A very large percentage of Emorys present faculty and staff
has come here in the last two decades, following the momentous Woodruff
grant, which enabled the University to begin the transformation
from a regional institution to one of national importance.
The number of faculty in the College is now well more than double
the number in 1960, when I came to Emory. There are many new departments
and programs, and all departmentsboth young and oldhave
grown in size.
I suspect that few recent Emory folk have any idea what this institution
was like in the olden days. Tom Englishs sesquicentennial
history of Emory and Harvey Youngs brief outline, which appears
at the front of the College catalogue, will give a hint, but no
department will receive close attention when the focus is always
on the larger picture.
Since the mid-1980s, the classics department has grown to include
nine full-time faculty, some of whom share their appointments with
other departments. During most of my years here, we were three oroccasionallyfour
in number, with little support from other departments. Yet we taught
fair numbers of students and had the great satisfaction of seeing
many of them earn doctorates at fine universities and now occupy
importance positions in their universities and in the profession.
I can easily recall those youngsters who gained Ph.Ds from Harvard,
Oxford, Harvard again, Yale, Cincinnati and Stanford. A senior professor
at Harvard told me that one of the students [Emory] sent there was
among the two or three best that Harvard had had in his experience.
Save for a brief period in the latter 60s and early 70s, when the
department offered M.A. and M.A.T. degrees, we could only start
our students on their way, and, in retrospect, I think we did a
This, indeed, must have been the mood and educational philosophy
of the earliest Emory faculty and their successors. After the founding
of Emory College at Oxford in 1836, the faculty consisted entirelyor
almost entirelyof Methodist ministers, many of whom taught
a variety of subjects. It was not until the end of the 19th century
and the beginning of the 20th that the professionalism
of the faculty began. It is this process I wish to trace in the
field of classics.
The first designated classicist in the new Emory College was the
Rev. George Lane, who is listed in the first catalogue (1839) as
Andrew Professor of Ancient Languages and Literature.
He served from 1837 to 1848. Several short-term appointments followed
until the College closed from 1862 to 1866 because of war.
In 1868, Josiah Lewis was appointed professor of Greek and J.A.O.
Clark as professor of Latin; both served until 1871. Their successors
were men who had greater impact upon the institution. Morgan Callaway,
professor of Latin from 1871 to 1875, was an enormous success: In
his coming Emory gained one of the truly great teachers of all her
years, wrote H.M. Bullock in his book A History of Emory
Bullock also commented on John Doggett, professor of Greek from
1871 to 1877, who brought consternation to the students by
the new and thorough methods which he introduced in teaching Greek.
He may well be called the first professional classicist
in Emorys history. He came from the University of Virginia,
where he had studied with Basil Lanneau Gildersleeve, who had gotten
his doctorate in Germany and is still considered the greatest of
There were numbers of other men who served as professors of Latin
or Greek before the end of the century. In 1898, Charles Peppler
was appointed professor of Greek. He had received his Ph.D. from
Johns Hopkins, under Gildersleeve, and was probably the first professor
in the history of the College to hold an earned doctors degree.
He also was one of the first who was not a minister of the Methodist
Church. After his appointment he studied in Berlin, and left Emory
in 1912, to join the faculty of the new Trinity College in Durham,
N.C., which later became Duke University.
Edward Turner came to Emory as Professor of Latin in 1903, a year
after he had received his doctorate in Halle Wittenberg, Germanythe
first Emory faculty member to have gained his degree in Germany.
According to W.A. Carltons book In Memory of Old Emory,
He had the reputation of being hardboiled. But
as a matter of fact, he was only justly strict in his grading and
had high standards. He was a real scholar.
Turner retired in 1943, having been one of the few faculty who
moved with the College from Oxford to Atlanta. He continued to teach
during the years of World War II. He also was very influential in
College athletics. His photograph hangs on the wall in the Woodruff
P.E. Center in Emorys Sports Hall of Fame.
Clarence Boyd was professor of Greek from 1913 to 1946. With the
return of peace and the influx of many veterans studying on the
GI Bill, the Department of Classics was reinvigorated.
Charles Hart, who had been professor of French from 1928 to 1946,
became professor of Latin. Robert Scranton, a distinguished Greek
archaeologist, came in 1947; three years later, Joseph Conant joined
the department, with responsibility for establishing a humanities
program. Hart retired in 1960, and was succeeded by the present
Scranton departed in 1961 to accept appointment at the University
of Chicago; Conant retired 20 years later. During these decades,
there were numerous short-term and temporary appointments, none
of which resulted in the granting of tenure.
It was because of classics that Italian returned to the Emory curriculum.
In the late 1970s, the department persuaded the dean to authorize
a new position in Latin and Italian. Subsequently, the Italian half
became a full-time position, and was transferred to the jurisdiction
of romance languages, and later became part of the Department of
French and Italian.
With the arrival of the 1980ssave mention of my own retirement
in 1987I shall bring my recollections to a close. I shall
append only one note.
The major regional classical organization in the United States,
the Classical Association of the Middle West and South, which now
embraces 31 states and three Canadian provinces, has had three Emory
presidents, Turner, me andfor the year 200203Niall
Slater. In addition, David Bright, the current department chair,
was president while at another institution. Members of the department
also play major roles in the activities of the American Philological
Association. Our subject is alive and well, both in teaching and
scholarship; long may it thrive.