Boyer Longden was born in Vevay, Ind., in 1860, the son of a Methodist
minister. Attending both the preparatory and college departments
of Indiana Asbury University, he graduated in 1881 with the intention
of becoming a physician or surgeon. After trying briefly to raise
money for this purpose by selling books door to door, he returned
home one day to find a letter from President Alexander
Martin inviting him to teach Greek and science in the preparatory
department. Later he taught Latin in the College of Liberal Arts
and in 1892 was named professor of German language and literature,
a post he held until his retirement in 1935.
Though he had no formal graduate training, Longden was able to study
at Goettingen and Leipzig during a leave in 1888-1890 and again
in 1898 at Munich. A later sabbatical leave was spent at Amherst
College and the University of Chicago. DePauw awarded him the A.M.
degree in 1884 and an LL.D. in 1925. A sympathetic interpreter of
German civilization, he was often referred to by his students with
affection as "Kaiser" Longden.
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 in 1922 vice president of the university, a largely honorary
position, though it placed him in charge of the 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.
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
Longden was married to DePauw graduate Mary Louisa Johnson, who
preceded him in death in 1935. Their descendants are active participants
in DePauw activities to this day, and his daughter-in-law, Hazel
Day Longden of the class of 1916, remains a continuing link with
the institution's past. Professor Longden lived on in Greencastle
after retirement, dying in 1948 in his 88th year.
Longden graduated from Indiana Asbury in 1881
He immediately joined the faculty of the preparatory department
and soon the college, teaching Greek, Science, Latin, and German
as well as serving as sometime Registrar, Librarian, Acting
and Director of the Edward Rector Foundation. He is shown here
in his administrative office in Studebaker Hall. The picture
desk is that of Mrs. Longden.