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Dorjahn, Alfred P. (Alfred Paul), 1894-1986



  • Existence: 1894 - 1986


Alfred Paul Dorjahn was born in Palatine Township, Illinois (a few miles northwest of Chicago) on July 11, 1894, the son of Joachim Henry and Wilhelmine Melahn Dorjahn. Dorjahn joined the faculty of Northwestern in 1927 as a professor in the Classical Languages department. He remained at Northwestern until his retirement in 1962, occasionally teaching at Loyola and the University of Illinois at Chicago during retirement. His research interests lied with legal and classical antiquities. Dorjahn died in 1986.

Alfred had two brothers (one died as a youth) and a sister. The family moved to Dolton, Illinois (just south of Chicago) where Alfred lived through his undergraduate years.

Dorjahn obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Greek from the University of Chicago in 1917 and did graduate work there in 1917-1918. On July 30, 1918, he was inducted into the Army and sent to Syracuse, N.Y., for training. However, because of an eye problem he was discharged in August. He then moved to the Minneapolis area where he was employed as an instructor at the Pillsbury Academy in Owatonna for a year and a half (1918-1920).

Early in 1920, Dorjahn re-entered the graduate program at the University of Chicago. In 1921-1922, he again taught at the Pillsbury Academy, and from 1922 to 1924 he served as an instructor in classical languages at Northwestern. In 1924, Dorjahn received his Doctor of Philosophy in Greek from the University of Chicago. His dissertation was entitled “The Athenian Political Amnesty of 403 B.C.”

In St. Louis for the academic year 1924-25, Dorjahn taught at Washington University as an instructor in classical languages. Returning to Chicago, he served as instructor in classical languages at the University of Chicago from 1925 to 1927. During the latter year, he was invited to join the faculty at Northwestern as Assistant Professor of Classical Languages. In 1932, Dorjahn was promoted to Associate Professor and to Professor in 1937. He was named Chairman of the department in 1939. In 1940, Dorjahn was appointed John Evans Professor of Latin Languages and Literature (succeeding O.F. Long). He retained this title until his retirement from Northwestern in 1962. Dorjahn lectured at the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle in 1970 and at Loyola University in 1972.

Dorjahn's major interest was in legal and classical antiquities. In 1946, the Northwestern University Press published his “Political Forgiveness in Old Athens: The Amnesty of 403 B.C.” (NU Studies in Humanities No. 13). In 1942, Kevin Guinagh and Dorjahn edited an 800 page anthology, Latin Literature in Translation, for Longmans, Green. This was received favorably. Dorjahn was author or co-author of many journal articles; his most frequent topics were extemporaneous speaking by Greek orators and the published works of the younger Pliny.

On September 11, 1922, Dorjahn and Helen Ione Keller were married. They had a son, Vernon Robert, born August 19, 1928, who obtained his Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology from Northwestern and taught at the University of Oregon.

Dorjahn was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Eta Sigma Phi. In 1939-40, he served as president of the Classical Association of the Middle West and South. In August, 1981, Professor and Mrs. Dorjahn moved to Eugene, Oregon, to be near their son and his family.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Alfred Paul Dorjahn (1894-1986) Papers

Identifier: 11/3/9/1

The Alfred Dorjahn Papers are arranged in three main categories: biographical material; publications; and material by and about Vernon Robert Dorjahn. Dorjahn's major interest was in legal and classical antiquities.

Dates: 1913-1972