Ronald Edward Freeman, English: Los Angeles

Associate Professor

To the shock of his colleagues and many friends, Ronald E. Freeman died suddenly of a massive heart attack on March 28, 1985, in Desert Hot Springs, California. He has been and will continue to be greatly missed.

Ron Freeman was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and was educated there in the public schools. After graduation from high school he served in the U.S. Army before attending the University of Colorado, where he majored in English. There he took his B.A. degree in 1949 and his M.A. in 1950. After completing his M.A. he moved to the University of Illinois to study for the Ph.D. in English. At Illinois he served as a teaching assistant from 1950 to 1956 while pursuing his doctoral studies in English. His dissertation, a study of the Victorian diarist and poet William Allingham, was completed under the direction of the noted Victorian scholar Gordon N. Ray.

In 1956 Ron accepted an appointment as assistant professor at the University of Southern California. In 1961 he was promoted to the rank of associate professor and to the chairmanship of the composition program at USC. In this capacity he gained national attention in a field just emerging as an independent area of English studies. As a result of his success with the USC program Ron was called to UCLA in 1966 by the then Chairman of the Department of English, Bradford A. Booth, to become the first head of freshman English at UCLA.

Prior to Ron's arrival, the composition program at UCLA had been directed on a rotating basis by junior faculty members serving two-year terms. Freeman's appointment signalled a new emphasis on the importance of composition, not only in the Department of English, but as a service for the university as a whole. Ron directed the program with great distinction for nine years, while also offering courses in composition and teacher training as well as courses in his special field of Victorian literature. Hundreds of graduate students in the UCLA English program served their teaching and composition apprenticeships under his sure direction. He is remembered by them for the comprehensiveness of his program and for

the reliability and clarity of his guidelines. A staunch traditionalist in the philosophy of composition who grounded his program in the study of rhetoric, Ron was also a consummate professional. By virtue of his leadership and organization, he left a permanent imprint on the composition program at UCLA.

During the period of his directorship of the UCLA composition program Ron served as national chairman of the Conference on College Composition and Communication, and he played a leading role in the work of the National Council of Teachers of English. He was also a co-author (with Robert Gorell and Charlton Laird) of a widely used textbook on composition. He was a frequent member and sometime chairman of the Subject A committee on both the campus and statewide levels. He also served for many years as liaison with the junior colleges and on numerous departmental and university committees where he could always be counted on to uphold the highest of standards.

Although Ron's primary duties at UCLA from 1966 to 1975 revolved around his headship of the composition program, he also continued to pursue his interest in the study of Victorian literature. Shortly after completing his Ph.D. he co-edited (with Paul Landis) a volume of the letters of Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning to George Barrett, and at his death he was working on an edition of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's letters to the Victorian critic, R. H. Horne. He had for many years been the compiler of the annual bibliography for the journal Studies in Browning. For 20 years he was also the leading bibliographer of Victorian literature, having been a contributor from his USC days to the “Victorian Bibliography” which appears annually in the journal Victorian Studies. In 1966 he succeeded to the editorship of the bibliography, and for the next 10 years he presided over an ever-expanding listing of books, articles, and reviews of the year's work in Victorian literature. In 1981 he published the 10 years' compilation as Bibliographies of Studies in Victorian Literature, 1965-1974, a volume that is now a standard reference work in the field.

As a Victorian scholar Ron was also active for many years in the Modern Language Association and served as the Chairman of the Victorian section of that organization and as frequent member of its executive committee. A regular convention-goer for more than two decades, he was an engaging and popular figure at the annual Victorian Luncheon at the MLS, an event he not infrequently organized. Whether officially serving as luncheon chairman or not, his arrival was always a sign that the revels were now about to begin.

Ron's capacity for friendship was equally pronounced among many of his departmental and professional colleagues. Those who enjoyed his fellowship and hospitality will long remember how greatly he delighted in entertaining others in a gracious setting. They take some comfort from the

fact that for him the end came in his favorite private retreat, the haunting stretches of the southern desert where he regularly went for reflection and spiritual refreshment. Fittingly, his ashes were scattered in the desert at Joshua Tree National Monument.

Ron leaves his mother, Mrs. Lee Ernst of Cincinnati, a half-sister, Marilyn, his three children, Victoria (Mrs. B. Melekian), Alan, and Jeremy, and three grandchildren. He leaves a host of students and friends who will always remember him with deep affection.

D.G. Calder T.R. Wortham G. Tennyson