Born Abt 1890, Died Oct. 6, 1948
By Ellen K. Layman
Allan B. Bicknell was a member of the Bridgewater College faculty from 1906-1947.
He taught French, German, Greek, Latin and Spanish, at some point in his long career.
He earned undergraduate, master's and a Ph.D. degree from Brown University and during the course of his travels over the years also studied at Harvard University, at the University of Geneva in Switzerland, the University of Grenoble in France and the University of Marburg in Germany.
Our college historian has written the following about Prof. Bicknell:
One of the new faculty members of the Yount era (when Walter B. Yount was president of Bridgewater) was Allan B. Bicknell, a New Englander who served the college well for 41 years (1906-47).
The faculty periodical, College Life, described him as "an accomplished scholar," "a Christian gentleman," and "something of an athlete."
He was a tennis enthusiast, an agile ice skater, and a skilled oarsman and sailor (yet he and another faculty member, while taking their ladies for a boat ride one Sunday afternoon on North River near the college, went over the dam at the Marshall Mill!).
This versatile and colorful professor, the first Ph.D. on the Bridgewater College faculty, was noted for his brisk, daily walks, his long hikes, his roles in operettas, his "sparkling wit," "genial good humor," and "unfailing good will."
Dr. Bicknell, a Phi Beta Kappa of Brown University, had come to the college as a bachelor, but on commencement day, 1917, he took as his bride Alda B. Cline, instructor in English and Latin at the college. (Mrs. Bicknell, a member of Bridgewater College's class of 1908, was the first woman to earn a B.A. degree at the college.)
Later in the college's published history it is noted that "During the fall of 1914, students and faculty were fascinated by Professor Allan B. Bicknell's description of conditions in Germany at the outbreak of World War I and the difficulties he encountered in leaving that country to return to the United States."
In 1934, Professor Bicknell was a founding member of the college's honorary music fraternity, Societas Orphea.
In 1939, he was a charter member when the Eta Upsilon Chapter of Alpha Psi Omega, national honorary dramatics fraternity, was chartered at Bridgewater.
In 1946, when Prof. Bicknell retired from full-time teaching (he continued on a part-time basis for another year), the college awarded him an honorary degree, Doctor of Literature.
The college in 1959 purchased the Bicknell house near the campus where Prof. Bicknell and his wife had lived. In 1964, a men's residence hall was formally named Heritage Hall in tribute to 10 retired members of the faculty and staff, including Prof. Bicknell.
Prof. Bicknell died on Oct. 6, 1948. His widow died in October 1958.
They had no children. Mrs. Bicknell was buried in the cemetery here in Bridgewater, and I am assuming that her husband was as well.
Information supplied, with many thanks, by
Ellen K. Layman
Associate Director of Development & Director of Public Information
College Box 33, Bridgewater College, Bridgewater, VA 22812-1599
Phone: 540.828.5452 (O); 540.433.4015 (H)
"College of Character...Community of Excellence"