NEW GLOUCESTER – Harvard Vaughan Knowles was born on March 11, 1935 in Newport, Maine. He was one of seven children to Elbert and Bertie Knowles.In 1954, he graduated from Skowhegan High School in Skowhegan He then attended Tufts University at Medford, Mass. where he graduated in 1958 with a BA in English.
From 1958 to 1960, he served as a clerk in the United States Army at Fort Gordon, Augusta, Ga. From 1962 to 1974, he taught English and was the Department Chair at Loomis-Chaffee School in Windsor, Conn. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he found the time for graduate school and received a MA in English from Duke University in Durham, N.C., in 1968.His passion was Shakespeare and he focused his thesis on analyzing his plays. In 1974, he joined Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, N.H., where he was an instructor and Department Chair as the Thomas S. and Elinor B. Lamont Professor of English. Among many other awards, he was the recipient of the Brown Teaching Award, Phillips Exeter Academy (1993), The Teaching Award, Harvard Club of Boston (1995), Outstanding Teacher Award, United States Department of Education (1999) and the Klingenstein Fellow at Columbia University (1978-1979). Some of his favorite works of literature he enjoyed teaching was Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls and Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.
During retirement, he taught several summer programs on Moby Dick for Phillips Exeter Academy faculty and alumni/ae. He also traveled widely in the United States, Europe and Africa. When asked if he was ever sad that he never had children, he responded, “But I have had children. Thousands of them. And all from my classroom.”He died peacefully in his sleep on March 24, 2022.He is survived by his sister Marlene Dubay, several nieces and nephews, and thousands of wonderful students.