Title: University professor, author
Birthdate: September 3, 1858
Death Date: December 15, 1945
Plot Location: Section 111, Lot 99

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Felix Schelling’s mother, Rose, was born in England and his father came from Switzerland. He too was named Felix, a music teacher, and they were married in Kentucky four years before Felix was born in Indiana. Sister Julia (1860-1950) also became a music teacher. Another sister, Cecilia, lived only from 1862-1869 and was the first to be buried at Mount Moriah. The last child, Ernest, was born in 1876.

By then the family had been living about 10 years in Philadelphia and the three children all became excellent piano students. Felix performed publicly on occasion but his initial ambition was to become an attorney. He earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1881 after just three years, followed by a law degree in 1883. 

He was practicing law while getting his Master’s in 1885. In March of 1886 he got a marriage license and promptly wed Caroline Derbyshire. She was a Philadelphia girl but, coincidentally, had also been born in Indiana, two years after Felix.

Later that year he changed careers to become a lifelong academic. Felix returned to the university as an instructor in English, then as an assistant professor. 

Caroline gave birth to two children, Dorothea Derbyshire Schelling (1890-1945) and Felix Derbyshire Schelling (1895-1966). Felix’s mother died in 1893 and joined her daughter at Mount Moriah. That was also the year Felix became a full-fledged professor. The position was known as the John Welsh Centennial Professor of English Literature. That title was renamed in 1930 as the Felix E. Schelling Professorship of English Literature and is still given today. At the time of his retirement, after serving as a faculty member for 48 years, he was considered the “Father of the English Department.” 

Felix earned his PhD. from Franklin and Marshall College in 1898 and would later receive the honorary Litt.D. and LL.D. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. During his tenure he wrote or edited over 30 books on Elizabethan literature and Shakespeare, taking numerous sabbaticals to do research in England. His 1914 expedition is reported below. When he was not overseas he chaired the committee on doctoral dissertations in the English department.

Trips to Europe were a regular occurrence for the entire Schelling family. Felix’s father submitted several passport applications for his travels in the 1860s and 1870s. Both of Felix’s children took their spouses on trips overseas. Daughter Julia, a music teacher at a private girls’ school, visited France more than once, helping to start a summer school of music at the Fontainebleau outside Paris after World War I. 

Topping all of Felix’s trips across the pond was his brother, the child prodigy. Ernest played Mozart at age 4, studied in Paris at age 8, and was tutored by pianist Ignace Paderewski, later owning a villa next door to him at Lake Geneva, Switzerland. He was conductor of the Baltimore Philharmonic but was best known for leading the New York Philharmonic’s Young Peoples’ Concerts for 16 years, carried on a nationwide radio network.

Felix lost his wife to cancer in 1935 just one year after retiring. When he was almost 81 he married Gertrude Bueb, age 48, of Mt. Vernon, New York. After his death in 1945 his children added his name to the bottom of this stone. 

Coincidentally, one child married a college professor and another was an artist. Daughter Dorothea’s husband taught at Yale. Son Felix worked as a professional painter but lost his wife when he was 40. Six months later he remarried but she left him for someone else, so he moved in with his father and Gertrude. Dorothea died in Maine the same year as her father, and Felix died in Massachusetts in 1966.

Japanese maple tree in front of a monument at Mount Moriah Cemetery

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