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Walter H. Durfee

Durfee, Walter H.

Walter Hetherington Durfee was born in Geneva, New York in 1889. He received his early schooling at home from his father, Walter Durfee, and great-uncle, Joseph H. McDaniels. A quick learner, Durfee entered Hobart College at the age of 15 and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He graduated in 1908 and continued on to Harvard, where he completed an M.C.E in 1911. After working for ten years as a professional engineer, Durfee returned to Geneva and began teaching mathematics at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. In 1938 he was appointed dean of Hobart College, served as acting president in 1947-48, and became provost in 1948. Durfee retired in 1959 although he continued to teach advanced mathematics classes and serve as advisor to honors students for many more years. He died in 1973.

Walter H. Durfee communicated with Mildred Bliss in 1933 when his great-uncle, Joseph H. McDaniels, died. McDaniels and Bliss were working on a Greek translation project for the Green Garden inscription panel when McDaniels suddenly died. Durfee passed the news on to Mildred Bliss.



 “Durfee Family Papers, 1884-1993: a Finding Aid.” Finding aid at the Warren Hunting Smith Library, Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Last modified March 29, 2011.

“Walter Hetherington Durfee, SC.D. ’59.” Hobart and William Smith Colleges. October 16, 1993.