• Date of Birth: November 10, 1835
  • Born City: Richmond
  • Born State/Country: VA
  • Parents: Walter Dabney & Louisa Edmonia Wills B.
  • Date of Death: September 12, 1909
  • Death City: Atlantic City
  • Death State/Country: NJ
  • Married: Ellen Donnell, 27 Apr. 1874.
  • Education:

    B.A. Hampden-Sydney, 1855; study in Germany, 1859-62; D.L. Washington & Lee, 1883.

  • Professional Experience:

    Tutor, Hampden-Sydney, 1855-7; asst. prof. anc. langs., 1857-9; prof. Lat., 1859-96.

  • Publications:

    Latin Pronunciation: An Inquiry into the Proper Sounds of the Latin Language during the Classical Period (New York & Chicago, 1870); "On the Characteristic Difference between Ancient and Modern Civilization," Southern Magazine 8 (1871) 209-20, repr. Dem. Rev. 24 (1872) 449-58.

  • Notes:

    Walter Blair, an early Southern proponent of European views on Latin pronunciation, did much to aid Gildersleeve in his campaign to bring the scientifically reconstructed pronunciation into Southern schools. As he was about to complete his doctoral work after nearly four years of study in Germany, he returned to his homeland to serve in the Richmond Howitzers from 1862 until the end of the Civil War. He retained a deep interest in the skill and strategy of artillery for the rest of his life. At Hampden-Sydney, he taught Latin for nearly forty years (later instructing in German as well) until poor eyesight obliged him to resign in 1896.

  • Sources:

    NatCAB 16:142.

  • Author: Ward W. Briggs, Jr.