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Seymour O. Simches Illuminated Manuscript
Scope and Contents
- circa 1300
- Simches, Seymour O. (Person)
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Biographical / Historical
Professor Seymour Oliver Simches (1919 - 2003) came to Tufts as assistant professor of romance languages in 1954 and later became full professor and Chair of the Romance Languages Department. In 1962, he became the John Wade Professor of Modern Languages. Professor Simches, a much beloved teacher, helped establish the 'College Within,' the 'Experimental College,' The Tufts European Center at Talloires as well as a center for teaching excellence at Tufts.
Oliver Seymour Simches was born September 22, 1919, the last of six children to Jewish Lithuanian immigrants in Dorchester, Mass., where his father worked as a tailor. He graduated magna cum laude with a BA (C. L. A.) from Boston University in 1941. He received a Master of Arts (1942) and a PhD. (1950) from Harvard University. From 1971 to 1974 he was Director of the 'College Within,' a structure which helped to break down institutional divides between various departments at Tufts and established what later came to be known as 'interdisciplinary study.' Professor Simches, a co-founder of the Experimental College (EC), continued to teach classes in EC throughout his career and even in the last few years of his life holding the classes in his living room. One of the favorite courses of his was 'A Mentorship of Human Values' in which he examined with his students "human values and the human condition through literature, he explored archetypes, he raised issues of race, ethnicity and genocide, and he delved into profound questions of the meaning of life and death."
In 1978, "Professor Simches became the Founding Director of the Tufts European Center in Talloires. He literally put it on its feet from its inception, from accepting the gift of the Priory from the MacJannets and the French mayor of Talloires on behalf of President Jean Mayer, to organizing the faculty and the course offerings, to engaging the Savoyard community to cooperate with the Tufts program and even to dealing with the infrastructure problems previously undertaken by the MacJannets. In fact, one of Seymour's very first tasks was to remove the debris and mold-covered rocks which had been piled in the Priory's basement in order to put that space to use."
Seymour Simches and his wife Marcia loved being at Talloires. As director he ensured that the Talloires program was accessible to students from all backgrounds regardless of financial resources and that French, French literature and culture were a major component of instruction. For his work at Talloires Professor Simches received one of France's highest honors, Commandeur de 'l'Ordre des Palmes Academiques, and a scholarship was established in his name, the Seymour Simches Scholarship to Talloires, to help students who could not afford to pay to attend Talloires.
Professor Simches retired in 1990. He published a book titled, Le Romanticism et le gout esthetique du XVIII ieme, and together with Herbert H. Golden, he published a bibliography titled, ;Modern French literature and language : a bibliography of homage studies.' Tufts established the Tufts Seymour Simches Award for lifetime achievement in teaching and advising in his honor. Seymour O. Simches died January 18, 2003.
.25 Linear Feet (1 illuminated manuscript.)
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