Tristram Potter Coffin
|Died||January 31, 2012 89) (aged|
|Occupation||University professor, academic, author|
|Known for||Leading scholar of ballad texts in the 20th century|
|Spouse(s)||Ruth Anne Hendrickson Coffin (May 28, 1922 - August 5, 2011)|
Tristram Potter Coffin (February 13, 1922 –January 31, 2012) was an American folklorist and leading scholar of ballad texts in the 20th century. Coffin spent the bulk of his career at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a professor of English and a co-founder of the Folklore Department. He was the author of 20 books and more than 100 scholarly articles and reviews.
Coffin was born February 13, 1922 in San Marino, California, the son of Tristram Roberts Coffin, an investment banker formerly of Richmond, Indiana and New York City, and Elsie Potter Robinson of Edgewood Farm, Wakefield, Rhode Island. He had an older sister, Trelsie Coffin Buffum Lucas (1918–1987); an older brother, Roberts Robinson Coffin, who died shortly after birth in 1920; and a younger brother, Peter Robinson Coffin (1923–1998), who was a college professor as well. He also had an older half-sister, Lydia, and half-brother, Richard, from his father's first marriage.
Coming to Rhode Island after his father died of influenza in 1927, he was educated at the Providence Country Day School, Moses Brown School (1939) in Providence, and then Haverford College (1943) outside of Philadelphia. After three years in the United States Army Air Corps and the Signal Corps during World War II, he completed an MA and a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania.
Through his father, he is a direct descendant of Tristram Coffin, one of the original permanent settlers on Nantucket Island in 1660. [ citation needed ]
In 1944, he married Ruth Anne ("Rusty") Hendrickson (May 28, 1922 – August 5, 2011), a Columbus, Ohio native and school administrator, who attended the Madeira School in McLean, Virginia and Bryn Mawr College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. They had four children, eleven grandchildren, and many dogs.
Coffin was a past Associate Professor of English at Granville, Ohio's Denison University, where he taught and coached (tennis and soccer) for nine years (1949–58). He was elected to the Denison University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1986 and the Tristram P. Coffin Scholarship was established in his and his wife Ruth Anne's honor in 1994 by William G. Bowen of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
In 1959 he moved to the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia where he taught until his retirement. With MacEdward Leach, he co-founded the Department of Folklore at Penn, and was a full professor in both the English and Folklore departments, as well as Vice-Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
During his career he was also a guest professor at UCLA, the University of Rhode Island, Providence College, and in 1962 and 1963 was a Visiting Professor of Literature at the US Military Academy at West Point, one of the first civilians to lecture there. Upon retirement, he became a Lecturer in Folklore at Providence College and at the University of Rhode Island.
Coffin was a former Secretary-Treasurer of the American Folklore Society, as well as Editor of their Memoir and their Bibliographical Series and was elected a Fellow of that group.A 1953 Guggenheim Fellow, he was the 20th century's top scholar of ballad texts, is listed in the Who's Who in America Millennium Edition, and was highly regarded internationally.
He was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society and Delta Upsilon fraternity. His club memberships included the Merion Cricket Club (Haverford, Pennsylvania), the URI University Club (Kingston, Rhode Island), The Dunes Club and the Point Judith Country Club (both Narragansett, Rhode Island).
While in Philadelphia, Coffin was active in educational television, appearing in over 100 shows on Folklore and Shakespeare. He was also host of the National Educational Television (forerunner of PBS) show, "Lyrics and Legends", which was shown nationally, and was editor-in-charge of the "American Folklore" series for Voice of America.
Coffin was an authority on English, Scottish and American ballads. His book, The British Traditional Ballad in North America, has been a standard reference text for over 50 years. In addition to numerous scholarly publications, he also published several more commercial works. His The Book of Christmas Folklore was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection, and The Old Ball Game: Baseball in Folklore and Fiction, Uncertain Glory - The Folklore of the American Revolution, The Female Hero and The Proper Book of Sexual Folklore were widely read. With Hennig Cohen, he also published Folklore of the American Holidays, another standard reference. Finally, Dr. Coffin edited the book Our Living Traditions, in which folklorist Richard Dorson made the first known use of the phrase "urban legend."Altogether, Dr. Coffin published 20 books and over 100 articles, encyclopedia entries, and reviews.
Bryn Mawr is a census-designated place (CDP), located across three townships: Radnor Township and Haverford Township, Delaware County, and Lower Merion Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, just west of Philadelphia along Lancaster Avenue (US-30).
Haverford College is a private liberal arts college in Haverford, Pennsylvania. It was founded as a men's college in 1833 by members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), began accepting non-Quakers in 1849, and became coeducational in 1980.
Bryn Mawr College is a women's liberal arts college in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Founded as a Quaker institution in 1885, Bryn Mawr is one of the Seven Sister colleges, a group of elite, historically women's colleges in the United States, and the Tri-College Consortium along with Haverford College and Swarthmore College. The college has an enrollment of about 1,350 undergraduate students and 450 graduate students. It was the first women's college to offer graduate education through a PhD.
Frank Heyling Furness was an American architect of the Victorian era. He designed more than 600 buildings, most in the Philadelphia area, and is remembered for his diverse, muscular, often unordinarily scaled buildings, and for his influence on the Chicago architect Louis Sullivan. Furness also received a Medal of Honor for bravery during the Civil War.
The Philadelphia Main Line, known simply as the Main Line, is an informally delineated historical and social region of suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Lying along the former Pennsylvania Railroad's once prestigious Main Line, it runs northwest from Center City Philadelphia parallel to Lancaster Avenue.
Penn Valley is an unincorporated community located within Lower Merion Township, Pennsylvania. Penn Valley residents share a zip code with Merion, Narberth, or Wynnewood because the town does not have its own post office. However, Penn Valley is a distinct community whose civic association demarcates the town's boundaries with iconic signs featuring William Penn and a farmhouse in blue or red on white, dating from the town's incorporation in 1930.
Cope and Stewardson (1885–1912) was a Philadelphia architecture firm founded by Walter Cope and John Stewardson, and best known for its Collegiate Gothic building and campus designs. Cope and Stewardson established the firm in 1885, and were joined by John's brother Emlyn in 1887. It went on to become one of the most influential and prolific firms of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. They made formative additions to the campuses of Bryn Mawr College, Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Washington University in St. Louis. They also designed nine cottages and an administrative building at the Sleighton School, which showed their adaptability to other styles, because their buildings here were Colonial Revival with Federal influences. In 1912, the firm was succeeded by Stewardson and Page formed by Emlyn Stewardson and George Bispham Page.
G. W. & W. D. Hewitt was a prominent architectural firm in the eastern United States at the turn of the twentieth century. It was founded in Philadelphia in 1878, by brothers George Wattson Hewitt (1841–1916) and William Dempster Hewitt (1847–1924), both members of the American Institute of Architects. The firm specialized in churches, hotels and palatial residences, especially crenelated mansions such as Maybrook (1881), Druim Moir (1885–86) and Boldt Castle (1900–04). The last was built for George C. Boldt, owner of Philadelphia's Bellevue-Stratford Hotel (1902–04), G.W. & W.D. Hewitt's most well-known building.
Wilson Eyre, Jr. was an American architect, teacher and writer who practiced in the Philadelphia area. He is known for his deliberately informal and welcoming country houses, and for being an innovator in the Shingle Style.
The Quaker Consortium is an arrangement among three liberal arts colleges, Bryn Mawr College, Haverford College, Swarthmore College, and one research university, the University of Pennsylvania, in the greater Philadelphia area. The arrangement allows for their students to enroll in courses at the other schools of the Consortium.
Addison Hutton (1834–1916) was a Philadelphia architect who designed prominent residences in Philadelphia and its suburbs, plus courthouses, hospitals, and libraries, including the Ridgway Library and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. He made major additions to the campuses of Westtown School, George School, Swarthmore College, Bryn Mawr College, Haverford College, and Lehigh University.
Wilson Brothers & Company was a prominent Victorian-era architecture and engineering firm established in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, that was especially noted for its structural expertise. The brothers designed or contributed engineering work to hundreds of bridges, railroad stations and industrial buildings, including the principal buildings at the 1876 Centennial Exposition. They also designed churches, hospitals, schools, hotels and private residences. Among their surviving major works are the Pennsylvania Railroad, Connecting Railway Bridge over the Schuylkill River (1866–67), the main building of Drexel University (1888–91), and the train shed of Reading Terminal (1891–93), all in Philadelphia.
Frank Miles Day was a Philadelphia-based architect who specialized in residences and academic buildings.
George Aaron Barton was a Canadian author, Episcopal clergyman, and professor of Semitic languages and the history of religion.
John Greenway (1919–1991) was born Johannes Groeneweg in Liverpool, England. He was a noted author, singer and scholar who focused on American folk songs of protest.
Phillips Barry was an American academic and collector of traditional ballads in New England.
Francis Barton Gummere was an influential scholar of folklore and ancient languages, a student of Francis James Child.
Sarah James Eddy was an American artist and photographer who specialized in the platinotype process, also known as platinum prints. She was active in abolition, reform, and suffragist movements, and was a philanthropist as well as instrumental in the founding of the Rhode Island Humane Society. She was inducted into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame in 2017.
Ann Wheeler Harnwell Ashmead is an American archaeologist who has co-authored comprehensive catalogues with the archaeologist Etruscologist Kyle Meredith Phillips, Jr. about the Greek Vase Painting collections of Bryn Mawr College (1971) and the Rhode Island School of Design (1976). She has also written the main published catalogue for the Antiquities Collection of Haverford College (1999). and many articles on Greek Vases.
Mary Elizabeth (Barnicle) Cadle was an American folklorist, Medieval English literature professor, and activist interested in women's and African-American rights, suffrage, and the labor movement. She collected and made numerous field recordings of folk songs and stories throughout the South and Caribbean from the mid 1930s until the early 1950s. She collected with Alan Lomax and later her husband, Tillman Cadle.