North American Scholar

WEST, Allen Brown

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1886-06-19
  • Born City: Reedsburg
  • Born State/Country: WI
  • Parents: Allen Burdick, a high school math, tchr., & Hattie Esther Brown W.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1936-09-18
  • Death City: Cincinnati
  • Death State/Country: OH
  • Married: Marion Grace Peabody, 10 Sept. 1914.
  • Education:

    A.B. Milton (WI) Coll., 1907; study at Oxford (Oriel Coll.) (Rhodes Scholar), 1907-9; 1910-1; M.A. U. Wisconsin, 1910; Ph.D. 1912.

  • Professional Experience:

    Instr. class. Swarthmore, 1912-6; lctr. hist. U. Wisconsin, summer 1916; prof. hist. Racine (WI) Coll., 1916-7; actng. asst. prof. hist. U. Rochester, 1917-9; prof. hist. Wheaton Coll. (Norton, MA), 1919-26; asst. prof, class. Princeton, 1926-7; prof, class. U. Cincinnati, 1927-9; prof. anc. hist., 1929-36; Guggenheim fell., 1925-6.

  • Dissertation:

    "The History of the Chalcidic League" (Wisconsin, 1912); printed Wise. U. Bull. no. 969, History Ser. 4, no. 2 (1918).

  • Publications:

    "The Formation of the Chalcidic League," CP 9 (1914)  24-34; "The Chronology of the Years 432 and 431 B.C.," CP 10 (1915) 34-53; "Notes on the Multiplication of Cities in Ancient Geography," CP 18 (1923) 48-67; "Pericles' Political Heirs," CP 19 (1924) 124-6, 201-28; "Notes on Certain Athenian Generals of the Year 424-3 B.C.," AJP 45 (1924) 141-60; "Thucydidean Chronology Anterior to the Peloponnesian War," CP 20 (1925) 216-37; "The Reconstruction of I.G. P, 191," with B. D. Meritt, AJP 47 (1926) 171-6; "Lucilian Genealogy," AJP 49 (1928) 240-52; Fifth and Fourth Century Gold Coins from the Thracian Coast (New York, 1929); Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum, volumen quintum, Hellenotamiarum Tabulas continens, ed. with B. D. Meritt (Leiden, 1931); Latin Inscriptions, 1896-1926 (vol. viii, 2 of Corinth) (Cambridge, 1931); The Athenian Assessment of 425 B.C., ed. with B.D. Meritt (Ann Arbor, 1934); "The Two Callias Decrees," AJA 38 (1934) 390-407; "Prosopographical Notes on the Treaty between Athens and Haliai," AJP 56 (1935) 72-6.

  • Notes:

    West was one of the first generation of Rhodes Scholars and was a pupil of Marcus Tod at Oriel College. After two years at Oxford he left to take an M.A. at Wisconsin; he returned for a third year at Oriel but did not take a degree. In 1923 he and Benjamin Dean Meritt began their work on the tribute lists of the Athenian empire and in 1924 they published the first of a series of articles in collaboration. Their work, spread through too many papers to list here, was to lead to "the most fertilizing study of fifth-century Greek history since the First World War" (Russell Meiggs), namely the great revision and republication of the lists in The Athenian Tribute Lists (Cambridge & Princeton, 1939-53).At first they corrected some readings and placements of the fragments of the tribute lists on the famous first stele or lapis primus. The critical moment came in August-September 1927, when they dismantled the fragments set into the lapis primus, reassembled this vast jigsaw puzzle, and prepared the first correct edition of the lists for Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum V (where pp. 1-2 list their previous studies).They thus for the first time provided a reliable picture of the queen of Attic inscriptions and a historical document second only to Thucydides. They also reconstructed the huge tribute assessment of 425 B.C. and were to continue with the definitive publication of the lists. But in 1936 West was killed in a motoring accident, and the work was completed by Meritt, H. T. Wade-Gery, and West's Cincinnati student Malcolm F. McGregor. Yet West was part of the original inspiration for the whole project, and vol. I of ATL was dedicated to his memory.He will always be associated with this revolutionary study, a contribution to Greek epigraphy unequaled since August Böckh, but also to be admired are his publications in numismatics and even Latin epigraphy (the Latin inscriptions from Corinth). West received and strengthened the great Cincinnati traditions and was remembered by his students as immensely patient, insistent on accounting for every detail, and, despite his international reputation, a man of extreme modesty

  • Sources:

    AJA 40 (1936) 522-3; AmHistR 42 (1936-7) 415-6; C7 32 (1936-7) 253; M. F. McGregor, DAB Suppl. 2:701-2; WhAm 1\1323.

  • Author: Mortimer Chambers