Francisco, as Principal of
the Rincon school. He remained in charge there until
1862, when he was elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction for a term
of one year. He was re-elected in 1863 for a term of four years, and was
re-nominated in 1867, but was defeated with the entire Republican ticket, the
campaign being led by George C. Gorham. The most notable work of his
administration was the drafting and securing of the passage of the “Revised
School of Law,” which became the permanent foundation of the free school system
In November, 1890 Mr. Swett was elected Superintendent of the Schools of San Francisco, with overwhelming majority of 11,000,-- a splendid victory, and a free, heartfelt offering from an army of enthusiastic admirers.
He is the author of several excellent works whose merits are well known to the profession: “Methods of Teaching,” “School Elocution,” “Examination Questions,” “Normal Word Book,” “History of the Public School System in California,” etc. He was also associated with Professor Swinton in the compilation of the “Language Lesson Series” and “Swinton`s Geographies.”
Our worthy friend and benefactor was married in 1862, to Mary L. Tracy, daughter of Judge Frederick P. Tracy, and is the father of two sons and two daughters.
Transcribed by Kim Buck.
© 2006 Kim Buck.