North American Scholar

WRIGHT, John Henry

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1852-02-04
  • Born City: Urmia (now Rezaieh)
  • Born State/Country: Persia
  • Parents: Rev. Austin Hazen & Catherine Myers W., missionaries.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1908-11-25
  • Death City: Cambridge
  • Death State/Country: MA
  • Married: Mary Tappan, 2 Apr. 1879.
  • Education:

    A.B. Dartmouth, 1873; study at Leipzig, 1876-8; LL.D. Western Reserve Coll., 1901; Dartmouth Coll., 1901.

  • Professional Experience:

    Asst. prof. Lat. & Gk. Ohio Agricultural & Mech. Coll. (now Ohio State U.), 1873-6; asso. prof. Gk. & Germ. Dartmouth, 1878-86; prof, class, philol. Johns Hopkins, 1886-7; prof. Gk. Harvard, 1897-1908; dean grad. sch. arts & sci., 1895-1908; ana. prof. ASCSA, 1906-7; co-ed. CR, 1889-1906; CQ, 1907; ed.-in-chief, AJA 1897-1906; supervisory ed. A History of All Nations (24 vols.), 1902-8; fell. AAAS; pres. APA, 1894-5.

  • Publications:

    "Did Philochorus Quote the Ἀθηναίων πολιτεία of Aristotle?," AJP 12 (1891) 310-8; The Date of Cylon: A Study in Early Athenian History (Boston, 1892) = HSCP 3 (1892) 1-74; Herondaea (Boston, 1893) = HSCP 4 (1893) 169-200; "A Votive Tablet to Artemis Anaïtis and Mên Tiamu in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts," HSCP 6 (1895) 55-74; "Five Interesting Greek Imperatives," HSCP 7 (1896) 85-93; "The Origin of Sigma Lunatum," TAPA 27 (1896) 79-89; "Studies in Sophocles," HSCP 12 (1901) 137-64; Masterpieces of Greek Literature (Boston, 1902); "The Origin of Plato's Cave," HSCP 17 (1906) 131-42.

  • Notes:

    John Henry Wright, appointed to the first faculty of Ohio State University, was best known for his promotion of graduate studies and research in classical antiquity. Having studied under Georg Curtius and Overbeck, he instituted courses in classical archaeology and Greek history, which he taught until faculty specializing in those areas could be hired. As C. B. Gulick said, "His range in teaching was encyclopaedic, and a keen critical sense, fortified by wide reading, gave him what seemed like the power of divination in interpreting difficult texts. . . . Possessing a keen sense of humour, he was merciful to the blunderer, ready to overlook the crudeness and awkwardness of the tyro, but equally firm in correcting the puerile and in rebuking the insincere." He established the chronology of events of the seventh century at Athens, a chronology confirmed by the discovery of Aristotle's Constitution of Athens. While in Athens, he became interested in the Cave of Vari excavation on Mt. Hymettus, resulting in "The Origin of Plato's Cave." In the words of H. W. Smyth, "In his relations with his students he was a wise and friendly counsellor, catholic and unprejudiced, helpful, appreciative and inexhaustibly patient."

  • Sources:

    Charles Burton Gulick, DAB 20:556-7; idem, CJ 4 (1908-9) 97; B[ernadotte] P[errin], CP 4 (1909) 199.

  • Author: Meyer Reinhold