H. J. Sachs

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Hyman Jacob  "Tony" Sachs

(English professor and author)


Born 1904
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Died November 13, 1983
Shreveport, Louisiana, USA
Religion Judaism

Hyman Jacob "Tony" Sachs (1904 – November 13, 1983) was a Jewish-American professor of English at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, Louisiana, from  September 1929 until his retirement in May 1972.

A native of Chicago, Illinois, Sachs received both a Bachelor of Philosophy and a Master of Arts, Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Chicago. He came to Ruston at the age of twenty-five, having previously not left the city limits of Chicago. At the time Louisiana Tech president George William Bond (1891-1974), also a graduate of the University of Chicago, was seeking a faculty member to come to the Deep South to "make a difference."[1]

Sachs remained at Louisiana Tech for forty-three years. In 1938, he earned his Ph.D. from George Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee, at which he wrote his dissertation on the teaching of vocabulary.[1] He headed the English Department from 1954 to 1969, when he was required to step down from the administrative position upon reaching the then mandatory retirement age of sixty-five. As the department chairman, he sought to guarantee academic freedom for the twenty-five professors on his faculty, sixteen of whom had terminal degrees. He made sure that each professor could teach at least one section in a favorite subject each semester. Known for his powerful lectures, Sachs taught all English courses but specialized in Shakespeare and the American novel. He also served on the college's athletic committee for thirty years and was dedicated to the Tech sports programs.[2]

Sachs' publications included the anthology Readings for College Writers (1962),[3] A Workbook for Writers, 5,000 Useful Words, and Practical English Workbook. Often invited to deliver public lectures, Sachs addressed controversial topics, such as war and race relations. Upon his retirement, Sachs spent his final years in Shreveport, where he died on November 13, 1983.

In 2014, Sachs was posthumously honored with the dedication of the upper division English classroom in his honor. Among speakers at the ceremony was Judge James L. Dennis of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans. There is also the Hyman J. Sachs Endowed Professorship at Louisiana Tech.[2] Professor Patrick Posey Garrett (born 1939), who held the Sachs endowed professorship in 2014, said of his mentor:

Dr. Sachs cracked our provincialism and encouraged us to inquire beyond our little worlds. He was what we needed, still need: an outside light to shine in our darkness. What a difference he made with so many.”[2]

Louisiana State University in Shreveport offers the H. J. Sachs Scholarship to majors in English or English education.[4] 

Sachs had a surviving daughter, Elizabeth Blythe Sachs Piker (born 1941), formerly Elizabeth Stone, who lived in Kenner in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, at the time of her father's death.[5] She relocated in 2011 to Walhalla in Oconee County, South Carolina.[6]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Dedication of the H. J. “Tony” Sachs English Seminar Room, George T. Madison Hall 223. Louisiana Tech University (November 1, 2014). Retrieved on September 27, 2017.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Louisiana Tech to honor professor. The Shreveport Times (October 28, 2014). Retrieved on September 27, 2017.
  3. H. J. Sachs, John Milstead, Harry M. Brown, Readings for College Writers, New York City: Ronald Press Company, 1962, 614 pp.
  4. H. J. Sachs English Scholarship. Lsus.academicworks.com. Retrieved on September 27, 2017.
  5. Elizabeth Piker. Mylife.com. Retrieved on September 27, 2017.
  6. Condolences for Billy Ray Wiggins. Tributes.com (April 9, 2015). Retrieved on September 27, 2017.