The University of Michigan, an encyclopedic survey ... Wilfred B. Shaw, editor.
University of Michigan.
Page  605


IN the several departments there shall be established the following professorships. In the Department of Literature, Science, and the Arts, one of Ancient Languages …" Thus, in section 8 of the act of May 18, 1837, there was laid, in accordance with the universal academic tradition of the times, the first and indispensable cornerstone of a liberal arts college. But it was not only in the intellectual and academic foundation of the University that the ancient languages took first place. In providing for the organization of the branch at Ann Arbor, the Regents at a meeting on July 22, 1841, resolved "to authorize the organization … by the appointment of a Professor of Languages who shall perform the additional duties prescribed in the resolution hereby modified." These duties, as we learn from the resolution of July 8, included "the power to organize collegiate classes and to make such arrangements respecting the buildings and grounds as they may deem necessary." Thus, so to speak, the material as well as the intellectual structure of the University was to be built upon Roman and Greek organization and culture.

The Board then "proceeded to the election of a Professor of Languages in pursuance of the above resolution, and Mr. George P. Williams of the Oakland Branch was appointed such Professor." The Reverend Mr. Williams did not, however, accept this appointment, but shortly afterward became instead Professor of Mathematics. In his place the Reverend Mr. Joseph Whiting (Yale '23, A.M. ibid. '37) assumed the duties of this position in September, 1841. For a short period he and Professor Williams constituted the entire faculty of the University. At the time of his death in 1845, just before the graduation of the first class, Whiting was Professor of the Greek and Latin Languages. The amount of teaching expected of Professor Whiting was, to judge by modern standards, tremendous. Entirely apart from the full schedule in Latin, the Catalogue for 1844-45 offered the following courses in Greek: for freshmen, first term, Xenophon's Cyropaedia and Anabasis (in extracts); second term, Thucydides and Herodotus; third term, Homer's Odyssey; for sophomores, first term, Lysias, Isocrates, and Demosthenes; second term, Greek Tragedy and Grecian Antiquities; third term, Greek Tragedy; for juniors, first and second terms, Greek Poetry; for seniors, first term, Lectures on the Greek and Latin Languages and Literatures. It is interesting to note in passing that the last-mentioned course, given, if at all, for this one year, represents a type of instruction in the classics considerably in advance of the times. Professor Whiting was assisted during this last year of his teaching by Burritt A. Smith, Tutor in Latin and Greek. He remained during the following year, 1845-46, which marked the arrival of Professor Whiting's successor. Thereafter Smith's name disappeared from the Catalogue.

From 1845 to 1852 the professorship of Greek and Latin was held by the Reverend Mr. John Holmes Agnew (Dickinson '23, D.D. Washington Coll. [Pa.] '52). After the loss of B. A. Smith in 1846, he appears to have shouldered alone the burden of instruction in the classics. Under him the Greek course was slightly modified by the omission of the lectures on language and literature, and by some shifting in the terms during which certain authors were read. He seems to have added a course in Plato in Page  606the senior year and to have established the practice of weekly meetings on Mondays throughout all four years, devoted to the study of the Greek New Testament. It is little wonder that we find Professor Agnew, as head of the faculty for that year, reporting to the Regents on July 18, 1848, as follows: "The course of study has been preserved and accomplished in the several departments, except that of languages. Here the failure has resulted from the impossibility of accomplishing the whole under the existing arrangements." How far this complaint refers to his own heavy schedule, and how far to the newly organized work of Professor Fasquelle, who began teaching in the spring of 1847 as Professor of Modern Languages, is now difficult to determine. However that may be, in 1848-49 marked changes appeared in the program. Greek continued uninterrupted in the first two years, but in the junior year French and Spanish supplanted Greek in two terms of the junior year, and Italian accompanied Plato in the senior year. The trend toward "modernity" had now definitely begun. The program in Greek continued without change until the retirement of Professor Agnew in 1852.

With the arrival of Professor James Robinson Boise (Brown '40, Ph.D. hon. Tübingen '68, LL.D. Michigan '68), the Department of Greek became for the first time an independent unit. Boise was called from Brown University in August, 1852, to be Professor of the Latin and Greek Languages, but when a separate chair of Latin was established the next December, became Professor of the Greek Language and Literature, the title held ever since by the head of the Department of Greek. His appointment, made on the day which marked the election of President Tappan, coincided with a general revision of the curriculum under the influence of German educational ideas. In the Catalogue for 1852-53, stress was laid on the desirability of equating undergraduate work with that of the Gymnasia, on the need for scientific and agricultural courses, and on the possibility of a graduate school. The effect of this on Greek is seen immediately in the limitation of the compulsory Greek courses even in the classical program to the freshman year, with a choice of Latin or Greek in the sophomore and junior years. An interesting innovation was introduced by Professor Boise in 1853, for sophomore Greek students, whereby "English Essays are required of the class on topics relating in general to the age of Pericles or more particularly to the authors read." This, combined with his revival of "Sections on Literature," in the junior year, clearly marks an enlightened effort to "integrate," as the new jargon has it, the traditional material with the changing times. The list of standard works which Professor Boise made for the guidance of students in these constructive exercises includes some of the best authorities of the times — Becker, Grote, Kiepert, Kühner, and others. As always, however, in undergraduate work, when the appeal of novelty made by the newer subjects is met by competitive modifications and allurements in the older ones, one result is a necessary diminution of intensity and thoroughness in the latter. Thus, as early as 1853, the familiar complaint was made by Boise: "The limited amount of time allowed to the study of the Greek language and literature in the collegiate course renders it impossible to do anything more than to make a beginning."

Professor Boise was one of a numerous group of Michigan professors who about this period put out textbooks and editions of wide vogue in the country. His editions of Xenophon's Anabasis and Homer's Iliad, as well as his Exercises in Greek Prose Composition, were well Page  607known and justly popular. Proof of his progressive spirit is to be seen in his recommendation, made as early as 1858, that the pronunciation of ancient Greek be in strict accordance with the written accents and with the Continental sound of the vowels — a system now universal, but not adopted in England until much later. Moreover, he and Professor Frieze, of the Department of Latin, established in the next year (1858-59) a policy of teacher training which was to continue until the present day. The Catalogue of that year announced "an advanced class in the Ancient Languages … during the last semester of the Senior Year, for the benefit of those who may wish to prepare themselves for teaching in Union and High Schools." In 1868 Professor Boise resigned to accept a position in the University of Chicago, where for another quarter of a century he continued his high standards of scholarship and effective teaching, as his interests turned more and more to research in the field of New Testament criticism. He died in 1895.

The growth of the department by 1858 had called for an assistant to Professor Boise. Adam Knight Spence ('58, A.M. '61) was appointed Instructor in Greek. He gave instruction in both French and Greek the following year and in 1860 added a course or two in Latin, which he dropped in 1863. From 1865 to 1867 he was Assistant Professor of Greek and French and in the latter year left the Department of Greek to be Professor of the French Language and Literature.

In September, 1867, the assistant professorship of ancient languages was given to a young man of twenty-eight who was for nearly forty-five years to direct with high distinction the policies of the Department of Greek. Professor Martin Luther D'Ooge ('62, Ph.D. Leipzig '72, LL.D. Michigan '89, Litt.D. Rutgers '01) was born in the Netherlands in 1839 and came as a boy to this country. Graduating from the University of Michigan in 1862 as a pupil of Professor Boise, he attended the Union Theological Seminary between 1864 and 1867. In the latter year, before his ordination, he was called to Michigan. On the resignation of Professor Boise he was appointed Acting Professor of Greek. In 1870 he became Professor of Greek, a position which he held continuously, except for brief periods of leave, until his retirement in 1912. During the greater part of this period he shared the instruction in the department with Professor Albert Henderson Pattengill ('68, A.M. '71), who began teaching as Assistant Professor of Greek and French in 1869, and continued successively as Assistant, Associate, and full Professor of Greek up to within a year of his death in 1906. Thus, the period of D'Ooge and Pattengill succeeds as the second unit in the department's history between that of the pioneers Whiting, Agnew, and Boise and the present generation.

In 1870 Professor D'Ooge obtained leave of absence to study in Germany, whence he returned in 1872 with a degree of doctor of philosophy from Leipzig. During his absence his work was taken over by Acting Professor Elisha Jones ('59, A.M. '62), who in 1867 had declined the appointment subsequently given to Professor D'Ooge.

Three significant developments during the seventies may be observed in the offerings of courses, doubtless the result of D'Ooge's German training and of the growing popularity in general of German methods. First, beside the traditional incidental lectures on "Grecian Antiquities," there appeared in 1873 a series of lectures on the history of Greek literature as a part of the regular senior course. Moreover, the regular reading courses were accompanied by such courses as Lectures on Greek Tragedy (1877-78). Page  608Also, for the first time, in 1875-76 there was offered a lecture course on the history of classical philology. Secondly, the range and variety of authors read increased and the traditional order of presentation was shifted. Theocritus, for example, was first offered by Professor Pattengill in 1878, and the range of illustrative material in the course on Greek oratory was extended by Professor D'Ooge's highly successful edition of Demosthenes' On the Crown in 1875.

Thirdly, the teachers' course in Greek, which had had a precarious existence since its establishment by Professor Boise in 1858, was given regularly, beginning in 1875, as the Teachers' Class, in each semester of the senior year.

The following decade brought still further changes. The one-hour lecture course on the history of Greek literature and art, which D'Ooge had started in 1879-80, became by the end of the decade two separate courses, one in literature and one in art. The old incidental lectures on Greek antiquities were revived as an independent unit, and a special lecture course on Homeric antiquities was added (1883-84). The old courses in Sophocles and Euripides reappeared with the modernized title of Masterpieces of Greek Tragedy (1882-83), and the Thucydides course bore the supplementary title, Lectures on the Political History of Athens during the Peloponnesian War. Also, more out-of-the-way fields such as Lucian and the Lyric Anthology were covered. The "Greek Seminary" of the German type first made its appearance in 1883-84, and the Teachers' Class in the same year became the Teachers' Seminary. Hellenistic Greek, replacing New Testament as the traditional course, was revived by D'Ooge in 1882-83.

D'Ooge spent the year 1886-87 in Athens as director of the American School, and his work was carried by Instructor Walter Miller, who in the following year became a member of the Latin staff. The results of this year of inspiration on the Greek program are seen both in increased attention to Greek archaeology, exemplified in a course on Pausanias with particular reference to Athenian monuments, and in the introduction of work in modern Greek. From 1890 to 1897 Professor D'Ooge's labors were increased by the demands of his position as Dean of the Department of Literature, Science, and the Arts.

By 1890-91 the graduate seminar, Interpretation of Greek Inscriptions and Study of Dialects, was offered by D'Ooge, and a course in the minor Greek poets (Homeric Hymns, Callimachus, and Musaeus) by Pattengill. By 1889-90, when the total enrollment in the Department of Literature, Science, and the Arts was 1,001, the number of courses had increased to about fifteen, and the total number of students in all courses in Greek was approximately 350. From the three fields of Latin, Greek, and mathematics the students were required to select two full years in two fields and one in the remaining subject. To take care of such numbers, the work in Hellenistic Greek was turned over in 1891 to the Department of Semitics (see Part IV: Department of Oriental Languages and Literatures), and new instructors were added to the Department of Greek. Herbert Fletcher de Cou ('88, A.M. '90), an exceedingly brilliant if somewhat moody scholar, was appointed in 1892-93 Instructor in Greek and Sanskrit. Besides assisting with freshman Greek he gave the course in the history of Greek literature and that in modern Greek. During the brief period of his tenure he showed extraordinary versatility, offering the courses in Greek dialects, epigraphy, and the Greek rhetoricians. In 1895 he was succeeded by William Henry Wait (Northwestern Page  609'79, Ph.D. Allegheny '88), on a similar appointment. Except for the year 1899-1900, when De Cou returned without salary to substitute for him, Wait continued until 1901, at which time he shifted to the teaching of German. He later had charge of the modern language work in the Department of Engineering.

At this point it is appropriate to attempt a personal appreciation of the two men who served the department longer than have any others.

Pattengill's vigorous but somewhat overbearing personality, coupled with a real mastery of the Greek language, made him an efficient drillmaster, though scarcely a sympathetic and popular instructor for the large classes of undergraduates which, under the closely prescribed curriculum of that time, fell to his charge year after year. Those whose sensibilities were not too harshly ruffled by his often savage comments, or who knew how to defend themselves, felt that they owed him a thorough grounding in the language, and that they gained a valuable insight into the minds of some of the great figures of Greek literary history. Certainly some of the courses that he gave in his later years, when time and happier personal circumstances had mellowed his asperities, are remembered by his pupils as among the permanently valuable experiences of their college life.

His martinet-like attitude toward his classes did not prevent Pattengill from taking a lively interest in student affairs, particularly athletics, and in his capacity as chairman of the Board in Control he became well known to both students and alumni.

Less aggressive in personality than Pattengill, and perhaps less impressive in the eyes of undergraduates, D'Ooge rendered services to his department and to the University in a different direction. Trained in the scientific method of classical study under Georg Curtius and his colleagues of the philological faculty at Leipzig, he was able to develop the graduate study of Greek in the University. His pupils raised the teaching of Greek to a higher level in many of the small colleges of the Middle West, and several of them became valued members of the faculties of other universities, as well as of the University of Michigan. His experience in Greece and his vivid enthusiasm for its history and art stimulated interest in archaeological studies. His personal contacts with other American scholars and the cordial recognition which his qualities won from them helped to give the University an acknowledged position as a trainer of classicists and to lift it from the ranks of provincial colleges. His amiable personality made a deep impression upon his students, many of whom regarded him with a real devotion to the end of his life.

In his earlier days D'Ooge's scholarship, which was sound rather than highly original, leaned somewhat heavily upon German work; but that was true of almost all American classical studies in his time. Hence his editions of classical masterpieces, though widely used for many years, are superseded. His learned study of the Acropolis of Athens was cordially received at the time of its appearance; but new discoveries made it authoritative only for a short time. Thus, his permanent contribution to the University rests, as is true of many devoted teachers, upon the influence which he exerted upon his pupils.

After the passing of Professors D'Ooge and Pattengill the history of the Department of Greek is concerned, down to the end of June, 1940, entirely with persons still living, and only a brief chronicle of facts can fittingly be added. The junior position in the department left vacant by the death of Pattengill was filled in 1906 by the appointment of Arthur Page  610Fairbanks (Dartmouth '86, Ph.D. Freiburg '90, Litt.D. Dartmouth '09), then a member of the faculty of the University of Iowa; but Fairbanks' archaeological studies were attracting attention elsewhere, and in 1907 he accepted the flattering offer of the directorship of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. He was succeeded by Campbell Bonner (Vanderbilt '96, Ph.D. Harvard '00), who came to the University from the George Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville, Tennessee.

From 1907 until Professor D'Ooge's retirement in 1912, the staff of the department consisted of D'Ooge, Bonner, and John Garrett Winter (Hope '01, Ph.D. Michigan '06), one of the ablest of D'Ooge's pupils, who divided his time between the Departments of Greek and Latin, and rose to the position of Professor of Greek and Latin some years before he was transferred to the Department of Latin, of which he became Chairman on the death of Professor Kelsey.

During the period following 1912 a number of younger men were associated with the department for varying periods, and all of them have either been promoted to higher rank in the University of Michigan or have been drawn away to important and responsible positions elsewhere. Frank Eggleston Robbins (Wesleyan '06, Ph.D. Chicago '11), who came from the University of Chicago in 1912, served in the Department of Greek for nine years, and then accepted the position of Assistant to the President. This position he still holds, under an arrangement which enables him to give one course in the department. Emerson Howland Swift (Williams '12, Ph.D. Princeton '21) was called to Columbia, and James Penrose Harland (Princeton '13, Ph.D. ibid. '20) to the University of North Carolina. John Bradford Titchener (Clark '17, Ph.D. Illinois '23) is now the chairman of the department of classics in Ohio State University. Benjamin Dean Meritt (Hamilton '20, LL.D. ibid. '37, Ph.D. Princeton '24) spent five years in the University before migrating first to Johns Hopkins and later to the Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton. Warren Everett Blake (Harvard '20, Ph.D. ibid. '24), who came to the University as Instructor in 1925, is now Professor of Greek; James Eugene Dunlap (Ripon '10, Ph.D. Michigan '20), who has been on the staff since 1923, is now Professor of Latin and Greek; Clark Hopkins (Yale '17, A.M. Oxon. '21, Ph.D. Wisconsin '24), whose chief interest lies in the field of archaeology, is an associate professor of the same subjects.

The abolition, in the early years of the present century, of any requirement of Greek for the degree of bachelor of arts had the same result in the University of Michigan as in other universities. Classes in Greek have become small groups consisting usually of students who are genuinely interested in the subject and are able to profit by the best instruction that the department can supply. A small number of graduate students from other universities is attracted to the courses offered by the department; and in general the graduate work of the department has been tested and approved by the performance of those who have taken the doctorate. By the institution of certain courses that do not require knowledge of the Greek language, an attempt has been made to bring some understanding of ancient life within the reach of non-classical students.

Careful scrutiny of the qualifications of all instructors added to the staff has resulted in an excellent record of researches proceeding from the department, and in recent years special attention has been drawn to the papyrological publications, made possible by the foresight of Professor Kelsey in bringing about the acquisition of the papyri (see Part VIII: Art and Archeological Collections),Page  611 in which the members of both the classical departments have taken part.

The Freer Manuscripts

These old parchment manuscripts were found, probably in a grave, in Egypt by unknown persons early in 1906. They were sold to an Arab dealer named Ali, in Gizeh near Cairo, for some fifteen hundred dollars, according to report. The four manuscripts were offered by Ali first to the Royal Library in Berlin and later to the British Museum at a price of a thousand pounds, but no encouragement was given the dealer at that price. Both the English and the Germans thought the price too high, as not much was expected textually from parchment manuscripts.

On December 19, 1906, Mr. Charles L. Freer of Detroit visited the dealer Ali and bought many art objects. He was then shown the manuscripts and presumably the same price was asked. He had little desire to purchase, though he admired the writing of one of the manuscripts. Finally, urged by Dr. Mann, who was traveling with him, he offered one-half the price asked. It was accepted, and the manuscripts were sent to Detroit. There they remained unnoticed in a vault until the fall of 1907, when Professors Kelsey, D'Ooge, and Sanders of the University were asked to examine them. Their great value textually was at once recognized, and the task of editing was assigned to Professor Sanders; Mr. Freer assumed the expense of publishing.

Manuscript I is of the fifth century A.D. and contains Deuteronomy and Joshua. It once contained the whole Hexateuch, but the first four books are entirely lost. The Septuagint Greek text is found in the manuscript, and it is quite free from the errors generally referred to the influence of the Hexapla edition of Origen.

Manuscript II is a psalter of the fifth century but very fragmentary. No Psalm is complete, though parts of 151 Psalms and one Ode are preserved. It is a text of the Septuagint and of the psalter type, of which it is the oldest example.

Manuscript III is of the fourth century and contains all of the four Gospels except for three missing leaves. It is thus one of the three oldest known parchment manuscripts of the Gospels and has, besides, a most interesting text. The whole of Matthew and most of Luke are from an older Antiochian text, while the first eight chapters of Luke and most of John are of the Alexandrian type. The first quire of John (1-5.11) is in a different hand and of disputed age, yet textually it is Egyptian but uninfluenced by the Alexandrian edition. The first five chapters of Mark belong to the so-called Western text of the North African variety. The rest of Mark is closely allied to the text of Caesarea. Near the end of Mark a new saying of Jesus is added. So mixed a text has had a marked influence on the views of New Testament scholars.

Manuscript IV once contained all of the Epistles of Paul, but it is so badly decayed that only parts of eighty-four leaves were recovered, giving 165 legible fragments. The manuscript belongs to the sixth century and has a characteristic Egyptian text of that time. All four of these manuscripts were published in Volumes VIII and IX of the Humanistic Series.

Some later additions to his Biblical collection were made by Mr. Freer, of which the most important is No. V, a third-century papyrus codex of the Minor Prophets in Greek. This is the oldest and best manuscript of that part of the Bible. It was published in Volume XXI of the Humanistic Series.

Page  612Manuscripts I, III, and V have been published in facsimile by the University. At present all of the manuscripts are in the Freer Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington.


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