Campus News


James B. Colvert

James Brumley Colvert, a renowned scholar of American literature who served as head of the English department on two separate occasions, died in Athens on Jan. 13 at the age of 91.

Born in Paris, Texas, Colvert fought in World War II as a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corp and flew 27 combat missions over Nazi Germany. Throughout his life, he remained a private pilot and flight enthusiast.

After the war, he earned his doctorate in English from LSU and taught at the University of Texas from 1952-1958. After serving for a year as a visiting professor at the University of Connecticut, he took an associate professorship at the University of Virginia from 1959-1968. While there, he served on the doctoral committee of Matthew J. Broccoli, who became one of the most productive scholars in the profession. Colvert came to UGA in 1968 as a full professor to edit
The Georgia Review, which he did for three years.

His most significant research was on American author Stephen Crane. Harcourt Brace published his biography on Crane in 1984, which scholar James Nagel notes “was widely respected for its objectivity.”

Colvert is survived by his wife of 68 years, Mary; two sons, Dave and John; two grandchildren; and four nieces. 

In accordance with his wishes, no formal services will be held. A memorial fund has been established. The family asks that those so inclined donate in Colvert’s memory to “The University of Georgia Foundation: English Department Fund, for the Graduate Student Award Fund” to support English department graduate students. Any gifts with the number 918070 will be designated as funds in Colvert’s honor.