Society of Fellows

Obituaries

Lawrence Richardson, Jr., FAAR'50, RAAR'79

Lawrence Richardson, Jr., FAAR'50, RAAR'79
Larry Richardson leads a tour at Cosa
Photo: AAR Archives
Richardson (in hat) directing work at Cosa
Photo: AAR Archives
Larry and Emmy Richardson in the Cosa Room at the Academy
Photo: AAR Archives
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Lawrence Richardson, jr, FAAR 50, RAAR 79, former Mellon Professor-in-Charge of the School of Classical Studies  (1980-81) and Academy Trustee (1969-96),  died July 21, 2013 in Durham, North Carolina after a short illness. Known universally as Larry within the Academy family, he was born December 2, 1920 in Altoona, Pennsylvania, educated at Yale (A.B., 1942, with philosophical orations, Ph.D. in classical studies, 1952), and taught for most of his career at Duke University, where he was James B. Duke Professor of Classical Studies, Emeritus.  But his heart was always in Italy, the center of his prolific scholarship, and particularly at the Academy, where he came in 1947 as a member of the first group of Fellows when the Academy reopened after the Second World War. He stayed there more or less continuously for the next seven years, an experience recently documented in his memoir, The American Academy 1947-54: Reopening and Reorientation: A Personal Reminiscence (2012).  

Larry’s many publications focused on Rome and Pompeii, as well as Latin literature: Poetical Theory in Republican Rome (1944, rep. 2007); Pompeii: La Casa dei Dioscuri and its Painters, MAAR 23 (1955); Propertius, Elegies I-IV (1977, rep. 2007); Pompeii: An Architectural History (1988); A New Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome (1992); A Catalogue of Identifiable Painters of Ancient Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Stabiae (2000), as well as more than forty articles on Latin literature and Roman topography.  He also was a joint author of Cosa II: The Temples of the Arx, MAAR 26 (1960) and Cosa III: The Buildings of the Forum, MAAR 37 (1993).  He played a key part in the Academy excavations at Cosa from their inception in 1948 and became director of the Cosa excavations in 1953-54.

In addition to his Rome Prize Fellowship, Larry was a Fulbright Fellow in Italy (1949-50) and held fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.  A passionate supporter of the Academy throughout his career, as a Trustee he chaired the Committee on the Classical School (1972-81) and the Library Committee (1981-96) and served on the Executive Committee and the Committees on Plant and Planning and Publications.  In 2012 he received the Archaeological Institute of America Gold Medal for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement, in recognition of his many contributions to archaeology through his fieldwork, publications, and teaching. An avid gardener at home in Durham, he took a keen interest in the Academy grounds and often had long conversations with the gardeners.

In 1953 Larry married Emeline Hill, FAAR 52, RAAR 79, who was also a classical archaeologist and a notable Etruscan scholar. The Richardsons, accompanied by their Airedale terriers, were frequent visitors to the Academy during the summer months, and both were familiar figures in the Library. Although focused intently on his own work there, Larry was never too busy to answer a question; he gave all such inquiries his undivided attention, and then, without a hint of having been bothered, returned to whatever he was doing.  He also frequently gave stimulating guest lectures to the Academy Summer Session, and his “Walks and Talks” during his Mellon Professorship were memorable.  Larry rarely ate lunch at the Academy, but the Richardsons were often seen at dinner, always formally dressed for the occasion but ready to engage Fellows and visitors in convivial conversation.  The annual parties they hosted at the Academy became legendary.  Larry also carried on an extensive correspondence with friends and former students, in whom he took a boundless interest, in lengthy and informative single-spaced letters composed on his well known typewriter.  He was always a source of steady encouragement to students and colleagues.

After the death of Emeline Hill Richardson in 1999, Larry established a Pre-Doctoral Rome Prize Fellowship in Ancient Studies in her name, to which memorial contributions can be made.