North American Scholar

SEYMOUR, Thomas Day

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1848-04-01
  • Born City: Hudson
  • Born State/Country: OH
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1907-12-31
  • Death City: New Haven
  • Death State/Country: CT
  • Married: Sarah Melissa Hitchcock, 2 July 1874.
  • Education:

    B.A. Western Reserve, 1870; study at Leipzig & Berlin, 1870-2; B.A. (hon.) Yale, 1880.

  • Professional Experience:

    Prof. Gk. & Lat. Western Reserve, 1872-80; Hillhouse prof. Gk. Yale Coll., 1880-1907; mng. comm. ASCSA, 1884-1903; chair, 1897-1903; pres. APA, 1888-9; asso. fell. AAAS, 1900; pres. AIA, 1903-7; ed. CR, 1889-1907.

  • Publications:

    "On the Composition of the Cynegeticus of Xenophon," TAPA 9 (1878) 69-83; "On the Date of the Prometheus of Aeschylus," TAPA 10 (1879) 111-24; "On the Use of the Aorist Participle in Greek," TAPA 12 (1881) 88-96; Selected Odes of Pindar (Boston, 1882); Introduction to the Language and Verse of Homer (Boston, 1885); "On the Feminine Caesura in Homer," TAPA 16 (1885) 30-40; Homer: Iliad Books I-VI (Boston, 1887; rev. ed. 1903); A Concise Vocabulary of the First Six Books of the Iliad (Boston, 1889); "Note on Homeric War," TAPA 31 (1900) 82-92; Life in the Homeric Age (New York, 1908).

  • Notes:

    Thomas Day Seymour was called by Gildersleeve "America's leading Homerist" (AJP 29 [1908] 118). In 1880 he was called from his alma mater (where his father was also a professor of Greek and Latin for over 50 years) to succeed L. R. Packard as Hillhouse Professor at Yale. He enjoyed a distinguished career there to the end of his life, acclaimed as a teacher of both undergraduates and graduate students. Besides being one of the American editors of Classical Review, and editing with John Williams White the Ginn College Series of Greek Authors, he had an active interest in the American School of Classical Studies at Athens; during his 14-year chairmanship of the Managing Committee, the school saw growth, decided to approach seriously the excavation of Corinth, began cooperation with the British and German schools, and published significant papyri. As Lord says, "when Seymour surrendered the chairmanship to [J. R.] Wheeler he must have experienced a feeling of deep satisfaction at the work he had done; he could well have 'looked upon it and called it good'." His great work on Homer relied on his deep knowledge of the archaeological finds of the time and 35 years' study of the poet. Seymour was a unitarian in Homeric matters and is notable for researching the literary evidence as well as the archaeological sources. Unfortunately the strain of preparing the massive and detailed Life in the Homeric Age for publication may have contributed to his early death.

  • Sources:

    Louis E. Lord, A History of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens 1882-1942 (Cambridge, 1947), 49-98; Carl W. Mitman, DAB 9:10-11; Sandys, 465-6; Charles H. Weller, C7 3 (1907-8) 159-60; John Williams White, Memorial Address for Thomas Day Seymour 1848-1907 (New Haven, CT, 1908).

  • Author: Meyer Reinhold