North American Scholar

FOSTER, Benjamin Oliver

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1872-08-13
  • Born City: Bangor
  • Born State/Country: ME
  • Parents: George Winslow, a physician, & Charlotte Elizabeth Adams F.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1938-06-22
  • Death City: Palo Alto
  • Death State/Country: CA
  • Married: Anna Lee, 3 June 1902
  • Education:

    A.B. Stanford, 1895; A.M. Harvard, 1897; Ph.D., 1899; Parker fell., Harvard, studying at ASCSR, 1899-1900.

  • Professional Experience:

    Teacher, Salt Lake City (UT) HS, 1890-2; actng prof. Lat. & Gk., State Normal College of Michigan, 1900-1; instr. to prof. Stanford, 1901-37; chair dept., 1933-7; vis. prof. U. Chicago, 1925-6; U. California, summer 1908, 1913; pres. PAPC, 1932-3.

  • Dissertation:

    “De quartae declinationis apud priscos Latinos usu” (Harvard, 1899)

  • Publications:

    “Notes on the Symbolism of the Apple in Classical Antiquity,” HSCP 10 (1899) 39-55; “On Certain Euphonic Embellishments in the Verse of Propertius,” TAPA 40 (1909) 31-62; “On Some Passages in Propertius,” CP 2 (1907) 210-8; “The Duration of the Trojan War,” AJP 35 (1914) 294-308; “The Latin Grammarians and the Latin Accent,” CP 3 (1908) 201-3; “Livy VII.14.6-10,” AJP 42 (1921) 174; “On the Force of Hominis in Caesar B.G. V.58.6,” CJ 13 (1917-8) 277; “Propertius III 24,” AJP 30 (1909) 54-60; “The Trojan War Again,” AJP 36 (1915) 298-313; Livy (trans.), LCL (New York & London; vol. 1, 1919; vol. 2, 1922; vol. 3, 1924; vol. 4, 1926; vol. 5, 1929).

  • Notes:

    Foster was one of the early Stanford alumni who returned to that university for their teaching careers after brief service elsewhere. His chief scholarly contribution was his translation of the first five volumes of Livy, through book 22, for the 14-volume Loeb edition. He based his text on Weissenborn-Müller but took account of the successive volumes of the Oxford text of Conway-Walters. His translation was found accurate and elegant, though W. H. Semple, in CR 43 (1929) 90, invited him to strive for more Livian rhetoric here and there. The fifth volume in particular goes beyond the usual Loeb format of the period by including both a long bibliography, with summaries of many of the papers cited, and useful maps taken from Kromayer's Schlachtenatlas. This latter feature was praised by the leading German scholar of Livy, Alfred Klotz, who declared that no other edition was so well equipped in this respect: PhW 50 (1930) 803. Foster was known to Stanford undergraduates as an enormously popular teacher of courses in Roman literature of both Republic and Empire. He was an avid swimmer and tennis player and a gourmet cook who enjoyed preparing elaborate meals for colleagues.

  • Sources:

    Harvard U. Archives; Stanford U. Archives.

  • Author: Mortimer Chambers