North American Scholar

GODOLPHIN, Francis Richard Borroum

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1903-04-08
  • Born City: Del Rio
  • Born State/Country: TX
  • Parents: Francis Richard & Alma Borroum G.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1974-12-29
  • Death City: Tucson
  • Death State/Country: AZ
  • Married: Isabelle Simmons, 5 July 1925; Katherine V. Clark, 19 June 1965.
  • Education:

    B.A. Princeton, 1924; M.A. New York U., 1926; Ph.D. Princeton, 1929.

  • Professional Experience:

    Instr. class. NYU, 1924-6; New Jersey Coll. Women Rutgers U., 1926-7; instr. to prof, class. Princeton, 1927-46; actng. chair, 1941-2; chair, 1942-5; dean of the college, 1945-55; Musgrave prof. Lat., 1946-70; asst. ed. CW, 1937-9.

  • Dissertation:

    “The Chronology of Greek Middle Comedy” (Princeton, 1938).

  • Publications:

    “A Note on the Technique of Ancient Biography,” CP 27 (1932) 275-80; “The Unity of Certain Elegies of Propertius,” AJP 55 (1934) 62-6; “A Note on the Marriage of Claudius and Agrippina,” CP 29 (1934) 143-5; “The Source of Plutarch's Thesis in the Lives of Galba and Otho,” AJP 56 (1935) 324-8; “Stesichorus and the Origins of Psychological Treatment of Love,” Studies Capps, 168-73; “The Basic Critical Doctrine of 'Longinus', On the Sublime,” TAPA 68 (1937) 172-83; The Greek Historians (New York, 1942); “The Author of the Περὶ ὕψους,” AJP 63 (1942) 83-6; The Latin Poets (New York, 1949); Great Classical Myths (New York, 1964).

  • Notes:

    Enthusiastic teacher, scholar, and administrator, Francis R. B. Godolphin, known to his friends as “Frisco,” had the unmistakable mark of the master teacher. He, with his friend and classical colleague Whitney Jennings Oates, was a member of a lively group of imaginative faculty at Princeton University in the 1930s who sought to enlarge the availability of the classics in the broad tradition of humanistic learning. His belief, controversial then and subsequently received, was that the classics have such value in liberal learning that they must be taught in translation by classicists to students who cannot read the original. His publications sought to enfranchise that belief.Frisco's course in English literature and the classics was the hallmark of the range in which he moved easily from Homer to T. S. Eliot. He let his students know of his love of literature, of ideas, and of the art of criticism. He had fun at it with an Aristophanic spirit which illuminated his teaching and especially his course on Old Greek Comedy. Wit rapid as a god's pace, laughter turning to a delighted chuckle, irreverence which was holy and sacred, his mind seemed sometimes so fast in moving from here to there that the arrival was a surprise to the listener.Returning from service as a World War II combat marine in the Pacific, Godolphin assumed the duties of dean of the College of Princeton University, and with admirable understanding initiated a program for returning veterans, and then carried out the duties of dean for ten years while maintaining vigorously his teaching and scholarly activity—a tripartite achievement reserved for the exceptional in the educational world. Jaunty and steadfast friend, stimulating and rigorous scholar, he seemed always to raise our sights and to ask the important questions.

  • Sources:

    DAS 74:172; NYTimes (30 Dec. 1974) 26; WhAm 6:160.

  • Author: James I. Armstrong