Loomis, C. Grant (Charles Grant), 1901-

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Charles Grant Loomis was born on January 21, 1901 in Worecester, Massachusetts. After obtaining a B.A. at Hamilton College in 1923, he taught high school in and around New York City until pursuing a masters degree at the University of Munich in 1926, which he eventually obtained at Harvard in 1929 before studying for a PhD in English (1933). He began teaching German at Tufts College and then Harvard before being appointed assistant professor in German in 1941 at UC Berkeley, where he would remain for the rest of his academic career. Loomis' scholarly interests varied greatly. He was known among friends and colleagues as a fine poet and meticulous translator of German poetry. He wrote his PhD dissertation on saints' legends, and interest that persisted throughout his life, and which culminated in the publication of his book, White Magic, in 1948. Loomis passed away in 1962.

From the description of C. Grant Loomis papers, 1927-1962. (University of California, Berkeley). WorldCat record id: 25730479

C. Grant Loomis, professor and former chairman of the Department of German, Berkeley, was born at Worcester, Massachusetts, on January 21, 1901, took his A.B. at Hamilton College in 1923, and then taught in high schools for a few years in the vicinity of New York City. An important turning point in his life was the two years, 1926-28, which he spent at the University of Munich. Here he came under the influence of the late Max Foerster, distinguished Old English philologist, and this seems to have been the experience which determined him to embark on an academic career. Upon his return to this country he went to Harvard to pursue graduate studies in English, taking the M.A. in 1929 and the Ph.D. in 1933, with a dissertation on Old English saints' lives written under the direction of George Lyman Kittredge. He commenced his teaching in the German field concurrently with his graduate work, becoming instructor in German at Tufts College in Medford, Massachusetts, in 1930, where he remained until 1937. He then returned to Harvard as an instructor in the Department of German and as a tutor in the Division of Modern Languages. In 1941 he was called to an assistant professorship in the Department of German, Berkeley. He was promoted to associate professor in 1947 and professor in 1953, acting as chairman of his department from 1957 to 1962. He held a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1945-46. He died suddenly on March 22, 1963. His career was noteworthy for service to the profession. He spent the year 1952-53 as Associate Secretary of the Modern Language Association in New York, taking an active part in the organizing of a newly founded program for the teaching of the modern foreign languages. He served on the council of the Association from 1951 to 1955 and had been elected its vice-president for 1963. He was a member of the Medieval Academy, the American Folklore Society, and the California Folklore Society, and held official positions in all of them. He gave much energy and thought to his editorship of Western Folklore in the years after 1949. He was the president of the Philological Association of the Pacific Coast for 1958.

The activities of Professor Loomis as teacher and scholar show great variety. In addition to his interest in the teaching of elementary German, he contributed to instruction at a higher level by a large body of translations of materials for courses in German literature of the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries, which have been an indispensable aid in courses in German literature in translation given by the department. His interest in saints' legends continued through many years, and after the publication of various articles culminated in White Magic (Cambridge, Mass., 1951), a survey of a vast field and has proved to be a useful guide for medievalists generally. In the Department of German he taught courses in seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth-century literature and thus showed a competence of unusual range. Folklore was close to his heart. During a long course of years he published critical articles and collections of materials concerned with American aphoristic sayings of various kinds, puns, riddles, and Wellerisms. Perhaps the largest of the collections was an excerpting of proverbs used by William McLeod Raines, a noted author of westerns. He intended to assemble his studies and historical account of these neglected expressions of the folk mind. His intimate knowledge of the materials, his large collections, and his ripe critical judgment would have enabled him to write a significant study in a neglected field.

From the guide to the C. Grant Loomis papers, 1927-1962, (The Bancroft Library.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Loomis, Charles Grant person
associatedWith McIsaac, Angus. person
correspondedWith Reynolds, Horace Mason, 1896-1965 person
associatedWith University of California, Berkeley. Dept. of German corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
German poetry


Birth 1901

Death 1963




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