• Date of Birth: February 23, 1855
  • Born City: Bielitz
  • Born State/Country: Austria
  • Parents: Solomon & Bertha Jaeger B.
  • Date of Death: June 13, 1928
  • Death City: San Francisco
  • Death State/Country: CA
  • Married: Rosa Zeisler, 20 June 1885; Helen Townsend Scott, 9 July 1921.
  • Education:

    Study at U. Chicago, 1871-4; Furman, 1876-7; M.A. 1877; study of Sanskrit and comp. philol. at Yale, 1877-8; Ph.D. Johr/Hopkins, 1879; study at Berlin and Leipzig, 1879-81; LL.D. Princeton, 1896.

  • Dissertation:

    "Noun-formation in the Rig-Veda" (Johns Hopkins, 1879).

  • Professional Experience:

    Asso. prof, to prof. Sanskrit & comp. philol. Johns Hopkins, 1881-1926; foundation member, Ling. Soc. of Am.

  • Publications:

    "The 'Ablaut' of Greek Roots Which Show Variation between E and O," AJP 1 (1880) 281-336; "Final AS before Sonants in Sanskrit," AJP 3 (1882) 25-45; "Historical and Critical Remarks Introductory to a Comparative Study of Greek Accent," AJP 4 (1883) 21-62; "On Certain Irregular Vedic Subjunctives and Imperatives," AJP 5 (1884) 16-30; 178-85; "Four Etymological Notes," AJP 6 (1885) 41-52; "Seven Hymns of the Atharva-Veda," AJP 7 (1886) 466-88; "Contributions to the Exegesis of the Atharva-Veda," JAOS 13 (1887) xii-xxiv; "The Origin of the Recessive Accent in Greek," AJP 9 (1888) 1-41; "Contributions to the Interpretation of the Veda," AJP 11 (1890) 319-58, 12 (1891) 414-43, 17 (1896) 399-437; "On Adaptation of Suffixes in Congeneric Classes of Substantives," AJP 12 (1891) 1-29; "On Assimilation and Adaptation in Congeneric Classes of Words," AJP 16 (1885) 409-34; Hymns of the Atharva-Veda (Oxford, 1897); The Atharvaved (Strassburg, 1899); "On the Wedding Stanza, Rig-Veda, x.40.110," AJP 21 (1900) 411-9; "On Some Alleged Indo-European Languages in Cuneiform Characters," AJP 25 (1904) 1-14; A Vedic Concordance (Cambridge, 1906); "Corrections and Conjectural Emendations of Vedic Texts," AJP 27 (1906) 401-17; The Religion of the Veda (New York, 1908); "Etymology of Kpea^vq," AJP 29 (1908) 78-81; "Instability of Moods in Earliest Sanskrit," AJP 33 (1912) 1-29; "Some Cruces in Vedic Text, Grammar and Interpretation," AJP 38 (1917) 1-18; The Life and Stories of the Jaina Savior, Pargvanatha (Baltimore, 1919); "The Fable of the Crow and the Palm-Tree: A Psychic Motif in Hindu Fiction," AJP 40 (1919) 1-36; "On Overhearing as a Motif of Hindu Fiction," AJP 41 (1920) 309-35; "The Hittite Language," AOS 41 (1921) 195-209; "The Art of Stealing in Hindu Fiction," AJP 44 (1923) 97-133, 193-229; "On False Ascetics and Nuns in Hindu Fiction," AOS 44 (1924) 202-42; "On Organized Brigandage in Hindu Fiction," AJP 47 (1926) 205-33; Vedic Variants (Philadelphia, 1930).estschrift: tudies in Honor of Maurice Bloomfield (New Haven, 1920).

  • Notes:

    Maurice Bloomfield was our greatest Sanskritist after Whitney. Whitney was a pioneer; Bloomfield the colonizer. His dynamic teaching and deep abiding interest in the careers of his students combined with a scholarly career that not only demonstrated to students the application of imagination and breadth of knowledge to various problems of Indo-European philology and Sanskrit texts, but also left comprehensive works of reference which made the study of these fields easier for generations to come. His chief contribution is his Vedic Concordance, a tool of inestimable value, the product of painstaking arrangement and execution. G. M. Boiling called him, "the first of all Atharvanists and in the foremost rank of interpreters of the Vedas in general." But he was a significant linguist (though not of the stature of his nephew Leonard), second president of the Linguistic Society of America, and conveyor of European researches on the new study of Indo-European language to this country, chiefly through his numerous articles and reviews in AJP. In this field his posthumous Vedic Variants is characteristic in its identification and solution of problem speech-forms in the texts.His devoted students spoke of the intellectual challenge of his classes, the reward of working with him and, especially, his example not only of investigation and industry into the language, but the personal involvement in the nurturing of those who shared his interests and commitment. Perhaps more to be lamented than the loss from linguistics of his method of scientific inquiry in Sanskrit, Indo-European, and general linguistics is the example for the hundreds of students who took his linguistics courses at Johns Hopkins, a paradigm of patient, intelligent, learned inquiry for solutions to real problems, free from the yoke of dogma or fashion.

  • Sources:

    G.M. Bolling, Language 4 (1928) 214-7; Franklin Edgerton, AOS 48 (1928) 193-9 (with portrait); A.V. Williams Jackson, DAB 2:386-8; C.W.E. Miller, AJP 49 (1928) 305; NatCAB 10:400-1; WhAm 1:109.

  • Author: Ward W. Briggs, Jr.