North American Scholar

CAPPS, Edward

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1866-12-21
  • Born City: Jacksonville
  • Born State/Country: IL
  • Parents: Stephen Reid & Rhoda Smith Tomlin C.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1950-08-21
  • Death City: Princeton
  • Death State/Country: NJ
  • Married: Grace Alexander, 20 July 1892
  • Education:

    AB Illinois Coll, 1887; PhD Yale, 1891; study at Berlin, Munich, Halle, & ASCSA; LLD, Illinois Coll, 1911, U Athens, 1937; Litt D Oberlin, 1923, U Michigan, 1931, Oxford, 1946; LHD Harvard, 1924

  • Professional Experience:

    Instr class Illinois Coll, 1887-8; Lat tutor Yale, 1890-2; asst prof, to prof Gk lang and lit, 1892-1907; first mng ed CP, 1906-7; prof, class Princeton, 1907-36; ed LCL, 1914-50; pres CAMWS, 1907-08; pres CAAS, 1909-10; Turnbull Lctr Johns Hopkins, 1917; memb mng comm ASCSA, 1908-50; chair, 1919-39; envoy extraordinary & minister plenipotentiary to Greece & Montenegro, 1920-21; first pres AAUP, 1920

  • Dissertation:

    “The Stage in the Greek Theatre” (Yale, 1891); printed as “The Greek Stage According to the Extant Dramas,” TAPA 22 (1891) 5-80

  • Publications:

    “Vitruvius and the Greek Stage,” U Chicago Stud Class Phil 1 (1895) 93-113; “The Chorus in the Later Greek Drama, with Reference to the Stage Question” AJA ns 10 (1895) 287-325; “The Dramatic Synchoregia at Athens,” AJP 17 (1896) 319-28; From Homer to Theocritus: A Manual of Greek Literature (New York, 1901); The Introduction of Comedy into the City Dionysia (Chicago, 1903); “Chronological Studies in the Greek Tragic and Comic Poets,” AJP 21 (1900) 38-61; “Studies in Greek Agonistic Inscriptions,” TAPA 31 (1900) 112-37; “The Roman Fragments of Athenian Comic Didascaliae,” CP 1 (1906) 201-20; “The 'More Ancient Dionysia'—at Athens—Thucydides ii15,” CP 2 (1907) 25-43; “Epigraphical Problems in the History of Attic Comedy,” AJP 28 (1907) 179-99; “The Plot and Text of Menander's Epitrepontes,” AJP 29 (1908) 410-31; Four Plays of Menander (Boston, 1910); Greek Comedy, Columbia Lectures on Greek Literature (New York, 1912)

  • Notes:

    Capps played a decisive and influential role in the history of American classics. First he was a brilliant and, until 1914, productive scholar, a pioneer in the discipline of scenic antiquities, that is, the ancient staging of tragedy and comedy. Here he anticipated the work of scholars like A. W. Pickard-Cambridge and T. B. L. Webster. His edition of Menander received praise from the highest mortal source. According to Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Capps interpreted the newly discovered Epitrepontes “in a way worthy of the highest praise, with expertise and taste.” Second, he was the rare example of a successful scholar, rather than a failed one, who deserted scholarship for administration. Under his reign the ASCSA obtained the Gennadius collection and purchased the Athenian Agora, the excavation of which is comparable only to that of the Roman Forum. He increased the school's endowment tenfold and was rightly called “the second founder of the school.” Under his editorship American Loebs in general surpassed in excellence the English contributions. Compare Aeschylus with Sophocles and Euripides! He was the last American scholar to achieve, through his friendship with Woodrow Wilson, international prominence and to play a part in the history of his time. In this he is comparable with Edward Everett and among the English with Sir George Cornewall Lewis and Gilbert Murray. Woodrow Wilson said of him: “I would trust his judgment most of the time and his intentions always.”

  • Sources:

    William M Calder III, DAB Suppl 4:142-4 = Calder, Studies in the Modern History of Classical Scholarship, Antiqua 27 (Naples 1984) 43-46; G H Chase, AJA 55 (1951) 101; Louis E Lord, “The Chairmanship of Edward Capps,” A History of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens 1882-1942: An Intercollegiate Project (Cambridge, 1947) 130-270; B D Meritt, TAPA 81 (1950) xiv-xv; NatCAB A:416-7; NYTimes (22 Aug 1950); WhAm 3:136; Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Menander Das Schiedsgericht (Epitrepontes) (Berlin, 1925; repr 1958) 8

  • Author: William M. Calder III