North American Scholar

WING, Herbert, Jr

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1889-12-08
  • Born City: Minneapolis
  • Born State/Country: Minnesota
  • Parents: Herbert & Elizabeth D. Potter W.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1972-09-13
  • Death City: Carlisle
  • Death State/Country: PA
  • Married: Helen Leonard Gilman, 10 June 1916.
  • Education:

    A.B. Harvard, 1909; M.A. U. Wisconsin, 1911; Ph.D., 1915; study at ASCSA, 1913-4.

  • Professional Experience:

    Tchr. Wilmington (MA) HS, 1909-10; asso. prof. hist. U. Michigan, summer 1917; asso. prof. Gk. Dickinson Coll. (Carlisle, PA), 1915-37; Robert Coleman prof, hist., 1937-60.

  • Dissertation:

    "The Financial Relations of Athens to Her Allies in the Vth Century" (Wisconsin, 1915); printed as "Tribute Assessment in the Athenian Empire," AHA Ann. Rpt. 1916 (1919) 1:287-97.

  • Notes:

    Herbert Wing, Jr. enjoyed a long, unbroken teaching career from 1915 to 1961 at Dickinson College. Born of Mayflower stock in Minneapolis, Wing nonetheless grew up on a farm in South Dartmouth, MA, and graduated from New Bedford High School. Although only 16 at his entry into Harvard, he still accelerated and took his degree in three years. Class loyalty, on the other hand, made him (like Walter Lippman) call himself a member of the celebrated class of 1910, despite his graduation in 1909. No one of Harvard's famed classicists seems to have made so strong an impact on the young man as the great Santayana, whose course in Dante kept Wing lecturing on the Divine Comedy even after his retirement from a half-century of teaching Greek literature and history.In his doctoral studies at the University of Wisconsin he worked with Westermann and Showerman, among other greats of that era. Interrupting his studies for a year at the American School in Athens, Wing there came under the influence of Ferguson in Greek history and Bert Hodge Hill in archaeology. His return to Greece for postdoctoral studies was interrupted by World War I. For just under a half-century Wing taught Greek and history at Dickinson and for generations of alumni embodied the classics. With little pressure to publish or released time to allow it, Wing wrote only sporadically, articles in the field of Greek epigraphy and about the continuity of Greek history to modern times. His contribution to classical studies was nearly all pedagogical: his own students, majors and non-majors; his preservation of classics in Dickinson, which maintained a classical requirement for the B.A. long after it had been discontinued elsewhere; and his promotion of Greek and Latin in other institutions through his forceful presence in the National Chapters of Phi Beta Kappa. In all circles, he spoke with a voice of authority born of wide and deep knowledge in classical and even modern history. His library forms the core of the Classical Seminar at Dickinson College today.

  • Sources:

    The Harvard Class of 1910 (Cambridge, 1935) 840-2; Newsweek (27 June 1960) 68; Charles Coleman Sellers, Dickinson College: A History (Middletown, CT, 1973), 345 (portrait), 358-61; WhAm 8:431.

  • Author: Philip N. Lockhart