After nearly half a century as Harvard's most loved teacher and a quarter of a century as Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Le Baron Russell Briggs '75 has given notice that he will resign at the end of the present academic year. This announcement was made yesterday after the Corporation and the Board of Overseers had taken action to appoint his successors.
Charles Townsend Copeland '82, hitherto an Associate Professor of English, was appointed a full Professor to become Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory next year. Dean Briggs has held this professorship, perhaps the most highly prized in the University, since 1904. The office of Dean of the Faculty, which he has held since 1902, will go to Clifford Herschel Moore '89, now Chairman of the Committee on Instruction and Professor of the Classics.
"Ever since 1891 I have had an office in University Hall, and I don't know how I shall get along without it," said Mr. Briggs last night to a CRIMSON reporter. "But I feel it is time for me to withdraw: I entered my seventieth year last December."
Mr. Briggs was born December 11, 1855, and graduated from Harvard in 1875. His college class will hold its fiftieth anniversary this June. In 1878 he entered the University Faculty as a tutor in prescribed Freshman Greek, in which capacity he continued for three years. Then, when professor A. S. Hill was forming the Department of English, Mr. Briggs took two years out for study and travel before joining the new department, where he has remained ever since without a sabbattical year. "Then," said the Dean with a smile, "I have just lived on up to the present."
He has lived on indeed, but he has lived a full life. In 1885 he became an Assistant Professor of English, and five years later a full professor. The next year he began his long career in University Hall when he was appointed Dean of Harvard College. In 1903 he was chosen Dean of the Faculty, and two years later was awarded the coveted Boylston Professorship. From 1903 until 1923 he was President of Radcliffe College, and for many years he was chairman of the Athletic Committee, from which post he resigned a year ago. Miss Comiscock is an able successor as Radcliffe President, Mr. Pennypacker is now leading the Athletic Committee. Professor Copeland will follow him as Boylston Professor, and Professor Moore will try to fill his shoes as dean of deans; yet every undergraduate who has ever talked with him will know that the spirit of Dean Briggs will not leave the yard Students who were informed of the news last night expressed sorrow that the "dearest old man" ever known should be forced to resign.
Dean Briggs does not plan to remain in Cambridge next year. Part of this time he plans to spend in an extended tour of Europe. If his health permits, he hopes to settle down on his return to literary work. He will do no more teaching, and it is not yet known who will take his place in English 5 and his other famous courses.