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COLLECTION Identifier: HUG 1511.xx

Papers of George Martin Lane


George Martin Lane (1823-1897) was Pope Professor of the Latin Language and Literature at Harvard. He earned his Harvard A.B. in 1846 and taught at Harvard from 1851 to 1894. His papers document his creativity, active social life, and family life.


  • 1797-1987 (inclusive)
  • Majority of material found within 1850-1900


Conditions on Access

Permission of the Harvard University Archives required for access to the collection. Contact Reference Staff for details.


5.62 cubic feet (8 document boxes, 2 flat boxes, 1 record carton, 2 volumes, 3 pamphlet binders, 1 portfolio folder, 1 card box, 1 framed diploma)

The Papers of George Martin Lane document his creativity, active social life, and family life. Although he had a long association with Harvard as a professor, there is more among these papers on his role as a student than his role as a teacher. Even among those materials dating from his student days, the documents reflect student social life, rather than academics. Among his scholarly pursuits, only his work on a Latin Grammar for Schools and Colleges appears prominently among this collection of his papers.

Biographical Note

George Martin Lane (1823-1897) was the Pope Professor of the Latin Language and Literature at Harvard University. He taught at Harvard from 1851 to 1894 and set a precedent as the first faculty member to be pensioned upon retirement. Lane's association with Harvard was life-long: he was a Cambridge native, attended Harvard as an undergraduate, and taught at Harvard for 43 years.

Lane was born December 24, 1823 in Charlestown, Massachusetts to Martin and Lucretia Lane. During his infancy, the family moved to Cambridge, where Lane was to spend the majority of his life. He earned his Harvard A.B. in 1846. As a student, he was a member of the Hasty Pudding Club, the Porcellian Club, and the Institute of 1770. He is the author of The Lone Fishball, a satirical song that remained a Harvard student favorite for many years. It was popular to such an extent that Lane's friend and colleague Francis James Child expanded it into an Italian-style operetta Il pesceballo. Soon after graduation, Lane accepted a one-year position as a substitute teacher of Latin at Harvard.

From 1847 to 1851, Lane studied in Germany. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Göttingen.

Lane returned to Harvard and was appointed Professor of Latin in 1851. He married Frances Eliza Gardiner of Shelfter Island, New York, in 1857. They had three children: Gardiner Martin Lane, Louisa Greenough Lane, and Katherine Ward Lane. Two years after the death of his first wife, Lane married Fanny Bradford Clark.

His appointment as Pope Professor of Latin Language and Literature began in 1869. In 1894 he retired, was given an LL.D., and became Pope Professor Emeritus. His Latin Grammar was not published during his lifetime, but his colleague Professor Morris H. Morgan completed the work and pubilshed it in 1898.

Born in Charlestown, Massachusetts
Graduates from Harvard College.
Instructs classes at Harvard
Studies in Germany
Ph.D. from University of Göttingen
1855, July
The Lone Fishball is published anonymously in Harper's New Monthly Magazine
Marries Frances Eliza Gardiner
Appointed Pope Professor
Frances dies
Marries Fanny Bradford Clark
Retires from Harvard
1897 June 30
Dies in Cambridge, Massachusetts
A Latin Grammar for Schools and Colleges published

The Lane Family

Below is a list of members of George Martin Lane's family. Each name is preceeded by their relationship to him.

Father: Martin Lane

Mother: Lucretia Swan

Sister: Elizabeth Minot Lane

Sister: Jane Lane

Sister: Lavinia Lane

Sister: Sarah Lane

Sister: Susan Lane

Sister: Susan Lane

Sister: Martha Lane

Wife: Frances Eliza Gardiner, m. 1858, d. 1876

Wife: Fanny Bradford Clark, m. 1878

Daughter: Louisa Greenough Lane

Daughter: Katherine Ward Lane

Son: Gardiner Martin Lane

Daughter-in-law: Emma Louise Gildersleeve

Acquistion Information

Accession 11853 received October 19, 1989 and Accession 13978 received July 20, 1999. Material acquired prior to 1979 is probably also included in this collection. The bulk of the material came from the home of Katherine Lane Weems, Lane's granddaughter.

Related Material

For works by or about George Martin Lane, and for manuscripts and books formerly owned by George Martin Lane, consult HOLLIS, Harvard's On-line Library Information System.

Inventory update

This document was last updated 2016 October 14.

Processing Information

This material was first classified and described in the Harvard University Archives shelflist prior to 1980. In 2004, Kate Bowers edited and encoded this finding aid and established series and subseries hierarchy.

Lane, George Martin, 1823-1897. Papers of George Martin Lane : an inventory
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard University Archives Repository

Holding nearly four centuries of materials, the Harvard University Archives is the principal repository for the institutional records of Harvard University and the personal archives of Harvard faculty, as well as collections related to students, alumni, Harvard-affiliates and other associated topics. The collections document the intellectual, cultural, administrative and social life of Harvard and the influence of the University as it emerged across the globe.

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