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William N. Bates (1867-1949) was born and educated in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He graduated from Cambridge Latin School and Harvard University, from which he received his A.B. with honors in 1890, his A.M. in 1891, and his Ph.D. in classical philology in 1893. He was an instructor in Greek at Harvard from 1893 to 1895. In 1895, he joined the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania, where he taught Greek language and literature until 1939, serving as head of the Department of Greek from 1910 to 1939. He was also acting director of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens during the 1905-1906 academic year and curated the Mediterranean Section of the Penn Museum from 1904 to 1911. In 1940, the University of Pennsylvania awarded him an honorary doctorate.
Bates published more than ninety scholarly articles as well as two books,Euripides: A Student of Human Nature and Sophocles: Poet and Dramatist, published in 1930 and 1940 respectively. He also edited the Greek text of Euripides’s Iphigenia in Tauris, which was published in 1904 and translated into Chinese in 1936. From 1904 to 1907, Bates was editor of Transactions of the University Museum. Subsequently, he was an editor of the American Journal of Archaeology from 1908 to 1920 and editor-in-chief from 1920 to 1924. He was also an incorporator and recorder for the Archaeological Institute of America; a member of the managing committee of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens; a member of the governing board of the American School of Prehistoric Research; a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; a delegate to the 1912 International Congress for the History of Religions in Leyden; a governor of the Pennsylvania Society of Founders and Patriots of America; and a member of several organizations including the American Philological Association, Oriental Club, Classical Club, Hellenic Society of London, Archaeology Club of Boston, and Phi Beta Kappa Society.
In 1901, Bates married Edith Newell Richardson, a Radcliffe alumna and English teacher, who died in 1926. They had two sons.
The William N. Bates curatorial subgroup consists of two folders of general correspondence from 1904 to 1915. Correspondents include George Byron Gordon, Jane McHugh, Gisela Richter, Paul Arndt, Sara Yorke Stevenson, and Samuel Houston. Much of the correspondence deals with articles to be published in Transactions of the University Museum, plans to write a guide to the Mediterranean collection, potential acquisitions, and concerns about the Maxwell Sommerville collection. The records within each folder are arranged chronologically.
- University of Pennsylvania: Penn Museum Archives
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