North American Scholar

RICHARDS, John Francis Chatterton

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1897-03-09
  • Born City: Cardiff
  • Born State/Country: Wales
  • Parents: Rev. George Chatterton, classicist, & A. Elizabeth Hughes R.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1992-10-15
  • Death City: Hopkinton
  • Death State/Country: RI
  • Married: Elva Skogsbergh, 10 July 1935.
  • Education:

    B.A. Oxford (Christ Church), 1921; M.A., 1927; A.M. Harvard, 1933; Ph.D., 1934.

  • Professional Experience:

    Prof. Eng. Koto-Gakko Govt. Sch. (Mito, Japan), 1921-4; class, master Eton Coll., 1925-6; instr. Gk. & Lat. Dartmouth, 1927-30; instr. & tut. class. Harvard, 1930-6; asst. prof, class. U. Rochester, 1936-9; instr. to asso. prof. Gk. & Lat. Columbia, 1939-62; asso. prof, class. U. Connecticut at Storrs (1962-7).

  • Dissertation:

    "De Dialecto Milesia" (Harvard, 1933).

  • Publications:

    (Selected): Theophrastus "On Stones," with Earle R. Caley (Columbus, OH, 1956); Essentials of Latin (Oxford, 1958); "The Poems of Galeatius Ponticus Facinus," Studies in the Renaissance 6 (1959) 94-128; "The Elysium of Julius Caesar Bordonius, (Scaliger)," ibid., 9 (1962) 195-217; "Nine New Manuscripts of Theophrastus' On Stones," CP 58 (1963) 34-6; "The Poems of C. Aurelius Cambinus," Studies in the Renaissance 12 (1965) 73-109; "Some Early Poems of Antonio Geraldini," ibid., 13 (1966) 123-46.

  • Notes:

    John F. C. Richards, son of the Ciceronian scholar and translator of Wilamowitz's memoirs, G. C. Richards, professor of Greek at Cardiff, fellow and tutor of Oriel and Canon Professor at Durham, was one of the few English classical scholars who emigrated to the United States before World War II. An old Salopian, he learned Greek and Latin verse and prose composition at Shrewsbury School, where he excelled in rowing and fives. He served in the British Army from 1916 to 1919. Upon discharge he entered Christ Church, Oxford, where his tutors were R. H. Dundas and J. G. C. Anderson. He has left an informative unpublished memoir of his time there at the Koto-Gakko, a Government School at Mito in Japan.On his return to England in 1925 via India where he met Ghandi, he became briefly classics master at Eton. A year later he emigrated to the United States and in 1927, with the help of H. W. Prescott of Chicago, began a three-year appointment at Dartmouth College. In 1930 he went to Harvard and took the doctorate under two Englishmen, A. D. Nock and Joshua Whatmough. His best student at Harvard was E. L. Bassett, later professor at the University of Chicago. At Columbia his courses in Greek and Latin prose composition and his occasional verse, some of which was published in CJ and CW, have been long remembered. His triumphal elegiacs, published in the Oxford Magazine 68 (4 Nov. 1948) 102, and composed for the inauguration in 1948 of Dwight D. Eisenhower as president of Columbia, begin: Praeses adest. Salve tu, belli fulmen et alter  / Scipiada; pacis nos moderare via./ Tu, decus O nostrum, peregrinis victor ab oris / Venisti, et cedunt militis arma togae.  Among his Columbia students were Evelyn Byrd Harrison and Howard Jacobson. He was ever the quintessential English gentleman-scholar, always courteous, cheerful, and hospitable to students and young colleagues. After retirement as associate professor and without the title Emeritus, he taught successfully at the University of Connecticut at Storrs, where his virtues were warmly appreciated by students, colleagues, and administration. He spent almost 25 years of happy retirement in his 18th-century residence at Hopkinton, RI.He expertly edited with P. O. Kristeller a number of Renaissance Latin texts. His beginning grammar for adult students, Essentials of Latin, was long used with profit in General Studies at Columbia. His most lasting contribution was his edition and commentary of Theophrastus, De Lapidibus, done with the chemist E. R. Caley. He was a loyal friend and helpful counselor, an eloquent survivor of a vanished age, more civilized than our own.

  • Sources:

    W. M. Calder III & Thomas A. Suits, APA Newsletter (Apr. 1993) 15; J. F. C. Richards, A Frivolous Life (privately printed, 1970); Rev. G. C. Richards, An Oxonian Looks Back (1885-1945), ed. J. F. C. Richards (privately printed, 1960); personal knowledge.

  • Author: William M. Calder III