British classicist Eric A. Havelock, chair of the classics department at Yale University, lectured on "Was Socrates Literate: Could He Read and Write?"  His Preface to Plato (1963), challenging previous interpretations of the basic literacies of Plato’s time, was both greatly influential and controversial.  His talk at Vassar previewed his Prologue to Greek Literacy (1971), which was itself a prologue to The Literate Revolution in Greece and its Cultural Consequences, which appeared from the Princeton University Press in 1981.

Professor Havelock married the Vassar art historian Christine Mitchell in 1962, and after his retirement in 1973 he made his home in Poughkeepsie.