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Steiner, Grundy, 1916-2004



  • Existence: 1916-2004


Grundy Steiner was born to Alice (nee Grundy) and Frederick Steiner on March 20, 1916 in Plainfield, Illinois. He received from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign a B.A. in Latin in 1937, an M.A. in Greek in 1938, and a Ph.D. in Classical Philology in 1940—with a dissertation titled “The Urbana Manuscript of Selections from the Vergilian Appendix.” After receiving his doctorate, Steiner stayed in the Classics Department at the University of Illinois when he accepted a position as a research assistant there from 1940-1942. His time at his alma mater was interrupted, however, when Steiner enlisted as a cryptologist in the United States Army Signal Corps during World War II, during which he saw “overseas service in western Europe” and for which he received the Bronze Star Medal in 1946.

After briefly returning to the University of Illinois as a teaching assistant at the end of the war, Steiner transferred to Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, where he taught for a year (1946-1947) as a professor of Greek and Latin. On September 10, 1946, Steiner married Mary Florence Fox (1925-1974), a Latin and French teacher, with whom he later had three children. Steiner then started his career at Northwestern University in 1947 as an instructor of Latin, a position he maintained until his instatement as an assistant professor in 1950 and his further promotion as an associate professor in 1969. Steiner remained an associate professor until he retired from teaching in 1984, after 37 years of working at Northwestern, and returned to his Plainfield, Illinois home to raise horses and bird watch.

During his long tenure at Northwestern, Steiner taught courses on classical mythology, every level of Latin, historical grammar, and Greek and Latin literature as well as specialized classes about a host of subjects and authors like Horace, Ovid, Vergil, Terence, and Apuleius. He personally designed the class Latin A99 (Individualized Language Instruction), based on the model of other specialized language programs, to provide more options for students interested in Latin and the teaching of Latin. Classical Mythology (Classics B60), which he taught for more than thirty years, was his most popular course, which consistently filled up early, requiring waiting lists for students wishing to enroll.

Steiner’s bibliography of published articles runs almost as long as the list of classes he taught over four decades at Northwestern. He was a contributing author and editor of Studies in the Text Tradition of St. Jerome’s Vitae Patrum that was published by the University of Illinois Press in 1943, and was the author or co-author of numerous articles in scholarly journals including the Classical Journal, Classical Weekly, Classical Philology, and The Journal of English and Germanic Philology. Steiner’s academic pursuits spanned a wide range of Latin and Greek literature and history, but he specialized in the study of a few authors like Ovid and Pliny the Elder. He was particularly interested in the meaning and recurrence of birds in classical works as well as the agricultural imagery employed by classical authors.

Steiner was a member of many classics-oriented organizations including the Chicago Classical Club, the Renaissance Society of America, the Archaeological Institute of America, the American Philological Association, the Classical Association of the Middle West and South, the Vergilian Society, and the Illinois Classical Conference (of which he was a former president). Steiner was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and Eta Sigma Phi (a classics honor society) as an undergraduate and maintained involvement with both organizations while teaching at Northwestern. He served as a committee member for the Northwestern chapter of Phi Beta Kappa and helped to reestablish Northwestern’s chapter of Eta Sigma Phi in 1950. Grundy Steiner died at his home in Plainfield, Illinois on March 28, 2004 after a protracted illness and is buried in the Plainfield Township Cemetery. He was survived by his three children, Theresa Sisk Graybill, Frederick Steiner, and Janet Steiner Soukup.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Grundy Steiner (1916-2004) Papers

Identifier: 11/3/9/4

The Grundy Steiner (1916-2004) Papers cover the years 1937 to 2004. They consist largely of teaching files and correspondence from Professor Steiner's time teaching Latin and classics at Northwestern University (1947-1984). The papers contain research notes for publications, classes, and lectures, as well as biographical materials like Northwestern personnel records and biographies.

Dates: 1937 - 2004; Other: Majority of material found within 1955 - 1984; Other: Date acquired: 04/11/2005