American Philosophical Society
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406. Linguistics[X]
1Name:  Dr. Anna Morpurgo Davies
 Institution:  University of Oxford
 Year Elected:  1991
 Class:  4. Humanities
 Subdivision:  406. Linguistics
 Residency:  International
 Living? :   Deceased
 Birth Date:  1937
 Death Date:  September 27, 2014
Anna Morpurgo Davies was born in 1937 in Milan (Italy) to Maria (née Castelnuovo), a teacher, and Augusto Morpurgo, an industrial engineer. Her father died when she was one and a half years old, and her mother moved with her four children to Rome, where they miraculously survived Mussolini's anti-Jewish laws and the year of German occupation. Anna took her first degree in classics and comparative philology at the University of Rome with a dissertation on Mycenaean declensions (1959), and she then served for two years as an assistant to the Chair of Greek and Latin Grammar before obtaining a Junior Fellowship at the Center for Hellenic Studies newly founded by Harvard University in Washington DC (1961-62). In 1962 she married J.K. Davies, a British ancient historian (marriage dissolved 1978), and moved to Oxford, England, where in 1964 she was appointed to a University Lectureship in Classical Philology and in 1966 to a Fellowship of St. Hilda's College (Hon. Fellow from 1972). In 1963 she obtained an Italian libera docenza. In 1971 she was elected to the Oxford Chair of Comparative Philology (renamed the Diebold Chair of Comparative Philology from 2003) and to a Fellowship of Somerville College; she retired in September 2004. She was a member of the British Academy and of the Academia Europaea, a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, a Corresponding Member of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres (Paris), of the Austrian Academy (Vienna) and of the Bavarian Academy (München). She was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society in 1991. In 1981 she received an Hon. D.Litt. From the University of St. Andrews (Scotland) and from 1993 she was an Honorary Member of the Linguistic Society of America. She was the President of the (British) Philological Society from 1976-80 (Hon. Vice-President 1980-), and she served as Delegate of Oxford University Press for twelve years. In 2001 she was awarded an Honorary D.B.E. for services to philology and linguistics. She was a Visiting Professor at the University of Pennsylvania in 1971, at Yale University in 1977, at the University of California, Berkeley in 2006 and 2007, and the Sather Professor of Classical Literature at the University of California, Berkeley in 2000; she had also given a series of named lectures at the University of Cincinnati, Stanford University, Harvard University and the Scuola Normale di Pisa. In 1975 she was the Collitz Professor of the Linguistic Society of America. In broad terms her work was concerned with Indo-European comparative and historical linguistics, but she has mainly concentrated on three areas: the history and prehistory of Ancient Greek; the Indo-European languages of Anatolia and in particular Hieroglyphic Luwian (often in collaboration with J .D. Hawkins), the history of Nineteenth Century Linguistics. Her first book (1963) was a lexicon of Mycenaean Greek, the language of the Second Millennium B.C. clay tablets written in Linear B (a syllabic script deciphered in 1952) and found in Crete and the Peloponnese. She continued to work on Mycenaean all through her career. She had also written extensively on the ancient Greek dialects of the First Millennium B.C. and in general on Greek historical linguistics. Her Nineteenth Century Linguistics (1998) was preceded by an Italian version (1996). In 2004 she was presented with a Festschrift published by Oxford University Press (Indo-European Perspectives. Studies in Honour of Anna Morpurgo Davies, edited by J.H.W. Penney; also Morpurgo Davies, Anna in K. Brown, ed., Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, 2006). For an autobiographical essay see K. Brown and V. Law eds., Linguistics in Britain: Personal Histories (Publications of the Philological Society, 36), Oxford 2002, pp. 213-227. Anna Morpurgo Davies died September 27, 2014 at the age of 77 in Oxford.
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