North American Scholar

LANMAN, Charles Rockwell

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1850-07-08
  • Born City: Norwich
  • Born State/Country: CT
  • Parents: Peter, a textile manufacturer, & Catharine Cook L.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1941-02-20
  • Death City: Belmont
  • Death State/Country: MA
  • Married: Mary Billings Hinkley, 18 July 1888.
  • Education:

    A.B. Yale, 1871; Ph.D., 1873; study at Berlin, Tubingen, & Leipzig, 1873-6; LL.D., Yale, 1902; U. Aberdeen, 1906.

  • Professional Experience:

    Instr. Sanskr. Johns Hopkins, 1876-80; prof. Sanskr. Harvard, 1880-1926; Turnbull lctr. Johns Hopkins, 1898; lctr. Lowell Inst., Boston, 1898; sec. APA, 1879-84; pres., 1889-90; corr. sec. AOS, 1884-94; pres., 1907-8, 1919-20; ed. Harvard Oriental Series, 1891-1926.

     

  • Dissertation:

    "The Nasal Verbs in Sanskrit, Greek, and Latin" (Yale, 1873)

  • Publications:

    On Noun Inflection in the Veda (New York, 1880); Sanskrit Reader with Vocabulary and Notes (Boston, 1884, 1927); Parts of Nala and Hitopadega in English Letters (Boston, 1889); Beginnings of Hindu Pantheism (Cambridge, 1890); Pedigree of the Part of the Bidpai Literature (Cambridge, 1895); William Dwight Whitney (Boston, 1895); The King of Siam's Edition of the Buddhist Scriptures (Boston, 1895); Râja-çekhara's Karpura-Manjarî (ed. & trans.) (Cambridge, 1900); Pali Book-Titles and Their Brief Designations (Boston, 1909); Hindu Law and Customs as to Gifts (Boston, 1913); Phrase Words and Phrase-derivatives (New Haven, 1920).

  • Notes:

    Lanman was trained at Yale by Woolsey, Dana, Whitney, and James Hadley. At Tubingen he studied under Whitney's teacher Rudolph Roth. His Noun Inflection in the Veda is a systematic discussion of noun forms in the Rig- and Atharva-Vedas. It is a grammatical investigation of the use of the Vedic dialect, upon which Whitney relied for his great Sanskrit grammar. Albrecht Weber of Berlin said (Deutsche Literaturzeitung, 1881), "The work itself bears excellent testimony to the industry and carefulness of the author." The great impediment to the study of Sanskrit in this country was the lack of readable texts and useful grammars. Whitney's grammar and Lanman's reader did much to remedy that situation. In 1908 he was elected, along with Wilamowitz and Joseph Halevy of Paris, to membership in the Russian Imperial Academy of Sciences. In addition to writing his own books and editing some 30 others, he founded the Harvard Oriental Series and edited its first 36 volumes. Samuel Eliot Morison called the series "one of the most notable contributions of the University to exact scholarship and humane letters." Lanman helped build the Harvard oriental collection by buying books in bulk during his many trips to India. An active outdoorsman, Lanman maintained expertise as a single-sculler into his old age and he boasted of having rowed in his life over 12,000 miles on the Charles River.

  • Sources:

    DAB Suppl. 3:444-5; NatCAB 11:96; WhAm 1:704.

  • Author: Ward W. Briggs, Jr.