North American Scholar

HARRY, Joseph Edward

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1863-10-01
  • Born City: Harford Co.
  • Born State/Country: MD
  • Parents: David & Maria Jane H.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1949-08-12
  • Death City: New York
  • Death State/Country: NY
  • Married: Cora Worthington, 1890.
  • Education:

    A.B. Johns Hopkins, 1886; Ph.D., 1889; study in Germany, 1887.

  • Professional Experience:

    Tchr. country day sch., 1880-1; prof. Gk. & Germ. Georgetown Coll. (KY), 1888-1900; prof. Gk. U. Cincinnati, 1900-16; dean coll. lib. arts, 1904-6; actng. pres., 1904; dean grad. sch., 1906-16; writer in New York & in govt. service, 1916-9; lctr. Sorbonne, 1919-22; traveler, writer, master of languages in various institutions, 1922-6; asso. prof. class. St. Stephens (now Bard) Coll., Columbia, 1926-8; Hoffman prof. Gk. lang. & lit., 1928-39.

  • Dissertation:

    “A Rhetorical Study of the Leptinian Orations” (Johns Hopkins, 1889); printed (Baltimore, 1891)

  • Publications:

    “On the Authorship of the Leptinean Orations Attributed to Aristeides,” AJP 15 (1894) 66-73; The Hippolytus of Euripides (Boston & London, 1899); The Prometheus Bound of Aeschylus (New York, 1905); The Greek Tragic Poets (Cincinnati, 1914); “Sophocles, Philoctetes 1360-1361,” AJP 42 (1921) 77-9; “The Ion of Euripides: Emendations and Interpretations,” AJP 44 (1923) 56-61; “The Helena of Euripides: Emendations and Interpretations,” AJP 46 (1925) 332-51; “The Debate between Helen and Menelaus (Euripides, Helena 559-583),” AJP 49 (1928) 323-33; “Two Misunderstood Passages in Aeschylus,” AJP 51 (1930) 51-6; “Medea's Waxing Wrath (Eur. Med. 106-108),” ibid., 372-7; Greek Tragedy (projected as two vols., but only vol. 1 was published) (New York, 1933); “Sophocles, Electro 363-364,” AJP 56 (1935) 142-6.

  • Notes:

    J. E. Harry, the foremost American scholar of his day in the field of Greek tragedy, was a student of Gildersleeve's at Johns Hopkins. A man of remarkable range, he taught in the course of his career Latin, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, modern Greek, and Sanskrit. In addition to his regular duties at Georgetown, he served as athletic director and introduced football to the campus. In 1900 he founded the classics department at the University of Cincinnati, where he also served with distinction in various administrative capacities. A Quaker, he resigned his post in 1916 to serve as a foreign-language censor of the U.S. Post Office and after the war spent four years in Paris lecturing at the Sorbonne.In an unpublished letter of 6 January 1915, Gildersleeve calls Harry “the most fecund conjectural critic in America” and Harry's bibliography contains over 300 items, including his well-known work in the tragedians, his texts of the Hippolytus, the Prometheus Bound, The Greek Tragic Poets, and his translations. He also wrote reviews for The Saturday Review of Literature, The New York World, and The Springfield Republican. A strapping six-footer with a white goatee, Harry maintained vigorous exercise to the end of his days, claiming, “I have walked more on two hemispheres than any man alive.”

  • Sources:

    Bibliographical Record of Joseph Edward Harry, Ph.D. (New York, 1938); NYTimes (13 Aug. 1949) 11; WhAm 2:238.

  • Author: Ward W. Briggs, Jr.