Central U. (Richmond, KY), 1877-8; Washington U. (St. Louis), 1878-80; A.B. Yale, 1884; Ph.D. 1886; study in Europe, 1886-9.
Prof. Lat. & French Georgetown (KY) Coll., 1889-91; asst. prof. Lat. U. Missouri, 1891-9; prof. Lat. U. Cincinnati, 1900-20.
"Romance Forms in Latin" (Yale, 1886).
The Paris Prudentius (Rome, 1900); "Prudentius Commentaries," AJA 2d ser., 4 (1900) 293-302; The Placidus Commentary of Statius (Cincinnati, 1902) Glossemata de Prudentio (Cincinnati, 1905); Summary Catalogue of a Part of the Library of John M. Burnam (Cincinnati, 1906); "Un fragment en ecriture onciale," in Melanges offerts a M. Emile Chatelain (Paris, 1910) 135-40; "The Scribe of the Oaths of Strassburg: What Was His Nationality?," Romantic Review 1 (1910) 13-17; An Old Portuguese Version of the Rule of Benedict (Cincinnati, 1911); "The Early Silver and Gold Manuscripts," CP 6 (1911) 144-55; Paleographia iberica (Paris, 1912-25); Recipes from Codex Matritensis A16 (Cincinnati, 1912).
John M. Burnam worked his way from modest southern origins to become a research professor of Latin and owner of the largest private collection of Latin manuscripts and facsimile reproductions of ancient palaeography in the country. His students recall a teacher whose broad learning, attention to detail, and maintenance of high standards was tempered by patience and generosity. His necrologist in CJ said of him, "He was above all things a student—less interested in disseminating traditional knowledge than in opening up new fields of study and presenting the world with series of facts unknown before. In preparing for his work he not only mastered in full detail the ancient classical languages, the Romance dialects and classical philology, but had acquired a thorough speaking knowledge of most of the modern tongues heard on the European continent.''
CJ 17 (1921-2) 276-7; H. N. Fowler, DAB 3:291-2; WhAm 1:169.