The Rev. Msgr. James Marshall Campbell, 81, retired dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Catholic University, died Friday at St. Joseph's Home of the Little Sisters of the Poor in Washington.

He had lived there since his retirement in 1966.

Born in Warsaw, N.Y., Msgr. Campbell was a classicist. He studied Greek at Hamilton College in New York, where he graduated, and at Princeton University.

He received a master's degree in Greek from Catholic University in 1920, and then graduated from Sulpician Seminary, now Theological College, at Catholic University. He was ordained in 1926.

While he was a seminarian, Msgr. Campbell was an instructor in Greek and Latin at Catholic University. He was named an associate professor in 1927 and professor in 1932.

He became dean of the undergraduate college in 1934 when it was organized within the university.

Msgr. Campbell also had been director of the Catholic University Pacific Coast branch in San Rafael, Calif., and was an associate editor of Patristic Studies. He was the author of four books and numerous articles.

He was a member of the American Philological Association and the Medieval Academy of America.

He is survived by three sisters, Mary Campbell, Mrs. Mark Tillotson and Charlotte Kemp, all of Warsaw, N.Y.