North American Scholar
ROBINSON, Rachel Louisa Sargent
A.B. Bates College, 1914; A.M., U. of Illinois, 1917; Ph.D., 1923
- Professional Experience:
Teacher, Westbrook Seminary (Portland, Maine), 1914-16; Champaign (Illinois) High School, 1917-20; Shortridge High School (Indianapolis), 1920-22; University High School (Urbana, Illinois), 1922-24; Head of Classics Department, North Central College (Naperville, Illinois), 1924-9, asso. prof. Western Reserve, 1929-31; Guggenheim fell., 1928-9.
"The Size of the Slave Population at Athens during the Fifth and Fourth Centuries before Christ" (Illinois, 1923),
Sources for the History of Greek Athletics (Cincinnati: 338 Probasco St., 1955; repr. Chicago: Ares, 1984) REVS: G&R 2nd Ser. III 1956 168 | CW L 1957 152 Bedrick | Gnomon XXIX 1957 123-127 Reinmuth | CR VIII 1958 296 Luce | REG LXX 1957 531-533 Ginouvès | CPh LIV 1959 68-69 Pickel; "Athletic Festivals in Greece and Their Roman Patrons in the Second Century B.C.,” in Classical Studies Presented to Ben Edwin Perry by His Students and Colleagues at the University of Illinois, 1924-1960 (Urbana: U. of Illinois Press, 1969) 263-71.
Rachel Robinson taught Latin in the high schools of Lewiston, ME, and Urbana, IL, to pay for her undergraduate and graduate education. On the strength of her dissertation on Greek slavery, written under W.A. Oldfather, she received a Guggenheim fellowship to travel in Greece and study the social and economic life of ancient Greece, with a special interest in slavery. While at Urbana she had met an older graduate student, Rodney Potter Robinson, whom she later married when he was at Cincinnati and she was in Cleveland at Western Reserve. She resigned her position and moved to Cincinnati, where she read Greek with graduate students on an informal basis in their home for a number of years. In 1935, her husband was named professor-in-charge at the American Academy at Rome and the two traveled widely together. Back in Ohio, she found her chronic asthma exacerbated, but she kept working at the project suggested to her by Oldfather, a collection of sources on Greek athletics. After Rodney suffered a debilitating heart attack in 1941, she devoted herself to his care until his death in 1950. Despite her own failing health, she continued to meet with students and compile her research. Sources for the History of Greek Athletics was well reviewed and was adopted widely for courses in Greek athletics. At the age of 60 she returned to teaching to make ends meet, taking jobs at Ohio State, the University of Oklahoma, and Miami (Ohio), where her carefully prepared and energetic classes won the admiration of her students. As her asthma continued to deteriorate, she moved to an assisted living center, St. Margaret Hall in Cincinnati. She did not live to complete her sourcebook on Roman athletics.
C.R. Trahmann, Journal of Sport History 5,1 (Spring, 1978) 63-5.
- Author: Ward W. Briggs, Jr.