Ruth J. Dean, an international expert in Anglo-Norman literature, graduated from Wellesley College in 1922. Subsequently, she attended St. Hugh’s College at Oxford University, where she received her M.A. and Ph.D. Dean joined the faculty of Mount Holyoke College, where she served as a French language and literature professor until her retirement in 1967. She chaired her department from 1951 to 1954 and was named the Mary Lyon Professor in 1967.
After her retirement, Dean taught at the University of Pennsylvania, where she chaired the medieval studies program. She was elected president of the Medieval Academy of America in 1973, due to her expertise in medieval literature. She established the legitimacy of Anglo-Norman literature, and her definitive work, Anglo-Norman Literature: A Guide to Texts and Manuscripts (1999) has won awards for its contribution to the study of literature.
Dean remained involved with Mount Holyoke College through the Ruth Dean Lecture Series. The series, established by contributions from Dean’s colleagues and former students, continues to bring renowned medievalists to Mount Holyoke.
Ruth J. Dean died in 2003. She was 100 years old.
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