Brown Logo

Office of University Communications
38 Brown Street / Box 1920
Providence RI 02912

401 863-2453
Fax 863-1650
News_Service@brown.edu

Contact Mark Nickel


Brunoniana

From Martha Mitchell’s Encyclopedia Brunoniana:

Blanchard, Ralph L.

Ralph Leon Blanchard (1888-1960), professor of English, was born in Cumberland Center, Maine, on March 30, 1888. He graduated from Brown in 1915. He served as an assistant in English the next year while earning his master’s degree, and the next year was assistant in mathematics. In 1917 he enlisted in the army, served in France, and rose to the rank of captain in the field artillery. From 1919 to 1923 he lived in India as manager of a sisal hemp plantation and director of the Angus Company in Calcutta. On his return to the United States he taught at the Lawrenceville School and the Berkshire School. He became instructor in English at Brown in 1930, assistant professor in 1937, and associate professor in 1947. In 1942, at the age of 54, he left for World War II service as a major in the chemical warfare corps, and served with the 101st Airborne Division in the Battle of the Bulge, earning seven battle stars. At the end of the war, he was assigned to the civil affairs military government command in charge of rehabilitating German communities, and was discharged as a lieutenant colonel. He returned to Brown, gained the rank of full professor and retired in 1957. He died in Bristol on January 24, 1960. Professor Sharon Brown wrote in his memorial minute:

“Ralph Blanchard was a perfectionist in an imperfect world. Equally qualified to teach mathematics or Latin, he elected to teach the most intractable of subjects, English composition, and strove patiently to imbue his students with his own respect for good style.... Somewhat austere in character, he was gentle at heart, with quiet tastes. Country born, he never outgrew his attachment for country living. In many ways he suggested Henry Thoreau, not only in the purity of his prose style but in his love of country solitude, his familiarity with birds and bees, trees and wild flowers, and his sympathy with humble lives close to the soil.”

The above entry appears in Encyclopedia Brunoniana by Martha Mitchell, copyright 1993 by the Brown University Library. It is used here by permission of the author and the University and may not be copied or further distributed without permission.


Return to Encyclopedia Index  |  University Home Page