North American Scholar

PHARR, Clyde

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  • Date of Birth: 1885-02-17
  • Born City: Saltillo
  • Born State/Country: TX
  • Parents: Samuel Milton, a farmer, & Josephine Fleming P.
  • Date of Death: 1972-12-31
  • Death City: Austin
  • Death State/Country: TX
  • Married: Mary Elizabeth Brown, 19 Dec. 1945.
  • Education:

    B.S. East Texas Normal Coll. (Commerce, TX), 1903; A.B., 1905; B.A. Yale, 1906; Ph.D., 1910 (Abernethy fell.); study in Berlin, 1910; AFS fell. Paris, 1920-21.

  • Dissertation:

    "Hellanicus and the Ionian Logography" (Yale, 1910); printed (Weimar, 1915)

  • Professional Experience:

    Tchr. Ridgeway, TX, 1903-4; prof. Gk. & Lat. Urbana (OH) U. School, 1906-7, 1912-3; fell. AIA at ASCSA, 1910-12; asst. prof. Gk. & Lat. Ohio Wesleyan U., 1912-7; prof. Gk. & Lat. Southwestern Presbyterian U. (Clarksville, TN), 1918-20, 1921-4; asso. prof, to prof. Gk. & Lat. & head dept. class. Vanderbilt, 1924-50; vis. prof. U. Texas, 1950-3; res. prof. Rom. law, 1953-66; legal adviser U.S. Draft Board, 1917-8; mng. comm. ASCSA, 1941-72; pres. So. Sect. CAMWS, 1937-8; pres. CAMWS, 1943-4.

  • Publications:

    "A Year-or-More of Greek," CJ 13 (1917-8) 364-71; Homeric Greek: A Book for Beginners (Boston, 1921; 5th ed., 1925; repr. Norman, OK, 1959); "Homer and the Study of Greek," CW 14 (1920-1) 114-8; "Ovid for Caesar," C7 21 (1925-6) 11-20; "The Testimony of Josephus to Christianity," AJP 48 (1927) 137-47; Vergil's Aeneid Books I-VI (Boston, 1930; 2d ed. Boston, 1964); "The Interdiction of Magic in Roman Law," TAPA 63 (1932) 269-95; "Roman Legal Education," CJ 34 (1938-9) 257-70; "The Text and Interpretation of the Theodosian Code, 6, 4, 21," AJP 66 (1945) 50-8; "A Thirteenth Century Formula of Anathema," ibid., 135-50; "The Text of Gratian's Decretum 11.32, 4, 5," ibid., 255-65; "The Text and Interpretation of the Theodosian Code, 7, 20, 2," AJP 67 (1946) 16-28; "A Project for the Translation of Roman Law," with T. S. Davidson & M. B. Pharr, CJ 42 (1946-7) 141-6; The Theodosian Code and Novels and the Sirmondian Constitutions, with T. S. Davidson & M. B. Pharr, intro. C. Dickerman Williams (Princeton, 1952); gen. ed., Corpus Iuris Romani II. Ancient Roman Statutes, trans. A. C. Johnson, P. R. Coleman-Norton, & F. C. Bourne (Austin, 1961); foreword to W. B. Owen & E. J. Goodspeed, Homeric Vocabularies: Greek and English Wordlists for the Study of Homer (Norman, OK, 1969).

  • Notes:

    Clyde Pharr was raised on a combination farm and ranch in Texas, where, in his words, "we had much hard manual labor the whole year long. At an early age my younger brother Frank and I developed the habit of running away from home." Though he attended school for only two or three months out of the year, he entered East Texas Normal College, where he made the friendship of Sam Rayburn, future speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.A man who defied considerable odds to become a leading classical scholar, Pharr always credited two or three teachers from his early youth for setting him on the path and taking him away from the farmlands. Consequently he viewed teaching as a duty of the highest importance and he was remembered by generations of students at Vanderbilt and Texas. Some recalled him as kind and effective, a man who could keep their affection while saying only half-seriously, "Oh, the infinite resistance of the human mind to the penetration of knowledge." As a scholar he devoted himself to Roman law in an age when the Bonner-Smith school drew so many to the study of Greek law. He and his wife, Mary Brown, made an effective team, devoting themselves for years to the first of their projected Corpus of Roman Law series, the first English translation of Theodosius, a work vital for the understanding of the law of the later Roman Empire. Theodosius' stilted arguments and unusual diction give particular difficulty to the translator. The method was to have Vanderbilt students produce rough drafts, which were then corrected and polished by the Pharrs. The edition was designed for non-Latinists, so there are no Latin phrases in the text, only in the notes and glossary. In addition he supervised translations of the 16 Sirmondian Constitutions and the 26 constitutions of Theodosius II as well as the 58 Post-Theodosian Novels to make a volume of over 700 pages in two columns per page. Pharr's unique school edition of Virgil, with vocabulary and notes on the same page as the text along with foldout vocabulary pages in the back, remained in print and widely used 50 years after its publication.

  • Sources:

    Biographical file, Texas Historical Collection, U. Texas; WhAm 7:452.

  • Author: Ward W. Briggs, Jr.