North American Scholar

GRANT, John Ratcliffe

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1913-10-06
  • Born City: Wei Whei Fu
  • Born State/Country: North Honan, China
  • Parents: William Harvey Grant, a missionary, & Susanna McCalla, a medical doctor.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1990-01-16
  • Death City: Toronto
  • Death State/Country: ON
  • Married: Jeanette van der Heyden, 1 Jan. 1947.
  • Education:

    B.A. U. Toronto (University Coll.), 1936; A.M. Harvard, 1937; Ph.D., 1948.

  • Professional Experience:

    Lectr. class. Dalhousie, 1940-2; asso. prof. Western Reserve U. 1946-50; asst. prof, to prof, class. Victoria Coll., U. Toronto, 1950-79.

  • Dissertation:

    “De decretis Atticis quae e memoria scriptorum veterum tradita sunt” (Harvard, 1948).

  • Publications:

    “Leonidas' Last Stand,” Phoenix 15 (1961) 14-27; “A Note on the Tone of Greek Diplomacy,” CQ n.s. 15 (1965) 261-6 = “Eine Bemerkung zum Stil der griechischen Diplomatie,” in Antike Diplomatie, ed. Eckart Olshausen & Hildegard Biller, Wege der Forschung 462 (Darmstadt, 1979) 99-109; “Thucydides 3.44.2,” Philologus 112 (1968) 292-3; '“Εκ τοῦ παρατυχόντος πυνθανόμενος,” Phoenix 23 (1969) 264-8; “Thucydides 2.37.1,” Phoenix 25 (1971) 104-7; “Toward Knowing Thucydides,” Phoenix 28 (1974) 81-94; “Some Thoughts on Herodotus,” Phoenix 37 (1983) 283-98.

  • Notes:

    Grant began doctoral studies under William Scott Ferguson. In 1942 he joined the armed forces and was posted to the Directorate of Personnel Selection. While in Europe he met and married his wife. When he returned to Harvard, Ferguson had retired and Sterling Dow saw his dissertation through the final stages. Grant's dissertation closed a long Harvard tradition by being the last ever written in Latin; he always spoke in favor of this custom because it tended to keep dissertations mercifully short. A loyal son of Harvard, he encouraged students to study there rather than at Oxford or Cambridge. Grant wrote a series of precise articles especially on Greek historians, illuminating their words through sober inquiry; his writings are solid and readers of Herodotus and Thucydides must take them into account. Grant believed in Juvenal's mens sana in corpore sano and regularly walked the two miles from his home to his office. His wit was wry and he often directed it against himself. He had an elegant collection of antiquities and one skyphos, “in the manner of the Haimon painter,” was listed by Beazley in his Attic Black-Figure Vase-Painters.

  • Sources:

    DAS 1982:199; W. McLeod, University of Toronto faculty minute; U. of Toronto archives.

  • Author: Mortimer Chambers