Hoenigswald, Henry M(ax) 1915-2003

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HOENIGSWALD, Henry M(ax) 1915-2003

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born August 17, in Breslau, Germany (now Wroclaw, Poland); died June 16, 2003, in Haverford, PA. Educator and author. Hoenigswald was a prominent historical linguist who wrote influential books and papers concerning such topics as comparative linguistics and the evolution of languages. Trained in classical and Indo-European languages, he attended the University of Munich, University of Zurich, and University of Padua before completing a D.Litt. at the University of Florence in 1936. For two years he worked at the Instituto Studi Etruschi in Florence before fleeing to the United States in 1939 to avoid the rising anti-Jewish tide in Europe. During World War II he worked at various institutions, including Yale University, the Hartford Seminary Foundation, Hunter College, and the University of Pennsylvania. From 1946 to 1947 he worked for the Department of State, and the next year was an associate professor of classical languages at the University of Texas before joining the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania as an associate professor in 1948. He remained there for the rest of his academic career, chairing the linguistics department in the 1960s and retiring as professor emeritus in 1985. Making a name for himself in the field of linguistics by the 1950s, Hoenigswald was a historical linguist at a time when that area of study was becoming more theoretical. Questioning old methods while researching the new, he became a notable bridge between these two schools of thought and was recognized for his work with election to the National Academy of Sciences. Hoenigswald's influential texts include Language Change and Language Reconstruction (1960) and Studies in Formal Historical Linguistics (1973); he also edited several books and was the author of over 150 articles.



Writers Directory, 18th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 2003.


Independent (London, England), July 14, 2003, p. 16.