Jeffrey Sammons
1936 - 2021
Sammons, Jeffrey
Jeffrey L. Sammons, Leavenworth Professor of German Literature Emeritus at Yale University, died February 15, 2021. He was born November 9, 1936 in Cleveland, Ohio and took his undergraduate and graduate degrees at Yale. He specialized in nineteenth-century German literature with a particular emphasis on the poet and political writer Heinrich Heine. He was director of the Yale Summer Language Institute 1980-84; chairman of the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures 1966-77 and 1988-91; Guggenheim Fellow 1972-73; American Council of Learned Societies Fellow, 1977-78; Humphrey Fellow, Ben Gurion University, Israel, 1990; Jantz Memorial Lecturer, Oberlin College, 1994; and Craig Distinguished Visiting Professor of German, Rutgers University, 2003. He was the author of sixteen books and numerous other publications. He was a fellow of Silliman College for many years and a member of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is survived by his beloved wife of 53 years, Dr. Christa Sammons; a daughter Rebecca Serabrini of Seattle; and sons Fr. Charles Sammons OFM-Cap., of White Plains, NY, Harold Sammons (Selene Chen) of San Francisco and Dr. Benjamin Sammons (Anna Pervukhin) of Eugene, OR and grandchildren Isaac ("Misha"), David, Lydia ("Lio") and Clara.
Private services are being arranged by the Hawley Lincoln Memorial, 424 Elm St., New Haven.
Published by The New Haven Register on Feb. 15, 2021.
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10 Entries
I was a student of Professor Sammons during academic year 1960-61 in an intermediate German class. It was my favorite class as an undergraduate: he was tough but fair, and always made the subject interesting. Just today [6 May 2021] I learned of his death, which saddens me greatly. I offer his loved ones sincere condolences. I remembers his telling us that he hoped to study chemistry, but his experience in a basic class at Yale steered him to German. That was fortunate for us all, as he has left an indelible contribution to German teaching and scholarship. Wohlgethan überlebt den Tod.
John Hunsaker III
May 6, 2021
Jeffrey Sammons generously shared his insights and his support for fellow scholars. His two books on Wilhelm Raabe redefined our knowledge of that writer's life and work. I shall miss having him to turn to.
Michael Ritterson
March 12, 2021
In Memory of Jeffrey Sammons (died February 15th, 2021)

Never ever I‘ll forget him,
a good friend and learned scholar. –

In twenty ou and eight a tour
of conference attendees took
from Vienna off to Znaim by bus,
a pleasant summer-ride for us.

Then looking into Thaja‘s canyon
below the sky’s bluest color,
when Jeff broke suddenly the silence
and mourned the loss of many notions,
his course of life‘s forlorn proportions
with its so precious mental center. –

Alexander Ritter (born February 15th, 1939)
Alexander Ritter
February 27, 2021
The Swiss friends of the writer Charles Sealsfield, who died in Solothurn, extend their warmest condolences to the family of the late Professor Sammons, a great Sealsfield expert. We remember with gratitude his great expertise, his kind modesty, and his generosity.
Verena Bider, former director of the Solothurn Central Library
Verena Bider
February 24, 2021
Jeffrey was an outstanding scholar and an important mentor. I will miss him greatly.
Jerry Schuchalter
February 24, 2021
Before I ever met Jeffrey Sammons in person, he was a much admired role model for me. After I got to know him, he became a beloved colleague and friend; even a kind of surrogate grandfather for my little daughter when we spent a semester in Yale. I remember all the conferences where we met, both in the US and in Europa; I remember the times we spent in the house on Highland Street, I remember a 4th of July we celebrated together, I remember Jeff staying with us in Vienna.
Christa, we think a lot of you! And Jeffrey will always have a very special place in our hearts.
Wynfrid Kriegleder
February 23, 2021
Knowledgeable, approachable, friendly...I still remember Jeffrey as his student and as a consummate educator.
Simon Rich
February 22, 2021
Thank you for your entries and kind words
Charles Sammons
February 21, 2021
Very sorry to hear of Jeffrey's passing. Blessings to Christa and the children.
Gaffney Feskoe
February 17, 2021
As an undergraduate, I read Jeffrey Sammons's book on Bonaventura's Nachtwachen. It was one of the reasons why I decided to attend Yale Graduate School. I was in the Comparative Literature Department, but I audited Jeff's classes on Bildungsroman and the Sociology of Literature in the early 1970s. I also appreciated his entertaining instructions on how to apply for an academic job. Later, I of course read and re-read his wonderful biography of Heine. As a former student and then colleague in the German Department, I am deeply saddened to hear the news of his death.
Lorna Martens
February 17, 2021
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