North American Scholar

GERBER, Sylvia Wigdor

  • Image
  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1910-08-06
  • Born City: Bell City
  • Born State/Country: MO
  • Parents: Louis & Sara Wigdor.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1986-04-05
  • Death City: Washington
  • Death State/Country: DC
  • Married: William Gerber, 6 Aug. 1933.
  • Education:

    Diploma, Gratz Coll. (Philadelphia), 1930; A.B. Temple, 1931; M.A. U. Pennsylvania, 1933; study at Catholic U., 1953-8.

  • Professional Experience:

    Lat. tchr. Woodrow Wilson HS (Washington, DC), 1937-43; princ. & Hebr. tchr. Hebrew Sch. (Montgomery Co., MD), 1951-3; instr. Lat. Howard U., 1953-8; part-time instr. Lat. George Washington U., 1951-2, 1971-2; Lat. tchr. Western HS (Washington, DC), 1958-62; Wilson HS, 1962-71; Fulbright grant, 1961.

  • Publications:

    “Latin and the Modern Curriculum,” The District Teacher (Washington, DC) (Sept. 1939) 20, 28-9; Hannibal. Adapted from Livy for Second-Year Latin Students (Washington, DC, 1940); Latin Text and Teacher's Manual for Students in Grade 6, with Annette Eaton (Washington, DC, 1966); Via Romana: A First-Year Textbook for Latin in the Elementary School (Washington, DC, 1973), new ed., Via Romana: Liber Primus (Washington, DC, 1976); Via Romana: Liber Secundus (Washington, DC, 1974; new ed., 1977).

  • Notes:

    On 17 October 1970, Yale honored Sylvia W. Gerber with its “Distinguished Teacher Award.” The key sentence in the citation read, “In a world that threatens the Classics, she has her finger in the dyke, making Latin and the Humanities popular in her city high school.” The secret of her success lay in her warm personality and her wide educational background. She made local history in Washington by teaching the first foreign-language Advanced Placement course in the DC school system. She also initiated a pioneer course in the Humanities, Biblical, and Classical Literature in English translation. Through her textbooks Mrs. Gerber's influence has spread far beyond the city where she lived and taught so well, and where she will be remembered for years to come. Students at Temple University will also remember her for the fund she established in memory of her Latin professor, Nicholas Vlachos, for awards to each year's outstanding classics student.

  • Sources:

    “Sylvia Gerber, Latin Teacher at Wilson High School,” CW 80 (1986-7) 202-3.

    Image source: Woodrow Wilson High School (Washington, DC) yearbook 1943

  • Author: John Francis Latimer