James Early ’45 died on June 20, 2005, in Dallas, Texas.
Born on April 19, 1923, in Worcester, MA, he prepared for college at Worcester Classical High School and became a member of Theta Delta Chi Fraternity at Bowdoin. During World War II, he served as a medical technician in the U.S. Army Air Forces from 1943 to 1946. He returned to the college in February of 1946 and graduated cum laude in February of 1947 as a member of the Class of 1945. In 1949, he received a master of arts in history degree from Harvard University, and he received a doctor of philosophy degree in the history of American civilization, also from Harvard in 1953. After four years as an instructor in English at Yale University, he taught at Vassar College in New York for another seven years before joining the faculty at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He was promoted to professor of English in 1968 and, before he retired officially in 1993, served as chair of the English department, as associate dean of faculties in the School of Humanities and Sciences, and as dean of faculties. In 1967, he was a visiting associate professor of English at Stanford University in California. After his retirement, he continued teaching during the spring semester, including this past spring when he taught a survey course on architecture and cities, beginning with Spanish influences on Mexican architecture. He was the author of Romanticism and American Architecture, The Making of Go Down Moses, and Colonial Architecture of Mexico. He was a former councilor of the Texas Institute of Letters and a member of the Texas Council for the Humanities and had served as a director for the Dallas Historic Preservation Society (now known as Preservation Dallas), and also served on the Dallas Council of Planning and Preservation. He was voted the outstanding teacher of the year by Southern Methodist students and received the Willis Tate Award for teaching and the M Award for service to the University. He is survived by his wife, Ann McKenny Early of Dallas, whom he married in 1949; two sons, Mark Early of Dallas and Edward Early of Dallas; a daughter, Joanne Early, also of Dallas; a sister, Rose Ann Potter of Washington, DC; a brother, David L. Early ’50 of New York City; and two grandchildren.