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Ref No IE TCD MS 4258
Title Papers of Ernest Henry Alton (1873-1952), Professor of Latin 1927 to 1942, Provost of TCD 1942; correspondence with classical scholars
Creation Dates 1905-1940, [ ]
Level Of Description Collection
Admin Biographical History Ernest Henry Alton was born in 1873 at Marlinstown, near Mullingar, Co Westmeath. He was educated at the High School in Dublin, where he developed an interest in classical literature. He later studied at Trinity College Dublin, and graduated with a BA from there in 1896. He became a Fellow of the College in 1905 and was appointed as Professor of Latin in 1927, a post he held until 1942. He became Vice-Provost in 1941, and was elected Provost in 1942.
In the aftermath of the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922 Alton secured election to Dáil Éireann as one of the three representatives of his university, serving continuously from 1923 to 1937, and then in the Senate (to which university representation had been transferred) from 1937 to 1942. His work as a public representative ceased soon after his admission as Provost on 13 May 1942, but his contacts remained as a significant background factor when the college made its first, and successful, application for public funds in 1946-7.
His reputation as a Latin scholar stemmed mainly from the work he did on Ovid's Fasti, an unfinished 6-book poem, written in the very early years of the first millennium AD. Alton's interest in this work led him to visit various libraries in Western Europe that held manuscripts of the work. His scholarship in this field resulted in the conferring on him of honorary D.Litt. awards by Oxford and Padua.
Alton's other interests included the history of the College, and he was involved in the first complete photographic facsimile of the Book of Kells.
Alton married (1915) Ethel Marjory, daughter of Col. Sir Charles Hughes-Hunter of Anglesey, north Wales, and they had two sons, Charles and Henry, and a daughter, Bryanna. For much of their married life they lived at 5 Dartmouth Rd, Ranelagh, Dublin.
Scope And Content TCD MS 4258 includes correspondence between Alton and other classical scholars, including EH Blakeney, HE Butler, Hugh Last, BL Ullmann and D'Arcy W Thompson, as well as scholarly notes.
Document T.C.D. MS4258 E.H.ALTON, S.F.T.C.D..pdf
Access Conditions Please contact mscripts@tcd.ie
Copyright Please contact mscripts@tcd.ie
Mgt Group Academic correspondence
Related Material TCD MSS 7641-2 - papers relating to Alton's investigations into the history of the College, including summaries of registers, extracts from bursar's accounts and other archives, as well as correspondence on the history of College buildings.
TCD MSS 8192-8262 (including 8253a-b, 8254a) - includes Alton's papers relating to an edition of Ovid's Fasti.
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