Sven Eric Molin

This post is to remember my father, Sven Eric Molin, who died when he was 57 and I was 15. I’ve begun gathering here all the stuff I can find online, first by simply searching “Sven Eric Molin.” Brother Pete shared the wonderful obit of our dad, lovingly crafted by his college roommate and lifelong friend Alden Vaughan.


Sven Eric Molin ’50

Sven Eric MolinSven Eric Molin died November 5, 1987, after a life-long struggle with diabetes. Amherst friends who knew Eric well may recall his daily insulin injections and occasional seizures. In recent years diabetes had affected his eyesight and circulation; he had endured several operations. Through it all his mind stayed as sharp as his wit, and to the end he remained a dedicated teacher and scholar.

Eric (“Tink” in those days) came to Amherst from Rochester, N.Y., and subsequently from Wilmington, Del., where his parents moved when he was in college. At Amherst, he was an avid student of English literature and a fund of knowledge on all kinds of music. (I still see Eric deep in conversation with Lionel Hampton in the Thete Delt bar while Hamp’s band, weary from playing the Senior Prom, waits impatiently for post-concert libations.) Eric was active in the college band, college radio station, and Thete Delta Chi fraternity, which he served with uncommon intelligence and diligence.

After Amherst, Eric earned an M.A. at Columbia Univ. and a Ph.D. at the Univ. of Pennsylvania. He taught briefly at Ohio Univ. and for many years at Randolph-Macon Women’s College before joining the English department at George Mason Univ. in 1971. At various times in his career he held temporary positions at Columbia, C.W. Post, and the City University of New York. He was also a Fulbright lecturer in Finland and a research fellow in Ireland. Besides his teaching and administrative responsibilities at George Mason, Eric served for the past several years as his university’s representative to the Folger Library’s Institute for Renaissance and Eighteenth Century Studies.

Eric was devoted to both the institutional and the intellectual aspects of academic life. His students valued him as a stimulating and dedicated teacher; his colleagues cherished his wise counsel and deep commitment to quality education. At George Mason he was, at various times, a member of the University Senate, the Graduate Council, and the European Studies Committee, and he coordinated the Freshman Writing Program; he was also active in the American Association of University Professors. With equal dedication, Eric contributed to literary scholarship. To his fellow specialists in literature, he was an authority on eighteenth-century fiction and drama and the author of important journal articles, co-author of Drama: The Major Genres (Dodd, Mead, 1962), and co-author of a work-in-progress on the early nineteenth-century American theatrical entrepreneur, Dion Boucicault. Eric pursued his intellectual interests with fervor and energy until the end: a week before his death, he read a paper to the annual conference of the American Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies.

It was my privilege to know Eric even better in recent years than when we roomed together in the 1940s. Time had dimmed none of his puckish humor or his affection for music or his passionate commitment to a variety of causes. On my frequent visits to Washington, we reminisced about old times, caught up on university gossip, and shared our current professional and personal enthusiasms. We had abundant opportunities to do all those things in the summer of 1985, when my wife and I moved into Eric’s house in Arlington, Va., for nearly two months; he was there much of the time, between trips to Ireland, Rochester, and elsewhere. The three of us (and our dog) formed an unconventional but very congenial family. I shall sorely miss Eric, as will legions of his friends, colleagues, and students.

Eric was married twice and had five sons, two of whom graduated from Amherst: Karl Teo (Ted) Molin II, ’78, and Franklin Bache Molin, ’86. Contributions in memory of Sven Eric Molin can be made to the George Mason University Foundation and to the Diabetes Association.

— Alden T. Vaughan


November 7, 1987

Sven Eric Molin, 58, a professor of English literature at George Mason University since 1973, died Nov. 4 at his home in Arlington of the complications of diabetes.Dr. Molin was born in Rochester, N.Y. He graduated from Amherst College and earned a master’s degree in English from Columbia University and a doctorate in English from the University of Pennsylvania. He was a professor at Ohio University and at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Virginia before moving to the Washington area about 14 years ago.

Dr. Molin was a member of the American Society of 18th Century Studies and had represented George Mason University on the executive committee of the Folger Institute.

His marriages to Ann Molin and Barbara Molin ended in divorce.

Survivors include four sons by his first marriage, Karl Teo Molin II of New York City, Army Lt. Peter Castle Molin of Fort Benning, Ga., and John Bickford Molin and Franklin Bache Molin, both of Arlington; one son by his second marriage, Jason Eric Molin of Washington; two half-brothers, John McCauley of Wilmington, Del., and Edward McCauley of Rochester, and one grandchild.

The Washington Post


1956 Ph.D. Graduate
Dissertation Advisor(s): Arthur Hawley (Joe) Scouten
“John Wesley’s Techniques in Revising Literary Masterpieces for His Methodist Audience”


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I'm j and I play: musician, web guy, family man.

3 thoughts on “Sven Eric Molin”

  1. Hi Jason,

    The English Dept at GMU regularly puts out books that are no longer being used on a cart for students to take for free. I picked up a copy of “Prayer in Sixteenth-century England” by Faye L. Kelly and inside was an invoice from 1976 showing that this book and a few others were shipped to your father, S. Eric Molin. So I presume that this book belonged to him, though there is no writing in the book and it’s in perfect condition other than a bit of yellowing from age. I found your post because I was just curious as to who the professor was and put his name into a search engine. Would you like the book and invoice? If so, I’m happy to send them to you.
    Best wishes,

  2. Just realized, there’s a hand-written note on the invoice from your father to a colleague, so perhaps this book was for her, instead. Would be happy to send them to you, all the same, if you wish.



  3. This is the first pic I’ve seen of Eric in a long time. So great. He was an awesome person. We had many great conversations.

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