North American Scholar

NIXON, Paul

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1882-05-23
  • Born City: Des Moines
  • Born State/Country: IA
  • Parents: William Goodin, a banker, & Helen Andrews N.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1956-10-27
  • Death City: West Harpswell
  • Death State/Country: ME
  • Married: Dorothea Margaret Thompson, 30 July 1907; Mathilde C. Spengler, 7 July 1919.
  • Education:

    A.B. Wesleyan U. (CT), 1904; A.M., 1905; L.H.D., 1927; LL.D. Colby Coll., 1938; L.H.D. Bowdoin, 1943; study at Balliol Coll. Oxford (Rhodes Scholar), 1904-7.

  • Professional Experience:

    Instr. class. Princeton, 1907-8; Dartmouth 1908-9; asst. prof, class. & hist, to prof. Lat. Bowdoin, 1909-46; Winkley prof. Lat., 1946-52; dean, 1918-47; pres. CANE, 1924-5.

  • Publications:

    "Herrick and Martial," CP 5 (1910) 189-202; A Roman Wit: Epigrams of Martial rendered into English (Boston & New York, 1911); Martial and the Modern Epigram (New York, 1927; London, 1934); Plautus (trans.) LCL, 5 vols. (New York & London, 1916-38).

  • Notes:

    Paul Nixon, known familiarly as "Nick," translated Plautus (for the Loeb Library) and Martial into a polite and modern American idiom. His formidable wit and keen humanity, along with an understanding of human foibles, were useful qualities in his nearly 30 years as dean. In addition to his teaching and decanal duties, he served informally as a placement adviser and was instrumental in the admissions process before the establishment of a college placement bureau (1944) and admissions office (1935). Nixon was a star football player for Wesleyan and was called on regularly at Bowdoin pep rallies, never more fervently than for the Wesleyan-Bowdoin game. He was the first Rhodes Scholar from Connecticut, but did not take a degree from Oxford. After a bout with throat cancer, he died suddenly while preparing to attend the Colby football game.

  • Sources:

    Red Cousins, Portland Press Herald (31 Oct. 1956); NatC 47:257; NYTimes (28 Oct. 1956) 89; WhAm 3:641.

  • Author: Ward W. Briggs, Jr.