Waterford County Museum, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Ireland. Charity Reg: 17397
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 Louis Claude Purser (1854-1932) Classical Scholar from Abbeyside

Louis was born in The Hermitage, Abbeyside on 28 September 1854 to Benjamin and Anne Purser. His sister Sarah was the distinguished artist. He was educated at Middleton College, Co Cork, and Portora Royal School in Enniskillen. A fellow pupil was Oscar Wilde whom he described as ‘more careful in his dress than any other boy’.

In 1871 he attended Trinity College Dublin where he was part of a group of classical scholars that included Robert Tyrrell and J.P. Mahaffy. Because of family financial difficulties Claude had to take on teaching work before finishing his degree. He graduated as senior moderator in classics in 1875, followed by an MA in 1879, and a D.Litt in 1891.In 1882 he worked on ‘The Correspondence of Cicero’ with Robert Tyrrell. ‘His meticulous attention to detail and wide-ranging historical and literary knowledge were most productively deployed in the revision and completion of scholarly texts’. He edited critical texts of Cicero’s letters: Ad Familiares 1902, Ad Atticum 1903, and Apuleius’ The Story of Cupid and Psyche. He taught in TCD from1881 until 1898 when he was appointed as professor of Latin. In 1923 he was elected a fellow of the British Academy, and received honorary degrees from Glasgow University 1914, Oxford 1923, and Durham 1931. He was elected a member of the Royal Irish Academy in 1884 and was secretary from 1902-1914.  He never married and lived at 8 Waterloo Road, Dublin. He did have a close friendship with ‘Lollie’ Yeats. His other interests included ancient law, history of modern literature and cricket. The writer William Murphy described him as ‘miserly, fearful and selfishly conservative’. R B McDowell and D A Webb stated that he was an ‘urbane and courteous host, a generous lender of books and a man who was able to fuse the roles of teacher and student’. His portrait was painted by his sister Sarah and by Leo Whelan and both are in Trinity College. He died on 20 March 1932 and is buried in Mount Jerome next to his sister Sarah and his brother John Mallet.

Louis Claude Purser (1854-1932)

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