North American Scholar

HALE, William Gardner

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1849-02-09
  • Born City: Savannah
  • Born State/Country: GA
  • Parents: William Bradford & Elizabeth Jewett Hale.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1928-06-24
  • Death City: Stamford
  • Death State/Country: CT
  • Married: Harriet Knowles Swinburne, 13 June 1883.
  • Education:

    A.B. Harvard, 1870; fell., 1870-1; study at Leipzig & Göttingen, 1876-7; LL.D. Union, 1895; Princeton, 1896; St. Andrews, 1907; Aberdeen, 1907.

  • Professional Experience:

    Tutor Lat. Harvard, 1874-6, 1877-80; prof. Lat. Cornell, 1880-92; prof. & head of Lat. Dept. U. Chicago, 1892-1919; pres. APA, 1892-3; first dir., ASCSR, 1895-6; joint ed. CSCP, 1887-92; asso. ed. CR 1895-1907; CQ 1907-28.

  • Publications:

    “The Sequence of Tenses in Latin,” AJP1 (1886) 446-65, 8 (1887) 46-77; Aims and Methods in Classical Study (Boston, 1887); The Art of Reading Latin: How to Teach It (Boston, 1887); The Cum-constructions: Their History and Functions (Cambridge, 1887-9); Essays in Classical Philology (Baltimore, 1887-94); “Mode and Tense in the Subjunctive 'Comparative Clause' in Latin,” AJP 13 (1892) 62-70; “ 'Extended' and 'Remote' Deliberatives in Greek,” TAPA 24 (1893) 156-205; The Anticipatory Subjunctive in Greek and Latin: A Chapter of Comparative Syntax (Chicago, 1894); “Syllabification in Roman Speech,” HSCP 7 (1896) 249-71; “Der Codex Romanus des Catullus,” Hermes 34 (1899) 133-44; “Is There Still a Latin Potential?” TAPA 31 (1900) 138-62; “The Origin of Subjunctive and Optative Conditions in Greek and Latin,” HSCP 12 (1901) 109-23; A Latin Grammar, with Carl Darling Buck (Boston & London, 1903); “A Century of Metaphysical Syntax,” Cong, of Arts and Sciences . ... St. Louis, 1904, vol. 3 (Boston, 1906), 191-202; First Latin Book, Part II (n.p., 1906); “An Unrecognized Construction of the Latin Subjunctive: The Second Person Singular in General Statements of Fact,” CP 1 (1906) 21-47; “The Manuscripts of Catullus,” CP 3 (1908) 233-56; “Stampini and Pascal on the Catullus Manuscripts,” TAPA 53 (1922) 103-12; “The Origin of the Subjunctive and Optative Conditions in Greek and Latin,” HSCP 12 (1901) 109-23; Latin Composition Part I (Boston, 1910).

  • Notes:

    Hale was one of those Americans who went to Germany in the generation after Goodwin, Gildersleeve, and Lane and, like those three, was converted by the experience into a lifetime devotion to the scientific analysis and explanation of grammar. He became our foremost Latin grammarian and was quite naturally drawn to exemplifying his grammatical approach in his teaching and, naturally, in his grammar and textbooks. He schooled a great number of Latin teachers in his popular “Teacher's Tracing Course.” His pamphlet “The Art of Reading Latin” advanced the notion that Latin could be read by students like a modern language. “With great charm of presentation and with characteristic skill in illustration,” according to G. L. Hendrickson, “there was developed a feeling for Latin word order and an appreciation of its significance for emphasis and stylistic color, which removed it absolutely from the old jig-saw puzzle attack of current instruction.” Hale taught frequently in the University High School at Chicago and served on numerous university committees, such as the Joint Committee on Grammatical Nomenclature and the Classical Investigation.Hale termed his theories “psychological syntax,” which attempted to replace the prevalent “metaphysical” or “logical” approach. He attempted to free the study of grammar from the rigidity of classification and nomenclature, from reliance on theory rather than examination and description of individual instances. He still believed in the foundation of Latin in Indo-European and for some years worked on a massive Latin syntax on the order of Goodwin's Moods and Tenses of the Greek Verb, but the project never achieved even the limited results of Gildersleeve's Greek syntax. When Hale discovered the Vatican MS of Catullus (R) while he was in Rome helping the establishment of the ASCSR (of which he was the first director), he diverted his attention from syntax to palaeography and maintained that the new MS (which he called R) was of equal quality to the Oxford (O) and Paris (G) MSS and could thus be a basis for reconstruction of the Vatican archetype.

  • Sources:

    LeRoy Barney, BDAE 579-80; CP 23 (1928) 278; George Lincoln Hendrickson, DAB 8:113-14; idem, CJ 24 (1928-9) 167-73; NatCAB 11:70-1; 23:80; NYTimes (24 June 1928) 26; WhAm 1:503.

  • Author: Ward W. Briggs, Jr.