Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,

On the antiquity of Presidents

As I continue my reading of Tudor history in Ireland, it suddenly occurred to me that the designation of various Englishmen as 'Presidents' of Munster and Connacht during the reign of Elizabeth I must be one of the earliest examples of the use of the word 'President' in English to refer to a senior government official.

Looking at the Oxbridge colleges, the following were founded before the reign of Elizabeth I and have a President as Head of House: Queens', Cambridge (1448), Magdalen, Oxford (1458), Corpus Christi, Oxford (1517), St John's, Oxford (1555), Trinity, Oxford (also 1555). I don't know if there were other Oxbridge college heads who changed their titles over the centuries (and maybe some of those five were originally called something else).

Are there any other early examples of the word President being used to refer to a senior official, especially a senior government official? Probably the OED would tell me.

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