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R-MC Mourns Loss of Edgar MacDonald
R-MC Mourns Loss of Edgar MacDonald
Professor Edgar E. MacDonald
The Randolph-Macon College community mourns the loss of former English Professor Edgar E. MacDonald, who taught at the college for more than three decades. MacDonald died on September 8, 2011. He was 94.
MacDonald, a lifelong scholar of Virginia history and literature, joined the faculty at Randolph-Macon College in 1953. He taught at the college until his retirement in 1984.
In 1983, MacDonald was named a Fulbright Senior Lecturer to the State University of Leningrad in the Soviet Union. A widely-published scholar in the area of Southern writers, he co-edited numerous publications, including
James Branch Cabell: Centennial Essays
Ellen Glasgow: A Reference Guide
Education of the Heart: The Correspondence of Rachel Mordecai Lazarus and Maria Edgeworth
. His work appeared in
Southern Literary Journal
Resources for American Literary Study
, and the
“Edgar was a first-rate teacher and scholar who helped to establish Randolph-Macon’s excellent reputation in southern literary studies,” says retired R-MC English Professor Ritchie Watson. “I knew about and respected his work, which was one of the contributing factors in my decision to ultimately teach at the college.”
R-MC Humanities Professor M. Thomas Inge ’59 remembers MacDonald fondly. “He was the professor at Randolph-Macon who first opened my eyes to the wide world of literature,” says Inge. “He taught a class in world literature that reflected his own experiences traveling and studying abroad and shaped my worldview. But he also cherished the local and taught me about Southern writing and his own favorite, James Branch Cabell. I had the pleasure of co-editing with him a collection of essays on Cabell. He was one of the most erudite, widely read, witty and sophisticated men I ever knew. His congenial presence will be missed.”
“Professor MacDonald, known for his idiosyncratic ways, had a strong and lasting impact on his students for over three decades,” said R-MC President Robert R. Lindgren. “His recollection and retelling of the story of Randolph-Macon debaters beating Harvard decades ago lives on and is one of the great R-MC legends of all time. He is one of those characters that makes a place like this so unique and special.”
MacDonald was a well-known lecturer in the Richmond area, and often spoke before such groups as the Richmond Public Library and the Ellen Glasgow Society.
At the time of his death he was serving as a board member and editor of the Friends of the Virginia State Archives Newsletter. He was a founder of that organization and also a founder of the Virginia Genealogical Society, which in 2010 awarded him its Lifetime Achievement Award.
MacDonald served on the Library of Virginia Board and the Board of Regents of the James Monroe Law Office Museum and Memorial Library in Fredericksburg. He also served for the last two decades as a trustee of the James Monroe Memorial Foundation. He was also a lifetime supporter of St. Christopher’s School in Richmond.
MacDonald attended the University of Virginia School of Architecture from 1936-38. He earned his B.S. from Virginia Commonwealth University, his M.A. from the University of Richmond and his Ph.D. from The Sorbonne, University of Paris. He was a distinguished veteran of World War II, and earned the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and Belgian Fouragere for his service on the field of battle.
A memorial service will be held September 24 at 2:00 p.m. at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 1214 Wilmer Ave., Richmond, where MacDonald was a member. Burial in the church cemetery will be private.
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