ALEXANDER KERR


From History of Dane County, Wisconsin, publ. by Western Historical Company, Chicago, 1880, page 1006

ALEXANDER KERR, Professor of the Greek Language and Literature in the University of Wisconsin; he was born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, Aug. 15, 1828; his boyhood was passed near Rockford, Ill., doing farm work in summer, and enjoying the meager advantages of a country school during the winter; a desire for a more liberal education was awakened, and at the age of 21 he began his college preparation in a classical school in Rockford; he graduated from Beloit College, Wisconsin, in 1855, with the highest honors of his class; from 1855 to 1861, he was engaged in teaching in Georgia, either as Principal of Academy or Professor in a higher institution; he was two years Superintendent of the public schools of Winnebago Co., Ill.; in this new field of labor, he was enthusiastic, tireless and successful; in 1863 he took charge of the public schools of Beloit, Wis.; during the eight years of his supervision, these schools took high rank; classes were annually fitted for college, and this classical training was a new thing for the high schools of Wisconsin, and attracted attention elsewhere to his labors; of the various positions offered him, he chose the professorship of Greek Language and Literature in the University of Wisconsin, and entered upon its duties in June 1871; this chair he has continued to fill to the present time with ability and credit; he is an active member of the State Teacher's Association, and was its president in 1869; he has been a member of the Board of Education of the city of Madison continuously since the 1st of January 1873; he has labored to bring into harmonious relation the four branches of the system of public education in the State - the district schools, the graded schools, the normal schools and the university; he is an educational writer, a contributor to the periodical press, and an occasional companion of the Muses; a narrative of his literary labors appears in the chapter on literature in this volume. He was married, January 1, 1857, to Miss Katharine F. BROWN; her father, Rev. H. BROWN, of Rockford, was a graduate of Amherst College in the class of 1828; she inherits intellectual strength and literary taste, and is a lady of unusual culture; though fitted to adorn the highest walks of public life and womanly activities, she is, nevertheless, quite domestic in her general tastes and purposes, finding -pre-eminent delight in the moral and scholastic training of her sons - Charles H. and James B.; they had one other child, who died while an infant. Mrs. KERR was associated with Mrs. BASCOM and Mrs. BUTLER in publishing the "Centennial Records of the Women of Wisconsin." Their pleasant home is No. 24 Langdon street. Like all successful teachers, Prof. KERR is an enthusiast upon the subject which he teaches, and believes that "the sacred debt our language owes to ancient Greek only increases with each advance in science, philosophy, and the art of expression," and that "our poets must always find their rhythms and their inspiration in the Attic masterpieces." As a teacher, Prof. KERR is careful and painstaking, clear and methodical.


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