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Raven Ioor McDavid Jr. Oct. 16, 1911 - 1984. "May the Olympians who preside over your destiny have the capacity to understand the importance of your work.". by Mitchell, Karina and Leigh.

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Raven Ioor McDavid Jr. Oct. 16, 1911 - 1984

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raven ioor mcdavid jr oct 16 1911 1984

Raven Ioor McDavid Jr.Oct. 16, 1911 - 1984

"May the Olympians who preside over your destiny havethe capacity to understand the importance of your work."


Mitchell, Karina and Leigh

Raven Ioor McDavid Jr. was born on October 16th in 1911 to parents Marie Louise (nee Henderson) and Raven I. McDavid Sr.
  • He graduated valedictorian from Greenville High School in 1928 and was voted most studious of the senior class. He was a member of the: Warren Club; Hughes Society; National Forensic Club; Parliamentarians ’28; Nautilus Staff ’26 and ’27; Leaders’ Corps ’26 and ’27; Athletic Association; Hi Y ’26-’28; and the Boy Scouts.
He attended the Virginia Military Academy as a summer student in 1929.
  • In 1931 Raven I. McDavid graduated from Furman University with a Bachelors degree.
  • He then attended Duke University and achieved a Masters degree in 1933 and a Ph.D. in 1935.
McDavid was an English Professor at the Citadel in Charleston, SC for three years (1935-38).
  • In 1937 McDavid attended a summer program at the University of Michigan, where he would later teach after his time at the Citadel. The teacher, Bernard Bloch a fieldworker for the Linguistic Atlas of New England, used McDavid as an informant for the course. McDavid was then drawn to the excitement of dialect study.
  • In WWII he studied the Burmese and worked on educational programs to help the Italians learn English.
  • In 1952 McDavid began teaching at the Western Reserve University in Ohio, where he would remain until 1957 when he would join the faculty of the University of Chicago.
  • Raven McDavid taught as an associate professor of English when he first arrived at Chicago, but in 1964 he attained the position of Professor of English and Linguistics.
Over the years, Raven I. McDavid Jr. has been the editor of several publications. These include:
  • The Linguistic Atlas of Middle and Southern Atlantic States
  • The Linguistic Atlas of Northern and Central States
  • One volume of H.L. Menchen’s abridged “The American Language” (1963).
Along with teaching, McDavid was also a researcher. He would travel around the country and talk to people to gather information about their speech habits.
  • In 1949, according to a Time Magazine article, McDavid had spent two years on the East Coast striking random conversations. He was researching for the Linguistic Atlas of the United States and Canada, a project headed by the Philologist Hans Kurath, who worked at the University of Michigan.
  • The purpose of the Atlas was to track isoglosses, or similarities in speech, as they vary across different geographical areas. According to the article, in addition to the two years McDavid had spent as of then, it would take several more years to complete.
  • It was published in December 1988.
When McDavid was doing research for the Atlases that he worked on, or for his essays, he would talk to people with random conversation.
  • He said that, “I always follow the custom of the country.” He would talk about any number of things—from funerals to insects, as well as everyday subjects to gather speech habits and colloquialisms to record.
In 1972 Raven McDavid was a trustee for Duke University.
  • He was a former Fulbright Fellow in Scandinavia.
  • He was the President of the American Dialect Society.
  • He was a member of the: National Council of Teachers of English, Modern Language Association of America, Midwest Modern Language Association, Linguistic Society of America, American Dialect Society, International Association of University Professors of English, American Oriental Society, American Association of University Professors, Canadian Linguistic Association, and the American Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
McDavid was married to Elizabeth Lee Harris on March 7, 1942 and they divorced in 1945 after having one daughter, Bettie McClain.
  • Raven married a second time on June 7, 1950 to Virginia Ann Glen. Together they had four children: Glenn Truxton, Raven Ioor III, Thomas Inglesby and Ann Hamilton.
  • He died in 1984.
  • "Board of Trustees at Duke University." Board of Trustees at Duke University. Duke University. 13 May 2009 <http://trustees.duke.edu/honorary/1970s.php>.
  • "Guide to the Raven I. McDavid Papers 1951-1976." University of Chicago Library: Finding Aids. 2007. University of Chicago Library. 13 May 2009 <http://ead.lib.uchicago.edu/view.xqy?id=ICU.SPCL.MCDAVID&c=m&sub=McDavid,%20Raven%20Ioor>.
  • "Institute for Southern Studies - Names in South Carolina." Welcome to the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of South Carolina. College of Arts and Sciences: Institute for Southern Studies. 13 May 2009 <http://www.cas.sc.edu/iss/SCNames/index.php?action=showPage&book=2&volume=14&page=50>.
  • "Isoglosses." Time 25 July 1949. 13 May 2009 <http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,853881,00.html>.
  • McArthur, Tom. "McDAVID, Raven I(oor), Jr." Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. 1998. Encyclopedia.com. 13 May 2009 <http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O29-McDAVIDRavenIoorJr.html>.
  • Raven I. McDavid Jr. 1928. Greenville High School Yearbook -- 1927-28, Greenville High School Archives, Greenville, SC.