North American Scholar

SAUNDERS, Catharine

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1872-01-08
  • Born City: Belfast
  • Born State/Country: NY
  • Parents: Charles W. a physician & Eliza Armstrong
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1943-01-18
  • Death City: Cuba
  • Death State/Country: NY
  • Education:

    A.B. Elmira Coll., 1891; study at Bryn Mawr, 1898-1900; Munich, 1903; Ph.D. Columbia, 1909.

  • Professional Experience:

    Lat. & math. tchr. Belfast (NY) HS, 1893-5; princ. Park Place Sch. (Elmira, NY), 1895-8; instr. Lat. Vassar, 1900-2, 1904-5, 1907-1913; asst. prof, to prof. Lat. 1913-42; alumnae trustee Elmira Coll., 1937-42.

  • Dissertation:

    "Costume in Roman Comedy" (Columbia, 1909); printed (New York, 1909)

  • Publications:

    “Altars on the Roman Comic Stage,” TAPA 42 (1910) 91-103; “The Site of Dramatic Performances at Rome in the Times of Plautus and Terence,” TAPA 44 (1912) 87-97; “Cicero's Attitude to the Conflict of 49 B. C.,” CW 18 (1924-5) 114-117; “The Relation of Aeneid III to the Rest of the Poem,” CQ (1925) 85-92; “Cremation and Inhumation in the Aeneid,” AJP 46 (1925) 352-7; “The Present Trend in Vergilian Studies,” CW 21 (1927-8) 27-9; “The Arms of Primitive Italy as Seen in Vergil's Aeneid,” TAPA 56 (1925) xxxv-xxxvi; “The Volscians in Vergil's Aeneid,” TAPA 58 (1927) 92-99; “The Allies of Aeneas,” TAPA 59 (1928) xxii; Vergil's Primitive Italy (New York: Oxford, 1930) REVS: RA 33 (1931) 207 Reinach | CJ 26 (1931) 708-10 Schmitz | CR (1931) 90 Rose | BAGB(SC) (1931) 155-158 | RPh (1932) 204-6 Couissin | AJA (1932) 587 Whitehead | Ath (1932) 310-13 Patroni | A&A (1932) 280 Ogle | CPh 27 (1932) 209 De Witt | CW 27 (1933-4) 53-5 Ogle | RPh 1934 326-7 Bayet; “Sources of the Names of Trojans and Latins in Vergil's Aeneid,” TAPA 71 (1940) 537-55; “The Nature of Rome's Early Appraisal of Greek Culture,” CP 39 (1944) 209-17.

  • Notes:

    Catharine Saunders' chief interests were the costume of Roman comedy and the ethnography of the Aeneid. A reserved and dignified woman, she sought precision and carefully weighed conclusions. To study costume and primitive civilizations, she visited excavations in Troy, Egypt, Italy, and Greece, and, in her last trip outside America, Mexico. Vergil's Primitive Italy gathered much evidence about the Italic peoples and is particularly instructive on the Italian Catalogue in book 8.614-817, and the Augustan aspects of the recently discovered (1925) underground structure of the Sibyl's Cave. Her rigorous thought and scrupulous attention to argument gave her writing a clarity that makes reading her work both pleasurable and illuminating. These same qualities were visible in her teaching. At Vassar she lived in Kendrick and taught Roman comedy, the Aeneid, and medieval and Renaissance Latin with what one obituary called "humor, charm, tolerance," and, in the end, stoicism in the face of her last lingering disease. She took very seriously her role as alumnae trustee at her alma mater, Elmira College, and she left a large collection of her books and pictures to the library.

  • Sources:

    AmWom 791; DAS 1942:724; Elmira Coll. Bull. (Spring 1943) 7-10; NYTimes (20 Jan. 1943) 19; Vassar Miscellany News 27.25 (23 Jan. 1943) 4.

    Image: Star-Gazette (Elmira NY) 29 Nov 1940 p15

  • Author: Ward W. Briggs, Jr.