Henry William Shryock was born in Olney, Illinois, on March 25, 1861, and
is a son of William and Elizabeth (Wood) Shryock, of that city. The father
was a farmer, stock-breeder and merchant, and one of the most respected
citizens of the county in which he lived and operated. He was a man of
energy and fine business capacity, and was successful in all his
undertakings by reason of his industry, integrity, ability and strict
attention to every duty in all the relations of life.
The son of William and Elizabeth Shryock began his education in the public schools, and was graduated in a classical course from the Olney high school. Later he matriculated at the Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, and in 1893 the university conferred upon him the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy. He served as principal of the Olney high school for eleven years, and at the end of that period was called to the chair of Literature and Rhetoric in the Southern Illinois Normal University, soon thereafter being elected vice-president and registrar of the institution. To his duties in the university he gives the most careful attention, and employs his full power in their performance. But in spite of the fact that those duties are numerous and exacting, his enthusiasm enables him to find time and strength for a vast amount of work outside on the lecture platform.
During the last seventeen years he has lectured on educational topics in sixty-seven counties in Illinois and twenty-three in Indiana; and has done similar work at many places in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan. He has also delivered addresses at the University of West Virginia and the following State Normal Schools: St. Cloud, Minnesota; Winona, Minnesota; Platteville, Wisconsin; Whitewater, Wisconsin; and other institutions of learning, and has discussed sociology and literature before many Chautauqua audiences and various clubs, both for men and women. In this line of work the demands for his services are many more than he can comply with, for he is a most impressive and popular speaker.
For the benefit of his classes and the reading public in general he has published a translation of Moliere's "A Doctor in Spite of Himself," a very difficult task, but one in which Professor Shryock has won a notable triumph. The wit and humor of Moliere is so subtle and elusive that it is exceedingly difficult to carry over into a foreign language, without loss of flavor, but in his hands its spirit has been caught and preserved in sparkling English. He has also published an annotated edition of Tennyson's "Princess," which has been very favorably received and is highly commended by the most competent critics of the country, being of great value to the ordinary reader. He is at present engaged in the preparation of a set of readers for one of the leading book publishing houses.
The Professor has never lost his deep interest in the cause of public education. The very nature of his work and place of its performance would keep him in touch with it, but back of that is his own earnest desire for the enduring welfare of the country, and his positive approval of public instruction is one of the most powerful agencies in promoting it. He has been the president of the Southern Illinois Teachers' Association and is at this time (1911) president of the State Teachers' Association. He is also a leading member of the State Educational Association and takes an active part in all its proceedings. Mr. Shryock has traveled not only in all parts of the United States, but has twice visited the leading countries of Europe.
On July 14, 1886, Professor Shryock was married to Miss Jessie Burnett, of Olney. They have one child, Burnett Henry. All the members of the family are warmly welcomed in social circles everywhere, and considered valuable additions to the most brilliant functions. Wherever they are known they enjoy in full measure the highest esteem, regard and admiration of all classes of the people, yet get no more in this respect than they richly and justly deserve.
Extracted 13 Nov 2018 by Norma Hass from 1912 History of Southern Illinois, pages 1214-1215.