Pound, Louise

Pound, Louise

(1872–1958) linguist, folklorist, athlete; born in Lincoln, Nebr. (sister of Roscoe Pound). Educated by her mother at home, she entered the University of Nebraska where she received a B.L. in music in 1892 and an A.M. in English in 1895. During this time she also became the women's state and regional tennis champion and she won a men's varsity letter in tennis at the university. She obtained a Ph.D. from the University of Heidelberg in only two semesters and returned to the University of Nebraska, where she taught for 45 years. For many of these years she was also a ranking golfer, including state champion in 1916. Her work on the origins of the ballad form, her studies of American folk songs and folklore in the Middle West, and especially her inquiries into developments in American English, were significant contributions toward the scholarly recognition of folklore and American speech as legitimate fields of study. In 1955 she became the first woman president of the Modern Language Association and also the first woman elected to the Nebraska Sports Hall of Fame. She was a founder and senior editor of American Speech (1925–33).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.