North American Scholar

DUCKETT, Eleanor Shipley

  • Image
  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1880-11-07
  • Born City: Highbridge
  • Born State/Country: Somerset
  • Parents: Arthur, mngr. of Westminster Bank, Frome, & Fannie Louise Shipley Gay D.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1976-11-26
  • Death City: Northampton
  • Death State/Country: MA
  • Education:

    B.A. U. London, 1902; M.A., 1904; study at St. Mary's Coll. (Paddington), 1905-6; London Dipl. Pedagogy, 1906; study at Cambridge (Girton Coll.), 1908-11; Class, trip. pt. 1, CI. II. div. 1, 1911; Ph.D. Bryn Mawr, 1914; D.Litt. U. London, 1920; M.A. (hon.) Cambridge, 1926; LL.D., 1952.

  • Professional Experience:

    Class, mistr. Sutton HS (Surrey), 1906-8; instr. class. Western Coll. for Women (Oxford, OH), 1914-6; instr. to prof. Lat. Smith Coll., 1916-49; John M. Greene Foundation prof. Lat. 1945-9; Ottilie Hancock res. fell. Girton Coll., 1926-8.

  • Dissertation:

    “Studies in Ennius” (Bryn Mawr, 1914); printed Bryn Mawr Coll. Monogr. 18 (Bryn Mawr, 1915).

  • Publications:

    Hellenistic Influence on the Aeneid, Smith Coll. Class. Stud. 1 (Northampton, MA, 1920); Catullus in English Poetry (Northampton, MA, 1925); Latin Writers of the Fifth Century (New York, 1930); The Gateway to the Middle Ages (New York, 1938); The Book of Hugh and Nancy, with Eric Milner-White (New York, 1938); Anglo-Saxon Saints and Scholars (New York, 1947); Alcuin, Friend of Charlemagne (London, 1952); St. Dunstan of Canterbury; A Study of Monastic Reform in the Tenth Century (New York, 1955); Alfred the Great (Chicago, 1956); The Wandering Saints of the Early Middle Ages (New York, 1959); Carolingian Portraits (New York, 1962); Death and Life in the Tenth Century (Ann Arbor, 1967); Medieval Portraits from East and West (Ann Arbor, 1972).

  • Notes:

    Eleanor Shipley Duckett, one of the first women to receive a degree from Cambridge University, was for twenty-one years professor of classical languages and literatures at Smith College and wrote many scholarly works on Latin poets of the archaic, classical, medieval, and Renaissance periods and on Anglo-Saxon scholars and historical figures. After taking her B.A. in English, she took her M.A. in Greek and Latin. She did honors work at Girton College, which would give her an honorary degree in 1952. She first came to the United States in 1912, when she became Fellow in Latin during 1912-3 at Bryn Mawr, where she received her Ph.D. Duckett began her illustrious teaching career in 1905 as classical mistress at Sutton High School, Surrey. According to Time, her “Latin 28 was one of Smith's most uncut classes.” She retired as John M. Greene Professor of Classics. She was remembered by the students for her ability to translate into Latin virtually any piece of English writing or oratory, modern or historical. While at Smith she also contributed much to the development of the honors curriculum, which encourages individual student inquiry and research. She regularly returned to Cambridge after 1945 with her close friend Mary Ellen Chase, professor of English at Smith and novelist. A devout Anglican, she enjoyed detective novels, gardens, and cigarette smoking.

  • Sources:

    ConAu 69:195; Girton College Register 1869-1946 (Cambridge, Eng., 1948) 680-1; “Goodbye Messrs. Chips” Time (4 July 1949) 40; NYTimes (30 Nov. 1976) 42; Times (London) (8 Dec. 1976) 19.

  • Author: Catherine J. Castner