The Whitney Memorial Meeting/Preface
|←Title|| The Whitney Memorial Meeting (1897)
Prefatory Sketch of the History and Character of the First American Congress of Philologists and of the Whitney Memorial Meeting
|Boston: Ginn and Company pages 1-4|
HISTORY AND CHARACTER OF THE FIRST AMERICAN
CONGRESS OF PHILOLOGISTS AND OF THE
WHITNEY MEMORIAL MEETING.
FOR many years the various American societies that have for their object the promotion of philological science in its several aspects have held their stated meetings separately, at different times of the year and in different places. The project of uniting them in a joint convention, with general and special sessions, had doubtless often suggested itself to many, and had been the subject of more or less discussion and effort in private and in public. Such discussions, however, were without palpable result, until, in March, 1894, upon the vigorous initiative of Talcott Williams, Esq., of Philadelphia, new efforts were made, and, thanks in largest measure to his persistence, were pushed to a successful conclusion.
The death, on the 7th of June, 1894, of Professor William Dwight Whitney— for more than a quarter of a century the leading figure in American philology—at once awakened in his friends and pupils a desire fitly to commemorate his distinguislied services. It was suggested that the principal session of the joint convention, the arrangements for which were already well under way, should be made a memorial meeting, and be devoted to the expression, on the part of his colleagues and friends, of their appreciation of the character and public services of Mr. Whitney. This suggestion met with a quick, general, and cordial response. The arrangements were brought to a speedy conclusion; and the Philadelpliia Congress of American Philologists of December, 1894, at which more than two hundred scholars were assembled, was the result.
In the organization of this Congress, the initiative was taken by the American Oriental Society and by the American Philological Association,—the two oldest of the societies concerned, and the two with which Professor Whitney had been more intimately connected. To each of the other leading American societies of kindred aims, an invitation was issued to hold a meetinsr in Philadelphia during the Christmas holidays in conjunction with the other societies named. The invitations were duly accepted, and the following societies assembled in joint and special sessions on December 27, 28, and 29, at the University of Pennsylvania:—
The American Oriental Society, organized 1842.
The American Philological Association, organized 1869.
The Spelling Reform Association, organized 1876.
The Archaeological Institute of America, organized 1879.
The Society of Biblical Literature and Exegesis, organized 1880.
The Modern Language Association of America, organized 1883.
The American Dialect Society, orgranized 1889.
The details of the arrangements for the Philadelphia meeting were intrusted to a Committee composed of deleg-ates from the several societies concerned. The Committee met in October, and agreed that while there should be three general or joint sessions of the societies, the last of these sessions should be exclusively devoted to the memory of Professor Whitney.
The present volume is intended to be a full report of this Whitney Memorial Meeting, which was held in the Library of the University of Pennsylvania, on Friday evening, December 28, 1894. The presiding officer was President Daniel C. Gilman, of the Johns Hopkins University, President of the American Oriental Society.
The meeting began with the reading, by Professor David G. Lyon, of extracts from letters relating to Professor Whitney, which had been received from various foreign scholars.
The memorial address, by Professor Charles R. Lanman, then followed.
Professor Francis A. March, on behalf of the Modern Language Association of America, then made an address on "Whitney's Influence on the Study of Modern Languages and on Lexicography;" and Professor Bernadotte Perrin, one on "Whitney's Influence on Classical Philologists." Mr. Perrin was followed in turn by Professor J. Irving Manatt and Rev. Dr. William Hayes Ward; and, in conclusion, by President Gilman.
Since the whole convention or congress of societies was itself of the nature of a tribute to the memory and services of Professor Whitney, and since many of its contributions to philological learning were in no small measure the fruit of his activity, it has seemed proper to include in this volume not only a complete report of the exercises of the Memorial Meeting, but also at least the programs of the various sessions, both joint and special, of the different societies, as they were finally carried out: these programs are accordingly given in Appendix II., pages 107-119. For the detailed reports of the proceedings of these meetings, the official publications of the several societies may be consulted. The list of Professor Whitney's writings (Appendix III.) is of scientific value, as well as of historical interest. Finally, to those who care for the history of philology in America, and who were friends of Mr. Whitney, the brief bibliographical notes concerning his life (Appendix IV.) and his family (Appendix V.) can hardly fail to be acceptable.
- See "Journal of the American Oriental Society," vol. 15, p. cxliv, and vol. 16, pp. v and lv; also "Transactions of the American Philological Association," vol. 25, pp. xxv and xxvi.