North American Scholar

ROBINSON, Dwight Nelson

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1886-09-17
  • Born City: Winchester
  • Born State/Country: MA
  • Parents: Edwin & Mary Bradford Dodge R.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1941-10-30
  • Death City: Delaware
  • Death State/Country: OH
  • Education:

    A.B. Harvard, 1908; A.M., 1909; Ph.D., 1911.

  • Professional Experience:

    Instr. Lat. & Gk. Yale, 1911-6; asso. prof, to prof. Gk. & Lat. Ohio Wesleyan U., 1916-41; asso. ed. CJ, 1935-41.

  • Dissertation:

    "Quibus temporibus religiones ab oriente ortae et Romae et in provinciis Romanis floruerint desierintque quaeritur" (Harvard, 1911).

  • Publications:

    Plays and Songs for Latin Clubs (Delaware, OH, 1921); Cleopatra and Other Latin Plays and Songs (Delaware, OH, 1924); Narcissus and Other Latin Plays (Delaware, OH, 1928); "The Creed of a Classicist," CJ 25 (1929-30) 601-10; Vergilius and Other Latin Plays (Delaware, OH, 1937); "Latin Studies in the United States," Per lo studio e I'uso del latino (Rome, 1940).

  • Notes:

    Dwight Robinson, "Robbo" to his students, taught Latin and Greek at Ohio Wesleyan for 25 years. He delivered the annual graduation address in Latin for his undergraduate class. Legend has it that H. W. Smyth asked him at his oral examination to translate Lincoln's Gettysburg Address into sixth-century Doric Greek and that he rattled it off. His dissertation, which utilized epigraphical as well as literary sources, concerned the rise and fall of oriental cults in the western part of the Roman Empire. He wrote the preface to the Classical Journal volume dedicated to the bimillennium of Virgil's birth, in which he described the "creed of a classicist": a deep love for beauty, exactness, and a finer civilization. He was an excellent and popular teacher. For many years he annually wrote, or translated into Latin, Christmas carols. These were sung through the streets of Delaware and published locally. On the secular side, he gave Roman banquets and translated the popular song "Yes, We Have No Bananas." He also composed short Latin dramas, the titles of which include Seneca, Proserpina, Orpheus, Nero, and Atalanta. His sudden death, 36 hours after his last lecture and just two months before America's entry into World War II, brought a temporary end to the teaching of classics at Ohio Wesleyan.

  • Sources:

    Ernest Amy, Ohio Wesleyan Magazine 19.2 (1941) 29, 36; Anon., "The Classics at Ohio Wesleyan," Ohio Wesleyan Magazine 18.1 (1940) 4, 9, 24; CJ 37 (1941-2) 251-2; WhAm 2:453.

  • Author: Donald Lateiner