North American Scholar

FITCH, Edward

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1864-05-21
  • Born City: Walton
  • Born State/Country: NY
  • Parents: George William & Harriet Sinclair F.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1946-04-15
  • Death City: Walton
  • Death State/Country: NY
  • Married: Annie Louise MacKinnon, 3 July 1901.
  • Education:

    A.B. Hamilton, 1886; M.A., 1889; Ph.D. Göttingen, 1896; L.H.D. (hon.) Hamilton, 1934.

  • Professional Experience:

    Prof. Gk. Park College, 1886-9; asst. prof, to prof. Gk. Hamilton, 1889-1904; Edward North prof. Gk., 1904-34; actng. dean, 1922-3; dean, 1926-32; ann. prof. ASCSA, 1932-3.

  • Dissertation:

    “De Argonautarum Reditu Quaestiones Selectae” (Göttingen, 1896)

  • Publications:

    Rev. of Seaton's Apollonii Rhodii Argonautica (OCT) AJP 22 (1901) 326-31; reviews of Wilamowitz, Bucolici Graeci and Die Textgeschichte der griechischen Bukoliker, AJP 27 (1906) 336-41; “Apollonius Rhodius and Cyzicus,” AJP 33 (1912) 43-56; “Note on Theocritus xxii.31-32,” CP 10 (1915) 455-6; “Homerica,” CJ 17 (1921-2) 94-5; “The Evidence for the Homeric Thebais,” CP 17 (1922) 37-43; “Pindar and Homer,” CP 19 (1924) 57-65; review of Wilamowitz, Hellenistische Dichtung, AJP 41 (1926) 383-6.

  • Notes:

    Edward Fitch was the only English-speaking doctoral student whose dissertation Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff ever directed. He devoted his life to teaching young men Greek at provincial Hamilton College in northern New York State. A graduate of the college, he always lived near it and is buried on its grounds. He had two great students, Benjamin D. Meritt and the poet Ezra Pound. He published little, for he had no library and little time; but nothing that he published Was foolish. He was a loyal man, loyal to Hamilton and loyal to his teacher. Fitch resisted the anti-German hysteria of World War I, typified by Paul Shorey and J. A. Scott. Rather, with men like B. L. Gildersleeve and W. A. Oldfather he defended German philology in reviews and in refutations of the excesses of the chauvinists. This earned him the gratitude of his teacher. Wilamowitz cited his dissertation with approval in the most influential book ever written on Hellenistic poetry. His emendatio palmaris at Schol. in Ap. Rhod. 87.13W was accepted both by Wendel and Felix Jacoby ad FGrHist All F 7. His article of 1912 is cited by Hans Herter in RE Suppl. 13 (1973) 43.10-11. That means the highest authorities approved and used his work. Wilamowitz wrote his epitaph: “The American, E. Fitch, earned his doctorate with a valuable dissertation and today is still a good friend of mine, perhaps the only one over there who really knows the Hellenistic poets.”

  • Sources:

    Hamilton Alumni Review 11 (1946) 179-80; William M. Calder III, “The Correspondence of Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff with Edward Fitch,” HSCP 83 (1979) 369-96 = Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Selected Correspondence 1869-1931, Antiqua 23 (Naples, 1983) 65-92; E. Fitch, Hamilton Literary Magazine 29 (1894) 74, 106; ibid., 31 (1897) 286-7; idem, in S. N. D. North, Old Greek: An Old-Time Professor in an Old-Fashioned College: A Memoir of Edward North with Selections from his Lectures (New York, 1905) 206-63; idem, “Friedrich Leo,” CW8 (1914-5) 40; E. C. Kopff, “Wilamowitz and Classical Philology in the United States of America: An Interpretation,” Wilamowitz nach 50 Jahren, ed. W. M. Calder III et al. (Darmstadt, 1985) 558-80; Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Erinnerungen 1848-1914, 2d ed. (Leipzig, 1929), 226; idem, Hellenistische Dichtung in der Zeit des Kallimachos, 2d ed. (Berlin, 1924), 186 n. 1; WhAm 2:188; Rev. H. W. Wylie, Hamilton Alumni Review 11 (1946) 180.

  • Author: William M. Calder III