North American Scholar

THROOP, George Reeves

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1882-01-24
  • Born City: Boydsville
  • Born State/Country: KY
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1949-11-11
  • Death City: Clayton
  • Death State/Country: MO
  • Married: Esther Lincoln Fellows, 30 Dec. 1910.
  • Education:

    A.B. DePauw, 1901; A.M., 1903; LL.D., 1929; Ph.D. Cornell, 1905; study at U. Chicago, 1907; study in Europe, 1910, 1927; LL.D. U. Missouri, 1930.

  • Professional Experience:

    Prof. Gk. Illinois Coll. (Jacksonville, IL), 1905-7; instr. to asso. prof. Lat. & Gk. Washington U., 1907-17; Collier prof. Gk., 1917-8; asst. librarian, St. Louis Publ. Lib., 1918-21; Collier prof. Gk. & asst. to chancellor Washington U., 1921-7; actng. chancellor, 1927-8; chancellor, 1928-44; prof. Lat. U. Colorado, summer 1909; Penn State, summer, 1914-6.

  • Dissertation:

    "A New Manuscript of Cicero's De Senectute" (Cornell, 1905); printed CP 3 (1908) 285-301

  • Publications:

    "Cicero's De Senectute 10 and 37," CP 6 (1911) 483-4; "Ancient Literary Detractors of Cicero," Washington U. Stud. Hum. Ser. 1,2, no. 1 (1913) 19-41; "The Lives and Verse of Roman Erotic Writers," ibid., ser. 4, 1, no. 4 (1914) 160-83; "Notes on Aeschylus' Agamemnon, 69-71 and 94-96," TAPA 47 (1916) xxiv-xxix; "Epic and Dramatic," Washington U. Stud. Hum. Ser. 5, 1 (1917) 11-32; "The Bird of Venus," ibid. 9,2 (1922) 275-91; "Epic and Dramatic II," ibid. 12 (1924) 67-104; "John Max Wülfing, the Man and Scholar," in Papers on Classical Subjects, ed. F. W. Shipley (St. Louis, 1930), 9-11.

  • Notes:

    Throop's career was distinguished by his achievements as chancellor of Washington University in the period 1927-44. In the early years the economic prosperity of the 1920s and a number of large endowments made possible expansion at the Medical School center and on the main campus. At the former the Dental School building, the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology, and McMillan Hospital were constructed, and at the latter Givens Hall (School of Architecture), Wayman Crow Hall of Physics, the George Warren Brown School of Social Work, and an extensive program of landscaping were completed in the years 1928-36. One other important facility, the cyclotron, was constructed in 1941. But by the middle 1930s the disastrous impact of the Great Economic Depression was keenly felt: in 1933 faculty and staff were forced to accept a 10 percent reduction in salaries, enrollments in the same year fell by 11 percent, and return on endowment investment was reduced by half. These unhappy conditions remained essentially unchanged until the entry of the nation into World War II in late 1941, and then followed a welter of administrative uncertainties as many of the younger faculty and a large part of the male student body left for military service. By June 1944, the stringencies and crises of a decade and a half had taken their toll and in broken health Throop was unable to continue serving. His productive scholarship covered the years 1908-24, from the publication of his Cornell dissertation to the completion of his longest study, "Epic and Dramatic." Yet his papers were few in number and too many were in-house publications, and thus not accessible to the majority of scholars. Of these perhaps the most interesting is "The Lives and Verse of the Roman Erotic Writers," which examines the relationship of the author's moral character to the erotic passages in his work. Throop shows that in these matters the Romans generally felt the man and his work to be more or less akin, and thus it became conventional for the writer to protest and argue for a distance of himself from the more shocking aspects of his subject matter. Various factors were at work: the social and moral standards of the times, the candor of the writer in confronting the unseemly and indelicate, and in some cases the belief that the creative temperament of the artist is above the standards of the rest of mankind. Even so, the protest theme became a trite and expected ritual, and so had no genuine relation to the writer's personal life. In "The Bird of Venus," Throop shows that though columbae, turtures, passeres, perdices, coturnices, anseres, anates, cygni, etc., were all associated with Venus, the sparrow (στρουθός, passer) was her companion from earliest times. Later it tended to be supplanted by the dove and other birds, but it maintained its function in part by virtue of its well-known amatory and reproductive characteristics. Finally, "Epic and Dramatic," his longest study, examines the influence of Homer on the form, composition, and nature of the drama of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. 

  • Sources:

    CJ 45 (1949-50) 186; A. S. Langsdorf, The Story of Washington University in St. Louis, 1853-1953 (unpubl. TS in Washington U. archives) Part II, Chap. Ill, "Chancellor Throop—Prosperity, Depression, and World War II," 1-46; NatCAB 38:510; WhAm 2:532.

  • Author: Kevin Herbert