North American Scholar

QUINN, Betty Nye

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1921-03-22
  • Born City: Buffalo
  • Born State/Country: NY
  • Parents: Fritz Arthur & Alma Svenson Hedberg
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1997-01-29
  • Death City: South Hadley
  • Death State/Country: MA
  • Married: John F. Quinn, 21 September 1950.
  • Education:

    A.B. Mt. Holyoke, 1941; Frances Mary Hazen fell., 1941-43; M.A. Bryn Mawr, 1942; Ph.D., 1944; Am. Acad. Rome scholar, 1943-44, American Philosophical Soc. Grant, 1952.

  • Professional Experience:

    Analyst, U.S. Army, 1944-46; CIA, 1947; instr. to asst. prof. classics, Vassar, 1948-59; dir. Pub. Relats., 1952-59; assoc. prof. classics, 1959-68; prof. Mt. Holyoke, 1968-91; chair dept. 1965-86;  Pres., CANE, 1970-71.

  • Dissertation:

    “The Medieval Tradition of the Bucolic” (Bryn Mawr, 1944)

  • Publications:

    "Ps.-Theodolus", Catalogus translationum et commentariorum: mediaeval and Renaissance latin translations and commentaries, vol. 2 (1971) 386-410; Menaechmi, rev. ed. with introd. & vocab. with G. Lawall (Wauconda, IL: Bolchazy-Carducci, 1978, 1995, repr. 2002); The Aulularia of Plautus: The Pot of Gold with G. Lawall (Longman, 1988).

  • Notes:

    Betty Nye Quinn taught Classics at Mount Holyoke College for 32 years, from which she graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1941. She was elected a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome for 1943-44, but the war prevented her from taking up the fellowship. Following gradu­ate work at Bryn Mawr, she went to Washington to work in the War Department where her enthusiasm for Caesar served her well; she was the specialist on Balkan armaments and troop movements. After the war she moved on to the CIA as an editorial analyst until 1947. Despite this disappointment she never lost her loyal­ty and enthusiasm for the American Academy and later served as a juror for the Academy. She received numerous grants in support of research and published articles on classical and particularly mediaeval Latin literature in TAPA, Speculum, and other journals, con­tributed the section on Pseudo-Theodolus in Volume II of the Catalogus Translationum et Commentariorum edited by Paul Kristeller (Catholic University of America, 1971) and the chapter on Coesai in Volume I of Ancient Writers, edited by T. James Luce (Scribners, 1982). She was a regular review­er for Choice. She and Gilbert Lawall were co-authors of two editions which have become standards in he classroom: Plautus' Menaechmi (1981) and Aulularia (1988). For some years Professor Quinn served on the examining committee for the AP Latin exam and as reader for Latin IV; she served a term on the APA Subcommittee for the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae. Betty Quinn instilled in her students her own passionate love of the classics and meticulousness in scholarship and research. Her classes were legendary at Mount Holyoke. All the students on campus knew that Classics students were privileged to learn Latin to the accompaniment of tea, home-made brownies, and the companionship of a succession of black cocker spaniels: Agrippina, Poppaea Sabina, Aemilia Lepida, Valeria Messalina (the golden male Fulvius Nobilior was an anomaly, but no less loved for that). Her Christmas parties and “collapse” parties after com­mencement were famous in the College. As Professor Lawall said at her memorial service, “in the Five College area she promoted “a sense of community of classical scholars ... by graciously opening her house on many, many occasions for Classics faculty in the Valley to meet one another socially, to find out what was happening in the various departments of Classics, and to get caught up on one another's scholarly pro­jects ... Betty Quinn will always be remembered in the Valley as a Grand Lady of Classics.”

  • Sources:

    Who Was Who Am 13 (1998-2000).

  • Author: Bonnie A. Catto