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Battles, Ford Lewis | Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

Name: Battles, Ford Lewis

Historical Note:

Battles graduated from West Virginia University (AB, 1936); Tufts University (MA, 1938; and Hartford Seminary Foundation (PhD, 1950).  He was a Rhodes Scholar at Exeter College, Oxford University, 1938-1940; and he served in the United States Army, 1941-1945.

Following WW II, Battles began his teaching career at his alma mater, West Virginia University.  He resigned three years later, in 1948, to join the faculty of Hartford Seminary Foundation, ultimately becoming academic dean.  In 1967 he went to the faculty of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, which he left in 1978 to join the Calvin Theological Seminary faculty.

An accomplished teacher, Battles was also a prodigious and groundbreaking scholar.  Among numerous books and articles is an annotated translation of John Calvin 1559 Institutes that became the standard for all Calvin studies, the Commentary on Seneca's De Clementia, a translation of Calvin's 1536 Institutes, as well as a computerized index to the Institutes.

He was born 30 Jan 1915 in Erie, Pennsylvania, the son of Ford Lewis Battles and Lucy Clare Stewart. In 1945 Battles married Marion Davis. Marion earned a Master's degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. She worked for the Office of Strategic Services in Washington, DC where she met Battles, who was stationed in DC as a member of the Air Force Army. Marion specialized in the human rights of prisoners of war at the close of World War II and also participated in the International Communities of Calvin Scholars. Battles and Marion had two daughters, Nancy Marion (b. 1946) and Emily Stewart (b. 1951).  Battles died 22 Nov 1979 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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