Herbert Weir Smyth

Herbert Weir Smyth (August 8, 1857 – July 16, 1937) was an American classical scholar. His comprehensive grammar of Ancient Greek has become a standard reference on the subject in English, comparable to that of William Watson Goodwin, whom he succeeded as Eliott Professor of Greek Literature at Harvard University.

Herbert Weir Smyth
BornAugust 8, 1857
Wilmington, Delaware
DiedJuly 16, 1937 (1937-07-17) (aged 79)
Bar Harbor, Maine
NationalityUnited States


He was educated at Swarthmore (A.B. 1876), Harvard (A.B. 1878), Leipzig, and Göttingen (Ph.D. 1884). From 1883 to 1885, he was instructor in Greek and Sanskrit at Williams College, and then for two years, and he was reader in Greek at Johns Hopkins. From 1887 to 1901, he was professor of Greek at Bryn Mawr. In the latter year, he was called to Harvard as professor of Greek and in 1902, and he was appointed Eliott professor of Greek literature, succeeding Goodwin. From 1899 to 1900, he was professor of the Greek language and literature at the American Classical School at Athens. From 1889 to 1904, he was secretary of the American Philological Association and editor of its Transactions and in 1904 was elected president. He became a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the American Philosophical Society and vice-president of the Egypt Exploration Society.


He was editor of the Greek Series for Colleges and Schools (20 volumes).



    •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1922). "Smyth, Herbert Weir" . Encyclopædia Britannica (12th ed.). London & New York.

    Further reading

    • "Herbert Weir Smyth." Ward W. Briggs, Jr., Biographical Dictionary of North American Classicists (Westport/London 1994) 602–604.

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