North American Scholar

MERRILL, William Augustus

  • Image
  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1860-09-14
  • Born City: Newburyport
  • Born State/Country: MA
  • Parents: Oliver Brown & Amanda Frances Edgerly
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1930-12-20
  • Death City: Berkeley
  • Death State/Country: CA
  • Married: Imogene Williams Babson, 28 Aug. 1883.
  • Education:

    A.B. Amherst Coll., 1880; M.A., 1884; Ph.D. (hon.) Ohio U., 1893; L.H.D. Miami U., 1893.

  • Professional Experience:

    Prof. anc. langs. Belmont Coll. (Cincinnati), 1883-8; prof. Lat. Miami U., 1888-93; Indiana U., 1893-4; prof. Lat. lang. & lit. U.California, 1894-1927; pres. Pac. Coast Div., APA, 1903-4; ann. prof. AAR, 1924-5.  

  • Publications:

    "Some Peculiarities of Diction and Syntax in Cicero's De legibus," PAPA 18 (1887) xxxi-xxxiv; "Hale on the Cum Construction in Latin," Education 8,9 (May 1888); "Virgil or Cicero, Which Should Precede?" The Academy 3,5 (June 1888); "The Signification and Use of the Word Natura in Lucretius," PAPA 22 (1891) xxxii-xxxv; "Some Lucretian Emendations," AJP 21 (1900) 183-7; Latin Hymns (Boston, 1904); "Notes on the Influence of Lucretius on Vitruvius," PAPA 35 (1904) xvi-xxi; "On the Influence of Lucretius on Horace," UCPCP 1:4 (1904) 111-29; "On Lucretius V, 1006," AJP 28 (1907) 66-76; T. Lucreti Cari De Rerum Natura libri sex (New York, 1907); "Cicero's Knowledge of Lucretius' Poem," UCPCP 2:2 (1909) 35-42; "On the Contracted Genitive in I in Latin," UCPCP 2:4 (1910) 57-79; "Studies in the Text of Lucretius, UCPCP 2:6 (1911) 93-150; "The Archetype of Lucretius," UCPCP 2:10 (1913) 227-35; " Corruption in the Manuscripts of Lucretius," UCPCP 2:11 (1914) 237-58; "Proposed Emendations of Lucretius, Criticism of the Text of Lucretius with Suggestions for Its Improvement, Part I, Books I-III," UCPCP 2:12 (1914) 255-6; 3:1 (1916) 1-46; "Part II, Books IV-VI," 3:2 (1916) 47-133; Lucreti De Rerum Natura libri sex, UCPCP A (Berkeley, 1917); "Parallels and Coincidences in Lucretius and Virgil," UCPCP 3:3 (1918) 135-247; "Parallels and Coincidences in Lucretius and Ennius," UCPCP 3:4 (1918) 249-64; "Notes on Lucretius," UCPCP 3:5 (1918) 265-316; "Notes on the Silvae of Statius, Books I-IV," UCPCP 5:4-7 (1918-20) 69-134; "Notes on the Silvae of Statius, Book V," UCPCP 5:10 (1921) 155-82; "Lucretius and Cicero's Verse," UCPCP 5:9 (1921) 143-54; "The Lucretian Hexameter, I," UCPCP 5:12 (1922) 253-86; "The Lucretian Hexameter, II," UCPCP 5:13 (1923) 287-334; "The Characteristics of Lucretius's Verse," UCPCP 1:1 (1924) 221-37; "Lucubrationes Lucretianae," UCPCP 7:8 (1924) 239-67; "The Metrical Techniques of Lucretius and Cicero," UCPCP 7:10 (1924) 293-306; "The Italian Manuscripts of Lucretius, I, UCPCP 9:2 (1926); "II," ibid. 9:3-4 (1927); "II Concluded," ibid. 9 (1929); "Lucretian and Virgilian Rhythm," UCPCP 9:10 (1929) 373-404.

  • Notes:

    Merrill was the first member of the Berkeley classics department to publish a major work of scholarship. His edition of Lucretius, followed by his text a decade later, were the fruit of his lifelong study of Lucretius, culminating in his editions of 1907 and 1917. His commentary was the best in English between those of Munro and Bailey. Though Lucretius had the chief claim on his affections, he had as a personal habit reading daily from a Latin text that he had previously not read. In this way he developed a knowledge of all Latin literature that was as wide as his knowledge of Lucretius was deep. Later in his career he devoted himself to the Silvae of Statius. He was so successful during his year at the AAR that he returned in the year following his retirement.He was a force in faculty politics at Berkeley, where he edited the Regents' Manual and steadfastly but unsuccessfully argued for maintaining Greek or Latin as a requirement for graduation. His values in nearly every cause were highly conservative and his attitude toward progress, in education as well as government, was pessimistic.

  • Sources:

    CJ 26 (1930-1) 492; Fontenrose, 18-20; H. C. Nutting, AJP 52 (1931) 99-100; resolution adopted by the Academic Senate, Univ. of California, Berkeley, 6 Apr. 1931; WhAm 4:655.

  • Author: Ward W. Briggs, Jr.