Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 15.djvu/131

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SKETCH OF PROFESSOR W. D. WHITNEY.

children in repulsive tasks is still punished, less grossly than but often quite as cruelly as ever. In Combe's time "children," he says, "were ordered to learn, and scolded and punished if they did not get their lessons." Does not this pretty fairly describe the present state of things? Most parents still think, with the elder Combe, that to educate is to send to school, and the experience of George Combe should do something toward dispelling this prevalent error.

 
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SKETCH OF PROFESSOR W. D. WHITNEY.

WILLIAM DWIGHT WHITNEY was born at Northampton, Massachusetts, February 9, 1827. He received an academic education at Williams College, in the same State, graduating in 1845. On leaving college he became clerk in a banking-house, and continued in this employment for about five years, devoting his hours of leisure to the study of languages, but particularly of Sanskrit, the ancient language of India. In 1850 he visited Germany for the sake of enjoying the exceptional advantages afforded by the universities there for the pursuit of linguistic studies. For three years he attended in the Universities of Berlin and Tübingen the lectures of the foremost philologers and Sanskritists of the time, namely, Professors Bopp and Weber, of Berlin, and Roth, of Tübingen. In conjunction with Professor Roth, he prepared an edition of the text of the "Atharva Veda Sanhita," which was published in 1856 at Berlin. Whitney transcribed the text from the MS. in the Royal Library at Berlin, and collated it with the MSS. of the Libraries of Paris, London, and Oxford. In a second volume, which is in course of preparation, the editors will publish a translation of the work, with commentary, notes, and index. Since 1849, when he became a member of the American Oriental Society, he has distinguished himself among all his associates in that learned body by the number and the value of his contributions to its "Transactions," and his untiring efforts to promote the objects for which it was founded. He was Librarian of the society from 1855 to 1873, and has been its Corresponding Secretary since 1857. Of volumes v. to ix. of its "Journal," more than one half was contributed by him. He was in 1854 appointed Professor of Sanskrit, and in 1870 Professor of Comparative Philology, at Yale College, which chair he still occupies. In 1858 he edited, with notes, the republication of Colebrooke's "Miscellaneous Essays," which have principally to do with subjects connected with Sanskrit scholarship.

Besides contributing voluminously to the "Journal" of the American Oriental Society, he is the author of several critiques and essays published in sundry journals, American, English, and German. Among