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Willard Titus Barbour
The Michigan Alumnus 296


Just as this issue of THE ALUMNUS goes 
to press word comes
 of the death in New
 Haven on March 2nd, of Professor
 Willard Titus Barbour, '05, '08l, who 
resigned from the Law Faculty of the
 University last fall to accept a profes
sorship in law at Yale University. Professor Barbour was the son of Pro
fessor Florus A. Barbour, '78, head
 of the Department of English Litera
ture in the Ypsilanti Normal, and was
 born in Coldwater, Michigan, November 26, 1884.

His decision to accept the Profes
sorship at Yale was a great disappointment to his many friends in Ann
 Arbor, no less than to his colleagues 
on the Law Faculty. Though still a
 young man he had already won a wide 
reputation as a scholar and teacher and 
this was combined with a rare person
ality in which intellectual keenness
 and honesty were mingled with a quiet 
genius for friendship, which made 
those who knew him love him. Trag
edy lies in so untimely an end for a 
career of extraordinary promise. 

Dean Henry M. Bates, of the Law
 School, has written the following fine 
appreciation of his late associate for

"When Willard Barbour was grad
uated from the Law School in 1908
 and had accepted the Rhodes scholar
ship at Oxford, his career as a lawyer
 or legal scholar seemed assured, for
 he had an unusually broad general ed
ucation, a well trained and eager
 mind, and a personality of singular
 fineness and charm.

"At Oxford he made a distinguish
ed record, and was one of the few 
American Rhodesians who did not
 suffer from the superficiality of train
ing, which unfortunately has been all
 too common in students from this
 country. He early attracted the at
tention of Sir Paul Vinogradoff, perhaps the most eminent English legal
 scholar of the day, and enjoyed the 
rare privilege of doing special work
 with him, for two years or more. This 
work took form finally in Mr. Barbour's study of "The History of Con
tract in Early English Equity," which
 was published as Volume IV in the 
"Oxford Studies in Social and Legal 
History." The book was character
ized by workmanship so thorough and 
accurate, and a sholarship so broad, 
 as to give Mr. Barbour at once a com
manding place among the younger
 American legal scholars.

"In 1913 Mr. Barbour was appoint
ed Assistant Professor in our Law
 School, and though his work was in
terupted by illness, he was made pro
fessor of law in 1915. He performed 
the duties of his chair with increasing
 efficiency as a teacher and with con
stantly ripening scholarship until he
 was called to Yale in 1919. His going was an irreparable loss, for in
 some fields lie had no equal in Amer
ica. It was one of those losses that
 no university should suffer, if it could 
possibly prevent it, and at the time 
of Professor Barbour's death, we were 
actively urging him to return to us, 
 not without hope of success. 

"During his service in the Law
 School, Professor Barbour had taught 
Criminal Law, Equity, Property and 
the History of English Law, and he
 contributed valuable articles and notes 
to the Michigan Law Review and oth
er legal journals.

"It is impossible to realize that he
 is gone, for he was in the prime of
 young manhood, so eager for all that
 was best, so hopeful, so brilliant and
 vital. His was a personality of singular charm, of unaffected, almost 
boyish appeal, a spirit unsullied, sens
itive and responsive to all that was 
best in those about him. To know 
him was to love him; to possess his
 friendship was to be blessed with a 
rare unselfish loyalty and devotion in
fused with warmth of affection, 
 that perhaps only his intimates thor
oughly understood. 

"We of the Law Faculty have lost 
a most stimulating associate, a cher
ished friend, one who seized upon the
 best that was in us, by an understanding so quick, so delicate and so subtle
 that it was not less than spiritual. The
 Law School is a better school for his six years of devoted service, and sad
dened though we are by his going, we 
have precious memories of the eager 
intellect; the brave, bright spirit that
 enriched our lives for so long. Our 
hearts go out to those whose grief and 
loss are heaviest in the sacred circle 
of the family."

Professor Barbour is survived by 
his wife, formerly Miss Vera Keith 
Jopp, whom he met while a student
 in Oxford, and a little daughter, Le