North American Scholar

WEBB, Robert Henning

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1882-02-21
  • Born City: Suffolk
  • Born State/Country: VA
  • Parents: Joseph Prentis, a businessman, & Annie Jourdan Darden W.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1952-11-02
  • Death City: Charlottesville
  • Death State/Country: VA
  • Married: Blanche Farrington Miller, 26 June 1912.
  • Education:

    A.B. Hampden-Sydney Coll., 1901; A.M., 1902; A.M. U. Virginia, 1904; Ph.D. Harvard, 1909.

  • Professional Experience:

    Tchng. fell. Gk Hampden-Sydney Coll., 1901-2; instr. Lat. U. Virginia, 1904-6; instr. Lat. & Gk. Harvard, 1909-12; prof. Gk. U. Virginia, 1912-50; mng. comm. ASCSA, 1929-50.

  • Dissertation:

    "Quomodo restituendus sit liber unde orti sunt codices Terentiani C P O" (Harvard, 1909); printed as "An Attempt to Restore the Gamma Archetype of Terence Manuscripts." HSCP 22 (1911) 55-110.

  • Publications:

    "On the Origin of Roman Satire," CP 7 (1912) 177-89.

  • Notes:

    Robert Henning Webb started his professional career as a Latinist. His doctoral dissertation was on the Roman side of things, but he was the seventh man to be Professor of Greek at the University of Virginia, a position he held until the time of his retirement in 1950. As such he acquired the stamp of a confirmed Hellenist.Webb's professional career largely antedated the time when extensive publication became expected of all university professors. He left as his most enduring monument a set of translations of nine of the eleven extant plays of Aristophanes into contemporary English, and, while none of these appeared before his death, most of them were eventually published.He was extremely fond of music. He was a director of the Music League of Albemarle County, an active supporter of a series of music festivals which were held in Scott Stadium at the University of Virginia for several summers in the late 1940s, and one of the founders of the Tuesday Evening Concert Series at the university, which is still flourishing 33 years after his death. Webb resigned from the faculty of the University of Virginia under dramatic circumstances in the spring of 1950. There was substantial disagreement at that time among the faculty and administrators of the university with respect to the merits of a program which allowed students to telescope the fourth year in the College of Arts arid Sciences and the first year in either the Law or Medical schools, a program which the majority of the faculty of the college, under the leadership of Webb, was intended to restrict. The dean of the college, on the other hand, Professor Ivy Foreman Lewis, was much more favorably disposed toward the program, and the sharp difference between the two culminated in Webb's resignation from the faculty on the floor of a faculty meeting. He continued in retirement to live in Charlottesville, but died a little more than two years later.

  • Sources:

    NatCAB 42:157; NYTimes (3 Nov. 1952) 27; Sch. & Soc. 76 (8 Nov. 1952) 303; WhAm 3:897.

  • Author: Arthur F. Stocker