Grant, Mary

Mary
Grant, PhD
Year Inducted: 
1975
Mary Grant
Highlights: 
  • 1943-1960: Curator of the Wilcox Classics Museum on the University of Kansas campus
  • Author of four books, including some first English translations of Classic texts
  • Acting Chairman of the Department of Classics
  • 2001: Trust fund gave $75,500 to the Plymouth Church Endowment and provided for a scholarship fund for high school teachers to spend their summer studying in Rome or Athens                 
Biography: 

Mary Grant, Associate Professor of Latin and Greek at the University of Kansas from 1921-1960, was described by Classics Professor Oliver Philips as “a very quiet lady and [she] was extremely sharp.  She had a sly wit that took us by surprise and delighted us.  She was an excellent teacher.”

Professor Grant received her BA in Classics from the University of Kansas in 1913 and her MA in 1914.  She complete her PhD in 1919 at the University of Wisconsin and began teaching at KU in 1921.  She taught courses in the languages of Greek and Latin and their literature as well as Greek and Roman mythology, architecture, and sculpture.  She also taught courses in New Testament I and II, the latter which required some very difficult readings from the Greek New Testament.  She served as the Acting Chairman of the Department of Classics for one year, and from 1943-1960, Professor Grant was the Curator of the Wilcox Classics Museum on the University of Kansas campus. 

She published four books.  These included Folktale and Hero-Tale Motifs in the “Odes of Pindar”, which was “the first systematic attempt to analyze the folktale and mythological motifs used by one Classical author and to compare them with those of another cultural group, the American Indians,” the first English translation of The Myths of Hyginus, Cicero’s “De Oratore” and Horace’s “Ars Poetica”, and The Ancient Rhetorical Theories of the Laughable: the Greek Rhetoricians and Cicero.  She was also the author of two poems printed in 1943 in The Atlantic and Spirit magazines.

Professor Grant was an avid traveler.  She extensively traveled in the Near East, Greece, and Italy, spending one whole year in Rome studying at the American Academy there on a traveling fellowship.  In 1954, she took a five month leave to study important archaeological sites in the Eastern Mediterranean region, including sites in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Cyprus, Constantinople, Greece, Rome, and Naples.

Professor Grant died in February of 1987 at the age of 96.  She donated to the University of Kansas a collection held in the Kenneth R. Spencer Research Library which holds family letters, diaries, legal documents, photos, and books, some of which date to 1700.  This collection highlights social, economic, and political events important over the years.  In 2001, her trust fund gave $75,500 to the Plymouth Church Endowment and provided for a scholarship fund for high school teachers to spend their summer studying in Rome or Athens.  The fund also provided money to install the Wilcox Classical Collection, and many books from her personal collection were gifted to the Classics Department Library.  The Mary A Grant Scholarship Fund for Women was established by Marguerite Burk, and Economics and Political Science Student who was one of Professor Grant’s former students.


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