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William Kelly Prentice


Centurion, 1921–1964

Born 28 October 1871 in New York (Manhattan), New York

Died 13 December 1964 in Princeton, New Jersey

Buried Princeton Cemetery, Princeton, New Jersey

Proposed by John G. Milburn and M. Taylor Pyne

Elected 1 April 1921 at age forty-nine

Archivist’s Note: Son of William Packer Prentice; brother of Robert Kelly Prentice; nephew of Robert Kelly; grandson of Robert Kelly; cousin of E. Parmalee Prentice

Century Memorial

Professor Prentice was a third generation member of The Century. His grandfather, Robert Kelly, was one of our founders. In addition to this dynastic distinction, Dr. Prentice has honored The Century’s tradition of longevity by remaining with us until his ninety-fourth year.

A scholar in Greek language and literature, he was also a dynamic and impressive teacher, an authority on classical inscriptions in both Greek and Latin, an archeologist, and an author. By the time of his retirement in 1940, he had been a member of the Princeton University faculty for forty-three years.

William Kelly Prentice was born in New York. He was only sixteen when he entered Princeton. He graduated with high honors in 1892 as valedictorian of his class. He became a member of Phi Beta Kappa when its chapter was established at Princeton. He followed a year of teaching at Lawrenceville School with a visit to Germany where he studied at the University of Marburg. He took his doctorate at the University of Halle and returned to America to become an instructor at Princeton, both in 1900. Five years later, he was appointed Ewing Professor of Greek Languages and Literatures. While holding this post, he was Annual Professor in the American School of Classical Studies at Athens and Sather Professor at the University of California.

He was the author of Greek and Latin Inscriptions, Greek and Latin Inscriptions in Syria, The Ancient Greeks, Those Ancient Dramas Called Tragedies, The Gospel of the Kingdom of God.

He was a member of the American Philological Association, the Archeological Institute of America, and the American Historical Association.

In the First World War he served as captain in the Military Intelligence Division of the United States Army.

Roger Burlingame
1965 Century Association Yearbook