North American Scholar

MCKAY, Alexander Gordon

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1924-12-24
  • Born City: Toronto
  • Born State/Country: Canada
  • Parents: Alexander Lynn & Marjory Maude Redfern Nicoll M.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 2007-08-31
  • Married: Helen Jean Zulauf, 1964
  • Education:

    B.A. University of Toronto, 1946; M.A. Yale, 1947; M.A. Princeton, 1948; Ph.D., Princeton, 1950; LL.D. (hon.) University of Manitoba, 1986; Brock University, 1990; Queen's University, 1991; D.Litt. (hon.) McMaster University, 1992; University of Waterloo, 1993.

  • Professional Experience:

    Faculty member, Wells College, 1949-50; University of Pennsylvania, 1950-51; University of Manitoba, 1951-52, 1955-57; Mount Allison University, 1952-53; Waterloo College, 1953-55; McMaster University, 1957-90; chair, Dept. Classics, 1962-68, 1976-79; Dean of Humanities, 1968-73; distinguished visiting professor of classics, University of Colorado, 1978; professor-in-charge, Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies, Rome, 1975; visiting member, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton 1979, 1981; vis. scholar, University of Texas, Austin, 1987; Fondation Hardt, Vandoeuvres, Switz., 1988; vis. fellow, Trinity College, Cambridge, 1988; adjunct prof. humanities York University, 1990-96; distinguished vis. lecturer, Concordia University, Montreal, 1992-93; vis. scholar Rockefeller Study and Conference Center, Bellagio (Como), Italy, 1993; decorated knight Commander Order St. John of Jerusalem; officer Order of Canada; recipient Silver Jubilee medal Queen Elizabeth II, 1977; 125th Anniversary medal Canadian Confederation, Golden Jubilee medal Queen Elizabeth II, 2002; Woodrow Wilson fellow, 1947-48; Canadian Council fellow, 1973-74; Killam research fellow, 1979-80; fellow, Vanier College, York University, 1991-2007; vis. scholar, 1996-2007; fellow Royal Society of Canada (hon. editor, 1970-83; president, 1984-87; past president, 1987-89, Centennial medal 1982); president, Vergilian Society of America, 1972-74; honorary president for life, 1988-2007; president, CAMWS, 1972-73; president, Classical Association of Canada, 1978-80.

  • Dissertation:

    "Athens and Macedon: A Study of Relations from the Sixth to the Mid-Fifth Century B.C." (Princeton, 1950).

  • Publications:

    “Herodotus and Alexander I of Macedon,” TAPA 80 (1949) 428-29; “Some Books or Pamphlets Concerned with Greek Tragedy,” CJ 50 (1954) 43-47; A Survey of Recent Books on Aeschylus,” CW 48 (1955) 145-50 & 153-59; Naples and Campania. Texts and Illustrations, with introduction, bibliography, & index by McKay (Oberlin, OH, 1962) REV: CW LVI 1963 186 Hulley | CB XXXIX 1963 80 Schoder; “Latin Studies in Canada,” Romanitas 4 (1962) 323-31; Naples and Campania (Oberlin, OH, 1962) REVS: CJ LIX 1963 92-94 Reinke; “Vergilian Scholarship 1962-1963,” Vergilius 9 (1963) 33-36; “Vergilian Bibliography 1963-1964,” Vergilius 10 (1964) 40-44; “Italian Archaeology,” CW 58 (1964-65) 178-79; “Vergilian Bibliography, 1964-1965,” Vergilius 11 (1965) 40-47; “Aeschylean Studies 1955-1964,” CW 59 (1965-66) 40-48 ; 65-75; “Vergilian Bibliography, 1965-66,” Vergilius 12 (1966) 39-45; “The Achaemenides Episode, Vergil, Aeneid iii, 588-691,” Vergilius 12 (1966) 31-38; “Vergilian Bibliography, 1966-1967,” Vergilius 13 (1967) 35-41; “Aeneas' Landfalls in Hesperia,” G&R 14 (1967) 3-11; “William Sherwood Fox, 1878-1967,” Phoenix 21 (1967) 235-36; “Vergilian Bibliography 1967-1968,” Vergilius 14 (1968) 16-27; Roman Lyric Poetry. Catullus and Horace, ed. McKay & D.M. Shepherd (London, 1969) REVS: CW LXIV 1970 90 Anderson | JRS LX 1970 267 Wiseman | Vergilius XVI 1970 47-48 Tucker ; CJ LXVIII 1973 386-387 Rexine | Phoenix XXV 1971 177-179 Lee | Mod. Lang. Journ. LV (Nat. Fed. of Mod. Lang. Teachers Boulder, Colo.) 1971 262 Thurman; “Vergilian Bibliography 1968-1969,” Vergilius 15 (1969) 42-52; “Vergilian Bibliography, 1969-70,” Vergilius 16 (1970) 33-39; Vergil's Italy (Greenwich, CT, 1970) REVS: PVS X 1970-1971 63-64 Currie | Phoenix XXV 1971 402-403 Russell | TLS LXX 1971 948 | Vergilius XVIII 1972 56-57 Lloyd | JRS LXII 1972 220-221 Wellesley | ACR I 1971 246-247 Galinsky | CR XXIII 1973 41-42 Ogilvie; “Vergilian Bibliography 1970-71,” Vergilius 17 (1971) 13-21; Ancient Campania, I-II (Hamilton, ON, 1972) REVS: ACR III 1973 198-199 D'Arms; “Vergilian Bibliography 1971-1972,” Vergilius 18 (1972) 16-30; “Vergilian Bibliography, 1972-1973,” Vergilius 19 (1973) 33-40; “Apollo Cumanus,” Vergilius 19 (1973) 51-63; “Supplementum. An Unpublished Statue Base at Cumae,” Vergilius 19 (1973) 63-64; “An Index of CW Surveys of Scholarship,” CW 67 (1973-1974) 221-24; “Recent Work on Vergil. A Bibliographical Survey, 1964-1973,” CW 68 (1974) 1-92; “Vergilian Bibliography 1973-1974,” Vergilius 20 (1974) 33-44; “Bibliography of Books and Articles Written by Edward Togo Salmon,” in Polis and Imperium. Studies in Honour of Edward Togo Salmon, ed. J.A.S. Evans (Toronto, 1974) 3-9; “Vergilian Bibliography (1974-1975),” Vergilius 21 (1975) 51-59; Houses, Villas and Palaces in the Roman World (London, 1975) REVS: TLS LXXIV 1975 780 Plommer | Antiquity L 1976 155-156 Liversidge | G&R XXIII 1976 207 Sparkes | Phoenix XXX 1976 305-308 Russell | Vergilius XXII 1976 47-50 Fears | CW LXX 1977 331 MacKendrick | JRS LXVII 1977 224 Percival | CJ LXXII 1976-1977 173-174 Pascal | CR XXVIII 1978 124-126 Ling; German translation: Römische Häuser, Villen und Paläste, ed. & trans. R. Fellmann (Basel, 1980) REVS: Gnomon LV 1983 351-356 Raeder; Roman Satire. Horace, Juvenal, Persius, Petronius and Seneca, ed. McKay & D.M. Shepherd (New York, 1976) REVS: Phoenix XXXI 1977 92-93 Rudd | EMC XXII 1978 77 Kilpatrick; “Vergilian Bibliography (1975-76),” Vergilius 22 (1976) 34-44; “Vergilian Bibliography (1976-77),” Vergilius 23 (1977) 55-69; “Vergilian Bibliography (1977-1978),” Vergilius 24 (1978) 62-76; Vitruvius, Architect and Engineer. Buildings and Building Techniques in Augustan Rome, Inside the Ancient World (Basingstoke, Eng., 1978); “Vergilian Bibliography (1978-1979),” Vergilius 25 (1979) 46-50; “Vergilian Bibliography (1979-1980),” Vergilius 26 (1980) 56-73; “Vergilian Bibliography XIX, 1980-81,” Vergilius 27 (1981) 57-71; “The Villa Vergiliana and the Vergilian Colloquium,” in Vergilian Bimillenary Lectures 1982 (ed.) (College Park, MD, 1982) 179-97; Vergilian Bibliography: 1981-82,” Vergilius 28 (1982) 65-80; “Aristaeus and Camilla,” LF 106 (1983) 20-23; “Vergilian Bibliography, 1982-1983,” Vergilius 29 (1983) 55-76; “Vergilian Bibliography, 1983-1984,” Vergilius 30 (1984) 44-60; “The Vergil Portrait,” Vergilius 30 (1984) 1-9; “Vergilian Heroes and Toponymy. Palinurus and Misenus,” in Mnemai. Classical Studies in Memory of Karl K. Hulley, ed. H.D. Evjen (Chico, CA, 1984) 121-37; “Art and Architecture as Severan Coin Types,” in Ancient Coins of the Graeco-Roman World. The Nickle Numismatic Papers, ed. W. Heckel & R. Sullivan (Waterloo, ON, 1984) 241-260; “Vergilian Bibliography 1984-1985,” Vergilius 31 (1985) 62-80; “Vergilian Bibliography: 1985-1986,” Vergilius 32 (1986) 79-97; Roma Antiqua. Latium and Etruria. A Sourcebook of Classical Texts (Lanham, MD, 1986) REVS: Vergilius XXXIII 1987 134-136 Geffcken; “Vergilian Bibliography: 1986-1987,” Vergilius 33 (1987) 77-100; “Vergilian Bibliography: 1987-1988,” Vergilius 34 (1988) 139-78; “Vergil's Aeolus Episode,” Daidalikon: Studies in Memory of Raymond V. Schoder, ed. Robert F. Sutton (Wauconda, IL, 1989) 249-56; “Vergilian Bibliography: 1988-1989,” Vergilius 35 (1989) 89-120: Craig Kallendorf, “Vergilian Scholarship in the Nineties: A Panel Sponsored by the Vergilian Society of America: Nachleben," with a reply by McKay Vergilius 36 (1990) 82-100; “Vergilian Bibliography: 1989-1990,” Vergilius 36 (1990) 104-28; “Vergilian Bibliography: 1990-1991,” Vergilius 37 (1991) 77-111; “Prometheus Then and Now,” AugAge 10 (1990-1992) 26-33; “Vergilian Bibliography: 1991-1992,” Vergilius 38 (1992) 89-112; “Personal Religion in the Roman Poets: First Century B.C. to First Century A.D.,” BAL 22 (1993) 121-36; “Vergilian Bibliography: 1992-1993,” Vergilius 39 (1993) 39-67; “Vergilian Bibliography: 1993-1994,” Vergilius 40 (1994) 94-114; Vergilian Bibliography: 1995-1996,” Vergilius 42 (1996) 103-32; “Vergilian Bibliography: 1996-1997,” Vergilius 43 (1997) 101-21; “Review Article: The Monuments of Cumae,” Vergilius 43 (1997) 78-88; “Vergilian Bibliography: 1997-1998,” Vergilius 44 (1998) 85-109; “Domitianic Construction at Cumae (Campania),” in “Qui miscuit utile dulci”: Festschrift Essays for Paul Lachlan MacKendrick, ed. Gareth L. Schmeling & Jon D. Mikalson (Wauconda, IL, 1998) 223-242; “Vergilian Bibliography: 1998-1999,” Vergilius 45 (1999) 77-110; “Vergilian Bibliography: 1999-2000,” Vergilius 46 (2000) 131-54; “Vergilian Bibliography: 2000-2001,” Vergilius 47 (2001) 194-218; “Vergilian Bibliography: 2001-2002,” Vergilius 48 (2002) 131-52; “Vergilian Bibliography: 2002-2003,” Vergilius 49 (2003) 114-34; “Dido's Court Philosopher,” in “Daimonopylai”: Essays in Classics and the Classical Tradition Presented to Edmund G. Berry, ed. Rory B. Egan and Mark A. Joyal (Winnipeg, 2004) 297-307; “Vergilian Bibliography: 2003-2004,” Vergilius 50 (2004) 131-57; “Vergilian Bibliography: 2004-2005,” Vergilius 51 (2005) 62-86; “Vergilian Bibliography: 2005-2006,” Vergilius 52 (2006) 138-61; “The Cult and Complexity of Vergilian Terror,” in Être romain: hommages in memoriam Charles Marie Ternes, ed. Robert Bedon & Michel Polfer (Remshalden, 2007) 27-40.

  • Notes:

    Alexander "Sandy" McKay was born to an academic family on Christmas Eve. His grandfather was the greatly admired chancellor of the university where Sandy would spend the bulk of his career. He was a Duke of Wellington Scholar at Trinity College at the University of Toronto, where he graduated with honors in Classics, a Kellogg Fellow at Yale, and a Woodrow Wilson Fellow at Princeton. After alighting at various colleges, he landed for good at McMaster, where he served for 33 years as teacher, scholar, and administrator. Sandy was known above all for three features of his career: He was an early leader of tours for the Vergilian Society of America, which he continued for nearly fifty years, endearing himself to generations of parents, teachers, and even high-school children who grew up to be parents and teachers themselves partially from the example of his learning, gentleness, and generosity. Many of these maintained their membership in the Society out of the warmth of their memories of Sandy. At the 50th anniversary of the Society, he was swamped with former charges of his who came to the meeting in Washington to relive their long-ago experiences. His elegant and crisp Latin style graced the CAMWS ovationes for over ten years, and to received one of his witty and generous plaudits delivered in his rich baritone voice was a thrill for recipient and listener alike. He received a CAMWS ovatio himself in 1978. Perhaps he will be best remembered in posterity for his indefatigable annual bibliographies of Virgil published for over forty years in Vergilius, each list running into the hundreds of items. In graduate school he had developed an interest in Aeschylus. The editor of Classical World initiated a series of bibliographical surveys on individual authors intended to summarize work done during the war that those in service might have missed. Sandy contributed an early survey on Aeschylus and found the work congenial to him, but soon found his interest diverted to Virgil. As a result, every Virgil scholar is eternally in his debt. The numerous presidencies of professional societies entrusted to him, the honorary degrees and tributes bestowed upon him by his peers, and the warmth he engendered in others through the kindness and liberality he showed them all made him one of the most beloved members of his profession.

  • Sources:

    WhAm (2006) 3130; Herbert Benario, CW 101, 4 ((2007-8) 542-3.

  • Author: Ward W. Briggs, Jr.