Mary Ella Milham

From UNB Archives and Special Collections
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Mary Ella Milham.jpg

Mary Ella Milham received her BA from Carroll College and went on to earn her MA and PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She arrived at UNB in 1954, the second woman to teach Classics at the university. The first, Carol Hopkins, was appointed in the fall of 1946 and departed in 1949. Dr. Milham's contributions to the life and development of UNB are legion--she was active at every level of university administration. As first Dean of Women's Residence she was responsible for Maggie Jean Chestnut House from 1955 to 1959. Her enthusiastic approach to teaching drew large numbers of students to her courses and she was intensely involved in the Classics Club, organizing lavish plays and Roman banquets for the students.

An extensive program of European research, beginning in the 1960s, was the basis of Dr. Milham's impressive publishing record of nearly 40 articles in learned journals and six books. She took on major responsibilities at the national level in her field, including becoming the first woman president of the Council of the Classical Association of Canada (1984-86). From 1970-75, Dr. Milham chaired the Association's "Committee on the State of Classical Studies in Canada", and as a result wrote "...the most thorough review (on the subject) that has ever been written"; this report came to known, and is still referred to, as the "Milham Report." In 1983, she was instrumental in the establishment of the compulsory, multi-disciplinary course Arts 1000 - The Development of Western Thought, and was chosen as its first Co-ordinator. In 1986 she was elected to the New York Academy of Sciences, an honour rarely extended to classicists. Also in 1986, with a grant from UNB's Bicentennial Committee, Dr. Milham authored Greek an' Latin an' A' - An abbreviated history of collegiate classics at Fredericton, 1785-1985.

At the time of her retirement in 1987, Dr. Milham was "tied (with) Tyng Raymond...for the longest tenure in the history of the ([@Department of Classics and Ancient History|Department)]." in that same year, she established the Milham Trust Fund. Its objective was to develop and coordinate the Harriet Irving Library's holdings in the Book Arts, and in addition, to make its long-established collection of New Brunswickiana as comprehensive as possible. Dr. Milham delivered the inaugural lecture of the Milham Lecture Series in 1987. A year later, she was named Professor Emerita. In retirement Dr. Milham continued to remain academically active, receiving an Award of Merit in the Writing of Local History from her home state in 1989; publishing Platina - On right pleasure and good health in 1998; and publishing an examination of her native community, New Berlin, Wisconsin to 1900: not as German as you'd think, in 2003.


  • Murray, James S. "A brief sketch of the academic career of Dr. Mary Ella Milham" in What's cooking? A festschrift in celebration of the 75th birthday of Mary Ella Milham. Fredericton: UNB Libraries, 1997.
  • University Perspectives, vol. 15, no. 2, October 1988, p. 4.
  • Milham, Mary Ella. Greek an' Latin an' A' - An abbreviated history of collegiate classics at Fredericton, 1785-1985. Fredericton: UNB, 1986.

© UNB Archives & Special Collections, 2014