Share / Discuss

Remembering Sam Hynes

Samuel Hynes, a distinguished scholar of British literature who taught at Swarthmore from 1949 to 1968, died Oct. 9 in Princeton, N.J. He was 95.

Since 1976, Sam had been a faculty member at Princeton University, retiring in 1990 as the Woodrow Wilson Professor of Literature Emeritus. His course material and research focused primarily on 18th-century English literature, modern British poetry, and the literature of war.

A Marine Air Corps veteran of World War II and recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross, Sam drew upon his military experience in writing a number of popular books, including Flights of Passage: Reflections of a World War II Aviator and The Soldier’s Tale: Bearing Witness to Modern War.

Sam returned from the war to complete a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota. After earning a master’s and Ph.D. from Columbia University under the GI Bill, Sam joined the faculty of Swarthmore’s Department of English Literature.

Peter Bart ’54, a political science major and former student of Sam, remembered him as “a brilliant guy, a little gruff and remote.”

“I was lucky that Hynes taught me in 1951–1952,” Bart wrote in a tribute (pg. 3). “He was then figuring out how to teach, and I was figuring out how to study.”

Sam spent eight years at Northwestern University before moving to Princeton. He is survived by two daughters, three grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.