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Francis Phillip Nash

Professor of Latin and Modern Languages
1871-1908

Francis Phillip Nash was born in Florence, Italy, December 5, 1836 to New England parents. He grew up in Italy and received his A.B. degree from Harvard in 1856; A.M., LL.B. from Harvard in 1859. He practiced law in New York City for a dozen years, but the strain of law practice was too much for a constitution that was never robust, and on the advice of his physician he resigned the practice of law.

His thoughts turned toward teaching, and in 1871 he was offered a position at Hobart where he remained as professor of Latin and Modern Languages, except for a short interval, until his retirement in 1908.

The New York Evening Post wrote about him as follows: “A fine classical scholar, Professor Nash was equally at home in modern European languages and literatures, especially in the Roman literatures. He also knew Hungarian, Semitic, and Oriental languages. His knowledge of ancient and modern European history, both religious and political, was extensive and profound.

Professor Nash had also paid considerable attention to chemistry and microscopy, and never lost his interest in the progress of the natural sciences. He was an ardent student and practitioner of music, and given much thought to the fundamental problems of theology and philosophy. In the midst of these manifold scholastic pursuits, Professor Nash never neglected the duties of citizenship. He gave his time unsparingly for the training of the Italians of Geneva in citizenship.

Many Hobart graduates of the past 40 years gratefully remember the precision and breadth of scholarship and the painstaking care with which he directed and inspired them. His cosmopolitan training, his native ability and never-flagging thirst for knowledge made him a man of the world who was also a scholar of the Renaissance type. Nash is described by one former student as “A high-mined Christian gentleman.”

Professor McDaniels wrote about him that “to know him was a liberal education. No student ever spent an hour with him who did not go away enriched and informed.” The faculty and trustees both wrote glowing tributes about Professor Nash, but more importantly so did his former students.

Professor Nash received an L.H.D. from Trinity, Hartford, and an LL.D. from Union. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and for many years secretary of the Hobart chapter. He wrote and had published “Two Satires of Juvenal, With Notes” and was the first to translate the Prayer Book of the American Episcopal Church into Italian. He retired from teaching in 1908 due to frail health and died in Boston on February 5, 1911.