• Date of Birth: March 31, 1899
  • Born City: Durham
  • Born State/Country: NC
  • Parents: Arthur Herbert, prof, of Gk. & Lat. at Duke U., & Cornelia Dean
  • Date of Death: July 07, 1989
  • Death City: Austin
  • Death State/Country: TX
  • Married: Mary Elizabeth Kirkland, 1923; Lucy T. Shoe, 1964.
  • Education:

    B.A. Hamilton Coll., 1920; Locke fell. ASCSA, 1920-21; Ph.D. Princeton, 1924.

  • Dissertation:

    "Studies in the Athenian Tribute Lists" (Princeton, 1924); printed AJA 29 (1925) 26-8, 247-73, 292-8, 445-7; publ. in book form (Princeton, 1926).

  • Professional Experience:

    Instr. Gk. U. Vermont, 1923-4; Brown, 1924-5; prof. Gk. Princeton, 1925-6; asst. dir. ASCSA, 1926-8; ann. prof., 1932-3, 1954-5; vis. prof., 1935-6, 1969-70; mem. mng. comm., 1926-69; chair Publ. comm., 1939-43; asso. to prof. Gk. & Lat. U. Michigan, 1928-33; dir. Athens Coll., 1932-3; Francis White prof. Gk., Johns Hopkins, 1933-5; prof. Gk. epigr. School of Historical Studies, IAS, Princeton, 1935-69; Eastman prof. Oxford, 1945-6; Sather prof., 1958-9; vis. prof. U. Texas, 1971-2; vis. schol., 1973-89; ed. AJP 1934-5, 1943-5; Goodwin Award, 1954; Order of the Phoenix (Greece); Commander, Order of George I (Greece); fell. AAAS; hon. councillor Gk. Arch. Soc; pres. APA, 1952-3; mem., APS; Germ. Arch. Inst.; corr. mem. Brit. Acad.

  • Publications:

    The Athenian Calendar in the Fifth Century (Cambridge, 1928); Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum, vol. 5, with Allen B. West (Leiden, 1931); Corinth vol. VIII, part I Greek Inscriptions 1896-1927 (Cambridge, 1931); Athenian Financial Documents of the Fifth Century (Ann Arbor, 1932); The Athenian Assessment of 425 B.C., with A. B. West (Ann Arbor, 1934); Documents on Athenian Tribute (Cambridge, 1937); The Athenian Tribute Lists, with H. T. Wade-Gery & M. F. McGregor, vol. 1 (Cambridge, 1939), vols. 2-4 (Princeton, 1949, 1950, 1953); The Chronology of Hellenistic Athens with W. K. Pritchett (Cambridge, 1940); Epigraphica Attica, Martin Classical Lectures 9 (Cambridge, 1940); The Athenian Year, Sather Lectures 32 (Berkeley & Los Angeles, 1961); "Greek Historical Studies," ^Semple Lectures 3 (Cincinnati, 1962) 95-132; Inscriptions from the Athenian Agora, photos by Alison Frantz (Princeton, 1966); "Polyeuktos and Philoneos," Studies Caplan, 26-42; Inscriptions: The Athenian Councillors, with John S. Traill, The Athenian Agora, vol. 15 (Princeton, 1974). Festschrift: Φόρος. Tribute to Benjamin Dean Meritt, ed. D.W. Bradeen & M. F. McGregor (Locust Valley, NY, 1974).

  • Notes:

    As one of the four charter members of the School of Humanistic (now Historical) Studies of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, Meritt became the leading scholar in Attic epigraphy and made the Institute a world center of epigraphical studies. From that center, with the collaboration of notable colleagues, he issued the monumental Athenian Tribute Lists and his seminal studies on the Athenian calendar, laying a new foundation for the study of imperial Athens. As a major pillar of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens he either published or supervised the prompt publication of some 7,000 inscriptions found in the course of 35 years of Agora excavations. Meanwhile he fostered the scholarship and careers of numerous students and younger colleagues. His remarkable skill with Attic inscriptions and his meticulous collation of these with contemporary ancient accounts, especially with Thucydides, have greatly enhanced our understanding of a memorable period in Western history.

  • Sources:

    INTWW 1979-80:833; W. H. Willis, APA Newsletter (Feb. 1990) 14-5.

  • Author: William H. Willis