Edgar Marquess Branch, 93, Miami University research professor of English emeritus and associate in American literature, died Monday, Aug. 14, at his home in Oxford.
Branch joined the Miami faculty in 1941, serving for 37 years until his retirement in 1978. From 1959-1964 he was chair of the English department. As chair, he helped lay the foundation for the department's future accreditation for doctoral instruction. Branch was a founder and first president of the Miami University Friends of the Library.
He was the author or editor of 15 books and scores of articles, most of them dealing with the life and writings of two mid-western authors: Mark Twain and the Chicago realist James T. Farrell.
Among many awards, Branch received the Mark Twain Circle of America's Lifetime Achievement Award in 1992; a MidAmerica Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Study of Midwestern Literature from the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature in 1994; and the first Modern Language Association Prize for a Distinguished Scholarly Edition in 1995 (Mark Twain's Roughing It).
Branch's contributions to Miami's undergraduate and graduate programs are remembered in a Bachelor Hall seminar room dedicated to him, and in the Weigel-Branch Scholar-Leader Study in Elliott Hall. He was also honored with Miami's Benjamin Harrison medallion in 1978.
He is survived by his wife, Mary Jo, of Oxford; daughters Sydney (Gerald) Daly of Chatsworth, Ga. and Marian (Scott) Williams of Shaker Heights; and grandchildren Jeffery Diez and Robert, Olivia and Laura Williams. A private family service will be held.
Donations may be made to the Miami University Friends of the Library.