The boston school board added to its problems by its choice of a successor to Philbrick. The man elected, Samuel Eliot (a relative of Harvard's president), had little practical experience in the administration of public education. Born in Boston in 1821, Eliot had graduated first in his class from Harvard at the age of eighteen. Following graduation he toured Europe and wrote a series of history books, including The History of Rome, The Early Christians and a Manual of U.S. History. In 1856 Eliot became Professor of History and Political Science in Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, and from 1860 to 1866 he served as its president. In 1874 (the intervening eight years are vague) he became principal of the Girls' High and Normal School in Boston but resigned the position after only two years because of ill health and family bereavement. Eliot, a scholar and a nearly rank amateur in public school affairs, appealed to the reformist element of the school board, and his reports quickly made it evident that he sympathized with the faction that had deposed Philbrick. Eliot's difficulties were compounded by his snobbish social darwinism and isolation from the schools. As a practical administrator, he was generally inept. By contrast to Philbrick his reports were filled not with pragmatic discussions of practical subjects but with long and florid discourses more suitable to a late nineteenth-century literary magazine than to the report of an urban superintendent.