Biography of Prof. William H. Carruth

Prof. William H. Carruth, one of the leading linguistic seholars and authors of the West, had held the chair of German Language and Literature of the University of Kansas since its creation over thirty years ago. He was born on a farm near Osawatomie, Kansas, April 5, 1859, the son of James H. and Jane (Grant) Carruth. His father, from whom he in herited his love of books, was a home missionary of the Presbyterian Church, and from his mother he inherited courage, energy and an independent disposition. He worked his way through school and college, graduating at the University of Kansas in 1880. In the fall of that year he began teaching in the university as assistant in modern languages and literature, and in 1882 he was elected professor of modern languages. In 1884 this department was divided, one branch embracing French and the other German, and Professor Carruth remained at the head of the latter. In 1886 he spent a year of study abroad at Berlin and Munich. Three years later he was Morgan fellow at Harvard for a year, receiving the degree of A. M., and in 1893 that of Ph. D. from the same institution. He is an able translator and had edited several volumes of college texts. In 1887, with F. G. Adams, Professor Carruth published an account of municipal suffrage in Kansas. In 1900 he published two volumes entitled “Kansas in Literature,” and in 1908 a volume of his poems, “Each in His Own Tongue.” He is a member of the honorary fraternity of Phi Beta Kappa and of the Modern Language Association, and is district vice-president of the American Dialect Society. He took an active part in the organization of the Central States Modern Language Conference and was president of it from 1895 to 1897. In 1896 he was president of the Kansas Academy of Language and Literature. Professor Carruth is a director of the Kansas Historical Society; a member of the executive committee of the State Temperance Union; one of the Committee of Twelve of the American Modern Language Association on entrance requirements to college, and for several years was managing editor of the Kansas University Quarterly. He had been active in university extension work; was secretary of the Lawrence Civil Service Reform Club, and served on the common council and board of education of Lawrence.



Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

1 thought on “Biography of Prof. William H. Carruth”

  1. Taught a Creative Writing class at Stanford. One of his students was John Steinbeck. They corresponded throughout their lives. Steinbeck often seeking advice from his teacher.

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