Professor George Herbert Palmer '64 will celebrate his seventieth birthday today. A number of his friends as well as the members of the departments of English and Philosophy have been invited to be present in the Treasure Room of Gore Hall at 3 o'clock this afternoon, when Professor Palmer will present to the College Library his splendid collection of the famous author George Herbert.
Appreciations of Professor Palmer.
It is well known that the present philosophical department is in very great measure the creation of Professor Palmer. It was he who, early in President Eliot's administration stood high in the councils of the President when plans were formed for the future of philosophical teaching. His advice was taken and followed regarding some of the most important early appointments in Philosophy. He was the first chairman of the department committee. No man has had more to do with guiding the fortunes of philosophy at Harvard through great difficulties, than he. And now as the moment approaches when he has been looking forward to an early relief from his most strenuous cares, the department has to depend upon him more than ever. He is once more chairman. For one reason or another most of the rest of us are idle or absent. I want to express my earnest gratitude that he is still at the helm of our philosophical ship. May he be our guide on many another birthday. It makes me well to feel his guidance now. JOSIAH ROYCE.
His Contributions to Literature.
Lectures in form, in substance, and in English a delight and an inspiration,--this is the memory left by the courses in Philosophy of Professor Palmer. Those who care for literature know he has enriched it with his biographies, essays, translations, and, above all, his work of almost filial piety, the definitive edition of George Herbert. His friends think of his fearlessness of opinion, his idealism and his power of drawing only what is their best from the men and women in whom he has once put faith. Today hundreds of us who have been his pupils, readers and friends gladly make known to him the gratitude and the admiration which for years have been his in our thoughts. G. P. BAKER.
Work in Greek and Philosophy.
Not all of Professor Palmer's students today are aware that his first appointment here, from 1870 to 1872, was in Greek. During this time he did much to arouse enthusiasm for ancient literature by giving public readings, nor did he, when called to his chosen subject, abandon his interests in the classics or fail to make notable contributions to the difficult art of interpreting ancient culture to our day. His translation of Homer's "Odyssey" (1891) and that of "Antigone" of Sophocles (1899) are at once masterpieces of English and faithful reproductions, if over such are pos- sible, of the spirit of the originals. His brief introduction to the "Antigone" in which he discusses the nature of Greek tragedy, makes us wish that he had written more extensively on this subject and on Greek literature in general. Since 1898, when he assumed special charge of Philosophy 1b (later A), a course in the history of ancient philosophy, he has opened to many a man a clear and inspiring vision of Greek and Roman thought. Professor Palmer's own thinking seems to his hearers extremely modern, in that it is created instantly and adapted unerringly to the issue before him. But a part of this very spontaneity results from his long reflections over the problems and the solutions of the past. He interprets antiquity in another way as well, for he is a master of language that suggests Hellenic moderation, the lucid depths and golden simplicity of Sophocles. E. K. RAND.
Professor Palmer's Gift to Library.
Professor Palmer celebrates his seventieth birthday by giving to the College Library his remarkable collection of books relating to the English poet whose name he bears, George Herbert.
This collection is the result of an unremitting search through book catalogues and book collections conducted for years with the ardor and resourcefulness of a sportsman on the track of his favorite game. It contains the full series of the first thirteen editions of "The Temple" printed from 1633 to 1709, all the later editions of any merit or significance, and every book in which any scrap of Herbert's writing in prose or verse appeared for the first time in print.
It has careful copies of the three manuscripts of Herbert's poems upon which a correct text has to be based, the first editions of Walton's Life, and copies of the few other lives that have been published since.
In addition to George Herbert's own work, it includes the works of his three brothers, and books having personal associations with his family and friends.
Seldom has a book collector been so successful in completing the plan laid down for his collection. Only two or three minor items are still lacking that would naturally find a place within its limits. These have so far been sought in vain, but may turn up any day.
Such a collection is at once an illuminating exhibit of the writer to whom it is devoted and a precious and enduring memorial of the man who formed it.
Reception for Professor Palmer.
Mr. T. C. Williams '76, formerly Headmaster of Hackley School, and Mrs. Williams will give a reception at their home in Boston this evening in honor of Professor Palmer on attaining his seventieth year. A number of out of town friends of Professor Palmer will attend. Mr. Williams and Rev. Frederic Palmer '69 of Andover, Professor Palmer's brother, will read original poems in honor of the occasion. Mr. Williams is one of Professor Palmer's earliest pupils at Harvard