The Department of Classics at UNC-Chapel Hill is saddened to share that Henry Rudolph Immerwahr, emeritus professor, passed away on Sept. 15, 2013.
Born in Germany and educated at the University of Florence, the philologist continued his education at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. There, he met his wife, Sara Anderson Immerwahr. With the outbreak of war, Prof. Immerwahr immigrated to the U.S. in 1939, continuing his studies at Yale University and serving in the U.S. Army. After the war and a brief stint at Harvard University, the Herodotus scholar returned to Yale as a professor for ten years before migrating south to Chapel Hill.
Here, he and his wife became prominent academic and social fixtures in the department. He rose to the rank of full professor by 1963, and she taught part-time for the department before becoming an associate professor in the Department of Art.
The congenial professor also helped those around him navigate academia. Prof. Reckford often reaped the bounty of Prof. Immerwahr’s “old and new ways” of thinking about Classics. “It helped me enormously to discuss Homer with him, and Herodotus and Thucydides, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, and Plato, but more than that: Henry helped me feel more comfortable personally, both in the scholarly world and in the University, than I had ever felt before”.
Aside from being the “conscience of the department,” Prof. Immerwahr also was credited with introducing the Greek Ph.D. program. John Ziolkowski was the first student to complete a Greek Ph.D. thesis in 1963, and Prof. Immerwahr directed a total of 15 dissertations and one thesis while at UNC.
Prof. Immerwahr balanced his fellowship and teaching with his own academic pursuits, publishing Form and Thought in Herodotus (1966) and Attic Script: A Survey (1990). He also established an online version of A Corpus of Attic Vase Inscriptions, with printed versions available at UNC, Oxford University, and the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.
In 1977 Prof. Immerwahr retired early to serve as director of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. He and his wife worked at the school where they met until 1982. After which, they returned to Chapel Hill and remained active in department until Sarah Immerwahr’s passing in 2008.
Memorial services will be held Oct. 5, 2013 at Carol Woods.