COLLITZ, Hermann. Bleckede near Hannover 4.2.1855 — Baltimore 13.5.1935. German Linguist (IE and Germanic) in the U.S.A. Professor in Baltimore. Son of estate owner Christian C. and Friederike Schäfer. Educated at gymnasium (Johanneum) of Lüneburg, became interested in Sanskrit already at school. Studies of classical philology, Oriental languages and Germanistics at Göttingen (A. Fick, Benfey), in 1878 IE and Sanskrit at Berlin (J. Schmidt, Weber). Back at Göttingen, Ph.D. 1879, then further IE studies at Berlin. From 1883 employed in Halle University Library and 1885 PD in Sanskrit at Halle, but emigrated soon to the U.S.A. From 1886 Associate Professor of German at Bryn Mawr College, 1897 Professor of German and Comparative Philology there. From 1907 Professor of Germanic Philology at Johns Hopkin University in Baltimore, 1927 emeritus. Founder (1925) and first President of American Linguistic Society. L.H.D. 1916 Chicago. Married 1904 in London Klara Hechtenberg (1863–1944), a Germanic philologist.
Collitz was a pioneer of Germanic studies in America. At the same time he was continously interested in Greek and comparative IE linguistics. In the connection of IE he also often dealt with Sanskrit. In the early phase he was mainly interested in Indo-Iranian, IE and Greek, later more in Germanic.
Publications: Diss. Die Entstehung der indo-iranischen Palatalreihe. Göttingen 1879 (also publ. in BB 3, 1879, 177-234); habil.diss. Die Flexion der Nomina mit dreifacher Stammabstufung im Altindischen. 33 p. Göttingen 1885 (complete in BB 10, 1886, 1-71).
– Brief articles on Indo-Iranian linguistics, mostly in BB and AJPh, also “The Vedic word návedas”, JAOS 20:2, 1899, 225-228; “Yima und Satum”, Studies in Honour of C. E. Pawry 1933, 86-108.
– Edited: Sammlung der griechischen Dialektinschriften. 1-4. 1884-1915 (vol. 3. with F. Bechtel, 4. with O. Hoffmann).
– “Problems in Comparative Germanic Philology”, Congress of Arts and Science … St.Louis 3, 1906, 286-302; Das schwache Präteritum und seine Vorgeschichte. Göttingen 1912; “Early Germanic Vocalism”, MLN 33, 1918, 321-333; “Das schwache Präteritum als Mischbildung”, PMLA 43, 1928, 593-601; a great number of brief articles on IE and Germanic linguistics.
Sources: *E. P. Hamp, Lex. Gramm. 1996, 198f.; K. Malone, AJPh 56, 1935, 289f.; E. Prokosch, *Journal of English and Germanic Philology 35, 1936, 454-457 (republ. in Sebeok 1966:2, 74-77); *E.H. Sehrt, Modern Language Notes 51, 1969, 69-80; Who Was Who in America 1; Nat. Cyclop. of Am. Biogr. Current Vol. D, N.Y. 1934, 284f. (with photo); bibliography in Studies in Honor of Herman Collitz. Baltimore 1930, 7-15; briefly Wikipedia (little more in German version).
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