NEWLY DISCOVERED PORTRAIT FROM LIFE OF CHARLES ANTHON.

The well-known portrait of Anthon by Mathew Brady.

The great classical scholar Charles Anthon had much to do with the high standards of learning in nineteenth-century American universities. His textbooks on the ancient languages were widely admired, and the proof of their utility may be found in the fact that many professors resented them for making the students’ work too easy. Dr. Anthon is also famous in Mormon lore as the Columbia professor who was shown a transcribed “Egyptian” inscription from the Golden Plates and pronounced it a hoax, which has been interpreted in Mormon history as “authenticating” it.

Once in a while, it is Dr. Boli’s privilege to make a original contribution of his own to scholarship. Today he is proud to announce the discovery of an original portrait from life of the great Dr. Anthon. It has lain undiscovered for a century and a half among the never-circulated books in a university library, but there is good evidence for its authenticity:

Here is the image in context, as it was found delineated on the dedication page of The Elements of Greek Grammar, by R. Valpy, with additions by C. Anthon:

What is our evidence that this is a portrait from life? The book was donated to the University of California in 1873; before that, it had formed part of the library of Dr. Francis Lieber, Professor of History and Law in Columbia College, New York. Since the volume itself is the 1847 edition of a very-often-reprinted work, and since it is the sort of book one would purchase as a student, but not as a professor of law and history (who presumably has already been through his first year of Greek), we may reasonably assume that it belonged to young Francis Lieber when he was a student at that same college, where he would have seen Dr. Anthon every day. The chain of evidence is strong. This is very probably Charles Anthon as he actually appeared to his students.