North American Scholar

POTTER, Franklin Hazen

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1869-07-05
  • Born City: Carthage, Jefferson County
  • Born State/Country: NY
  • Parents: James Greene & Helen Mary Hazen P.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1956-04-01
  • Death City: Iowa City
  • Death State/Country: IA
  • Married: Nellie Edith Whitehead, 9 Sept. 1895.
  • Education:

    B.A. Colgate, 1892; M.A., 1895; study at U. Chicago, summers 1894-6, 1898, 1901-2.

  • Professional Experience:

    Prof. Lat. Ottawa (KS) U., 1892-5; instr. to prof. Lat. & Gk. U. Iowa, 1895-1939; rang. ed. C/, 1925-6, 1928-9, 1932-3; asso. ed., 1933-53; compiled index to vols. 1-25; ed. State University of Iowa Humanities Studies, 1916-48.

  • Publications:

    Specimens of the Latin Subjunctive 1899 never published but privately printed and circulated; A New Method for Caesar (Boston, 1915); An Elementary Latin Course (Boston, 1915); General Index to Classical Journal Vols. I-XXV (1905-1930) (Cedar Rapids, IA, 1930).

  • Notes:

    Franklin Potter is best known for his years of editorial service on the staff of the Classical Journal. He was a link to Iowa's past. Coming to the University of Iowa in 1895, he saw and contributed to its development from a small prairie institution to a great university. For various reasons, including inter-departmental jealousies at Chicago, he never received the Ph.D., and for various other reasons, including his failure to receive the degree, he was never head of the department of Latin at the University of Iowa. These were bitter disappointments; but Potter developed a wide gamut of teaching and professional activities to make up for them. He was a leading spirit in the organization of the former annual meetings of Iowa Latin teachers at Des Moines; of Eta Sigma Phi; of the Whitney Society, later the Humanist Society; and of the local chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, which he served as president of the chapter in 1930-31. He found time to publish a dozen articles as well as three books in the field of Latin teaching.He kept his vigor of body and mind until almost the very end of his long life, and was particularly proud of the fact that for 56 years, from 1895 until 1951, he never missed a class or an academic engagement because of illness of his own. He was a dedicated teacher, remembered by generations of students for the clarity of his explanations, his insistence on clean, accurate work, and his love of classical literature, Greek and Roman. He died in his 61st year of service on the faculty of the University of Iowa.

  • Sources:

    Colgate University Archives; "Comment on Death of Prof. Potter," Iowa City Press Citizen (2 Apr. 1956); The Daily Iowan (3 Apr. 1956); personal files of Oscar E. Nybakken; "Franklin Hazen Potter 1869-1956," eulogy read by his colleagues before the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts faculty on 16 May 1956; U. Iowa Archives.

  • Author: Archie C. Bush