North American Scholar

FINCH, Chauncey Edgar

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1909-12-16
  • Born City: Carmi
  • Born State/Country: IL.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1984-07-15
  • Death City: St Louis
  • Death State/Country: MO
  • Married: Waleria (Violet) Zdanukiewicz, 1932.
  • Education:

    A.B. U. Illinois, 1930; A.M. 1932; Ph.D., 1937.

  • Professional Experience:

    Instr. to prof, class, langs. (and later, Russian) St. Louis U., 1936-78; chair, class, dept., 1972-8; pres. CAMWS, 1962-3; assoc. ed. CB, 1950-71; ed., 1972-80; adv. ed. Manuscripta, 1957-84.

  • Dissertation:

    “The Urbana Manuscript of Apuleius” (Illinois, 1937).

  • Publications:

    (selected) “From Manuscript to Text Edition,” CB 13 (1937) 49-51; “A Glimpse of Indo-European,” CB 14 (1938) 66-7; “New Vistas of Linguistic Research,”CB 19 (1942) 2-3; “Latin as an International Language,” CB 24 (1947) 8-10; “Latin and Russian as a Teaching Combination,” with N. J. DeWitt, CJ 43 (1947-8) 23-6; “Flying Saucers in Ancient Rome,” CJ 43 (1947-8) 248; “Lucian and Modern Inventions,” CO 27 (1948) 25-6; “Latin Joins the Cold War Via Radio,” CJ 45 (1949-50) 397-8; “Aesop in Propaganda,” CO 28 (1951) 73-5; “A Russian Version of the Croesus Story,” CJ 46 (1950-1) 263; “Tolstoy as a Student of the Classics,” CJ 47 (1951-2) 205-10, 251; “Classical Influence on N.V. Gogol,” C/ 48 (1952-3) 291-6; “The Influence of Parthenius in Tolstoy's Anna Karenina,” CW 46 (1952-3) 81-3; “Turgenev as a Student of the Classics,” CJ 49 (1953-4) 117-22; “The Translation of Cebes' Tabula in Codex Vaticanus Latinus 4037,” TAPA 85 (1954) 79-87; “Two Vatican Manuscripts of the Anomymous Excidium Troiae, “ Manuscripta 1 (1957) 131-49; “The Place of Codex Vaticanus Latinus 1860 in the Dictys Manuscript Tradition,” Manuscripta 3 (1959) 148-54; “The Text of Cicero's De Senectute in Codex Reg. Lat. 1414,” TAPA 91 (1960) 76-82; “The Bern Riddles in Codex Reg. Lat. 1553,” TAPA 92 (1961) 145-55; “The Excerpts from Xenophon's Apologia Socratis in Codex Vat. Pal. Gr. 93,” CP 57 (1962) 173-5; “Codex Reg. Lat. 1719 in the Manuscript Tradition of Carmina Duotecim Sapientum,” TAPA 94 (1963) 55-72; “Excerpts from Pliny's Natural History in Codices Reg. Lat. 309 and Vat. Lat. 645,” TAPA 96 (1965) 107-17; “Beneventan Writing in Codices Vat. Lat. 3032, 5951, and 7277,” AJP 87 (1966) 455-7; “Catalogues and Other Manuscripts from Lorsch,” TAPA 99 (1968) 165-79; “The Text of Servii De Arte Grammatica,” Studies Perry, 38-45; “Fragments of a New Vita Vergiliana in Codex Reg. Lat. 1669,” AJP 95 (1974) 56-61; “The University of Pennsylvania Manuscript of Cicero's Topical CB 58 (1981) 77-81.

  • Notes:

    Finch, renowned palaeographer and textual critic, is best known for his part in the establishment of the Vatican Film Library at St. Louis University, under the auspices of the Knights of Columbus following a decree of Pope Pius XII. The project consisted of microfilming all of the Vatican manuscripts (of the various collections) to be held at the university for posterity and for scholars' use. His personal study of this manuscript collection led to the discovery of a number of Beneventan and Lorsch codices. His teaching responsibilities spread beyond the confines of the classics department when he became first university professor of Russian in the 1940s. Being an extraordinary lecturer with a deep love for the classics, Finch was able to inspire many others to take up the vocation. St. Louis University, in recognition of his contribution, awarded him the Nancy McNeir Ring award for outstanding teaching in 1977. His interests and influence, however, extended well beyond academia. During World War II, he was a translator of Polish newspapers for the Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner of the CIA. He did a series of 75 educational programs on television station KTVI, sponsored by Metropolitan College in St. Louis, covering topics related to linguistics, classical literature, and Greek and Roman history. He was also a much sought-after speaker by a number of civic and professional groups. Finch's research encompassed a broad range of interests. He produced 105 published articles on such topics as Greek and Roman authors, comparisons of classical and Russian authors, and palaeography and textual criticism (both Greek and Latin). In addition to his articles, Finch published hundreds of book reviews.

  • Sources:

    Joan E. Carr, Chauncey Edgar Finch: A Bibliography (privately published, 1978); In Memoriam Manuscripta 28,3 (1984) 170.

    Image: St. Louis University yearbook 1957 (Finch is seated; to his left, Robert Henle, S.J.)

  • Author: Michael J. Harstad