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HENRY B. LONGDEN, Class of 1881

September 13, 1860 - November 8, 1948

Henry Boyer Longden was born in Vevay, Indiana, on September 13, 1860.  The son of Samuel Longden, an English emigrant and a Methodist minister, Henry began preparatory school at Indiana Asbury College in 1877, pledged Deke in the chapter's eleventh year of existence, and earned the undergraduate degree with Phi Beta Kappa honors in 1881.  He intended to study medicine, but he couldn't earn enough money to pursue his ambition during the few months after his graduation. 

Shortly before the 1881 - 82 school began, Longden was asked to teach Greek and science in Asbury's preparatory department. He began teaching on his 21st birthday in September, 1881.  Later he taught Latin in the College of Liberal Arts, and in 1892 he was named professor of German language and literature.  A sympathetic interpreter of German civilization, he often was referred to by his students with affection as "Kaiser" Longden.

In 1884 Longden received a masters degree and in 1925 was granted a doctor of law degree, both from DePauw. During a leave in 1888-1890 and again in 1898, he studied at Goettingen and Leipzig universities and later at the University of Berlin, Amherst College and the University of Chicago.

Professor Longden became a veritable institution at DePauw during his 73 years as student and teacher-administrator. For many years he was called upon to give the welcoming address on the opening day of college. He once wired an entering student this recipe for a successful college career: "Choose men, not subjects; attend chapel daily."

Besides teaching, which was his main love, Longden held many administrative posts, including registrar and librarian early in his career. In 1919 he was named secretary of the Rector Scholarship Foundation and was instrumental in guiding the Edward Rector dollars, a total of $3.5 million to DePauw.  

In 1921, he sold a portion of his farm at the east end of Anderson Street to the fraternity.  The cornerstone of the Psi Phi Deke House was laid at 620 Anderson Street in 1923, the chapter moved into the house in 1925, and it occupied that house for nearly 70 years, until 1992.  

In 1922, Longden was named vice president of the university, a largely honorary position, though it placed him in charge of university affairs during presidential absences in 1921-22 and 1924-25. Longden Hall, constructed in 1927 through the generosity of Edward and Lucy Rowland Rector, was named for the veteran German professor.

He was well liked in the academic community and was asked to give numerous chapel talks and addresses. Dr. Longden was interested in the progress of education and served on the Indiana State Board of Education for a number of years.

In July 1886, Henry Longden married DePauw graduate Mary Louise Johnson of Greenwood, Indiana, who preceded him in death in 1935. They had two children, Beatrice and Grafton who were born January 1890 while Longden was on sabbatical in Leipzig, Germany. Beatrice died on the trip home from Indianapolis to Greenwood. Grafton, who pledged Deke and was in the Class of 1913, married Hazel Day '16. 

Dr. Henry Boyer Longden lived on in Greencastle after retirement, dying November 8, 1948, at age 88.



Delta Pi of ΔKE ~ Illinois    ~    Delta Psi of ΔKE ~ Indiana   ~    Psi Phi of ΔKE ~ DePauw


Post Office Box 813     Greencastle,  Indiana  46135