In the death of Francis James Child the Faculty of Arts and Sciences has suffered as heavy a loss as it is possible for such a body to sustain. His term of service, extending over fifty years, was far longer than that of any surviving member of the board, and was marked by the most punctual performance of the duties incident to his position.
As a scholar he was preeminent in the studies to which he had especially devoted himself and which compelled him to occupy a vast field of learning. He was familiar with many languages and thoroughly acquainted not only with general literary history, but with the specific details of many branches of many literatures. His teaching was equally exact and inspiring, and his personal influence on young men was powerful, far-reaching, and permanent. He was an admirable critic, both of style and of thought. Singularly free from narrowness and pedantry, his judgment was discriminating, wise, and liberal. Whatever he said or wrote bore the impress of his own strong individuality.
He was one of the most attractive and lovable of men. Freshness and vivacity of feeling and expression formed in him a delightful combination with breadth and tenderness of sympathy, genial humor, clear intelligence and keen wit. There was nothing commonplace about him. His aspect, bearing, and expression were distinguished by a strongly marked originality and simplicity which added a special charm to his intercourses, and gave a peculiar flavor to his pervasive humor. His nature was frank and open, and in case of need his opinions were uttered with great vigor and certainty; but he shrank from display and avoided public distinctions. He was totally free from self-conceit.
Throughout his life he set an example to his fellow-citizens by his deep and steady interest in public affairs and his faithful discharge of civic duties. He had a most humane and kindly heart; he was active in many local charities and waf a constant and liberal giver to the poor. He was a steadfast friend and a helpful counsellor to everyone in doubt or trouble. The daily record of his life would be a record of kind deeds no less than of laborious study and exemplary performance of duty.
Voted: That the preceding minute be entered in the records of the Faculty as an expression of the peculiar love and respect in which the memory of Francis James Child is held by his colleagues.