McCurdy, James Frederick

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(1847- 1935)

Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations

Biblical Studies / Oriental Languages

Ph.D. Princeton

Born in Chatham in 1847, J.F. McCurdy is know as one of the founding members of the Uinversity of Toronto's Department of Near Eastern Studies. Hr graduated in Classical Studies from the University of New Brunswick. In 1876, he attended Princeton's Presbyterian Theology Seminary. There, he studied under Professor W.H. Green in the field of Semitic Languages. He continues to serve as green's assistant after graduation and from 1873-1882 he was put in charge of Linguistics. In 1886, he joined the staff as a tutor Orientals. At the time, the department focused on the whole of the ancient near east. In 1887 he was appointed lecturer and in 1889, when Jacob Hirschfelder retired, he become professor and head of the department. He eventually developed a graduate studies option for students in the Oriental Languages program. The first year of post-graduate studies recorded dates back to 1889-1890. After 28 year of service to University College McCurdy retired in 1914.During those 28 years McCurdy was also highly dedicated to University Althletics and was honourary president of the U of T's Athletics Association. Due to poor eyesight he was unable to continue his usual scholarly pursuits post retirement. He died in March of 1935.

Winett, Frederick Victor, McCullough, Stewart W. A Brief History of the Department of Near Eastern Studies.