John Percival Postgate

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John Percival Postgate
J P Postgate.jpg
Born John Percival Postgate
October 24, 1853
Birmingham, England, United Kingdom
Died July 15, 1926(1926-07-15) (aged 72)
Birmingham, England, United Kingdom
Alma mater University of Liverpool
Occupation Professor, scholar
Spouse(s) Edith Allen
Children Raymond Postgate (son)
Margaret Cole (daughter)
Parent(s) John Postgate
Relatives Oliver Postgate (grandson)
Family Postgate family
An American edition of "The New Latin Primer"

John Percival Postgate (24 October 1853 – 15 July 1926) was an English classicist, professor of Latin at the University of Liverpool from 1909 to 1920. He was a member of the Postgate family.

Born in Birmingham, the son of John Postgate, he was educated at King Edward's School where he became head boy. He won a scholarship to Trinity College, Cambridge where he read classics, being elected a Fellow in 1878.[1]

He established himself as a creative editor of Latin poetry with published editions of Propertius, Lucan, Tibullus and Phaedrus. His major work was the two-volume Corpus Poetarum Latinorum, a triumph of editorial organisation. An influential work was his often reprinted "The New Latin Primer", 1888, much used in British schools over subsequent decades. While at Cambridge, he edited the Classical Review and the Classical Quarterly while holding the chair of comparative philology at University College, London. In 1909, reconciled that the Cambridge Chair would go to A.E. Housman, as it did in 1911, Postgate opted to become Professor of Latin at Liverpool.

He retired to Cambridge in 1920. On 14 July 1926 he was injured in a cycling accident and died of his injuries the following day.


He married his graduate student Edith Allen[2] and they had six children among whom were Raymond Postgate (a journalist, historian, novelist and food writer), and Margaret Cole (a Fabian politician); he was grandfather to the animator and puppeteer Oliver Postgate.


  1. ^ "Postgate, John Percival (PSTT872JP)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  2. ^ A Stomach for Dissent, The Life of Raymond Postgate. United Kingdom: Keele University Press. 1994. pp. 13–36. ISBN 1 85331 084 0. 

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