All Scholars

MACURDY, Grace Harriet

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  • Date of Birth: September 12, 1866
  • Born City: Robbinston
  • Born State/Country: ME
  • Parents: Angus, a freelance carpenter, & Rebecca Manning Thomson McCurdy (subsequently Macurdy)
  • Date of Death: October 23, 1946
  • Death City: Poughkeepsie
  • Death State/Country: NY
  • Education:

    A.B., Harvard Annex (retroactive B.A. Radcliffe 18894); graduate study at Harvard Annex,study at Berlin, 1899-1900; Ph.D. Columbia, 1903; Women's Educational Association of Boston Fellowship (Berlin), 1899-1900.

  • Dissertation:

    "The Chronology of the Extant Plays of Euripides" (Columbia, 1903); printed (Lancaster, PA: New Era Printing co., 1905; repr. New York: Haskell House, 1966).

  • Professional Experience:

    Tchr. Cambridge School for Girls, 1888-93; asst. prof, to prof, class. Vassar, 1893-37; associate, Radcliffe, 1896-9.

  • Publications:

    “The Heraclidae of Euripides. Has Our Text of This Play Been Mutilated or Revised?” CQ1 (1907) 299-303; “Alcibiades: a Study of a Greek Statesman from the Pages of His Contemporaries.” CW 2 (1909) 138-40, 145-8; “The Simple Past Condition with Potential Indicative in Apodosis.” CP 4 (1909) 313-15; “The Classical Element in Gray’s Poetry.” CW 4 (1909) 58-62; “The Fifth Book of Thucydides and Three Plays of Euripides.” CR 24 (1910) 205-7; “Traces of the Influence of Plato’s Eschatological Myths in Parts of the Book of Revelation and the Book of Enoch,” TAPA 41 (1910) 65-70; “Virgil’s Use of Märchen from the Odyssey,” in Studies in English and Comparative Literature by Former and Present Students at Radcliffe College, Presented to Agnes Irwin, Dean of Radcliffe College, 1894-1909, Radcliffe College Monographs 15, 3-X2. (Boston and London: Ginn, 1910) 3-12; “The Andromache and the Trachinians,” CR 25 (1911) 97-101; “A Note on the Vocative in Herodotus and in Homer,” CP 7 (1912) 77-8; “The Connection of Paean with Paeonia,” CR 26 (1912) 249-51; “The Origin of a Herodotean Tale in Connection with the Cult of the Spinning Goddess,” TAPA 43 (1912) 73-80; “Klodones, Mimallones and Dionysus Pseudanor,” CR 27 (1913) 191-2; “Rainbow, Sky, and Stars in the Iliad and the Odyssey: A Chorizontic Argument,” CQ 8 (1914) 212-15; “The Odunephata Pharmaka of Iliad V. 900, and Their Bearing on the Prehistoric Culture of Old Servia,” CQ 9 (1915) 67-71; “The Water Gods and Aeneas in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Books of the Iliad,” CR 29 (1915) 70-5; “The Wanderings of Dardanus and the Dardani,” TAPA 46 (1915) 119-28; “The Hyperboreans,” CR 30 (1916)180-3; “The Significance of the Myrmidons and Other Close Fighters in the Iliad,” CJ 12 (1917) 589-92; “The Passing of the Classics,” Educational Review 54 (1917) 439-50; “Sun Myths and Resurrection Myths,” JHS 37 (1917) 160-7; “The Derivation and Significance of the Greek Word for ‘Cock’,” CP 13 (1918) 310-11; “The Blackbird in Early Literature.” The Nation 108 (1919) 689-90; “Aleuas and Alea,” CQ 13 (1919) 170-1; “The Diaphragm and the Greek Ideal or the Treachery of Translations,” CP 14 (1919) 389-93; “The North Greek Affiliations of Certain Groups of Trojan Names.” JHS 39 (1919) 62-8; “The Meaning of Aphatein in a Spartan Inscription,” CR 34 (1920) 98-9; “The Hyperboreans Again, Abaris, and Helixoia,” CR 34 (1920) 137-41: “Hermes Chthonios as Eponym of the Skopadae” JHS 41 (1921) 179-82; “The Word ‘Sorex’ in C.I.L. I21988,1989,” JRS 11 (1921) 108-10; “The Horse-Taming Trojans,” CQ 17 (1923) 50-2; Troy and Paeonia, with Glimpses of Ancient Balkan History and Religion (New York: Columbia University Press, 1925); “Atreus and Agamemnon,” AJA 29 (1925) 32-3; “Blame of Women,” Vassar Quarterly 2 (1926) 190-8; “Hektor in Boeotia.” CQ 20 (1926) 179-80; “Queen Eurydice and the Evidence for Woman Power in Early Macedonia,” AJP 48 (1927) 201-14; “Basilinna and Basilissa, the Alleged Title of the ‘Queen Archon in Athens',” AJP 49 (1928) 276-82; “A Debt of Catullus to Euripides,” CW 21 (1928) 129-30; “The Defeated Contestant in Pindar,” CW 22 (1929) 208; “Homeric Names in -tor and Some Other Names of the Short Form Occurring in Homer,” CQ 23 (1929) 23-7; “The Political Activities and the Name of Cratesipolis,” AJP 50 (1929) 273-8; “The Name Poseidaon and Other Names Ending in -aon in the Iliad,” AJP 51 (1930) 286-8; “The Refusal of Callisthenes to Drink the Health of Alexander,” JHS 50 (1930) 294-7; “The Derivation of the Greek Word Paean,” Language 6 (1930) 297-303; Hellenistic Queens: Study of Woman-Power in Macedonia, Seleucid Syria, and Ptolemaic EgyptJohns Hopkins University Studies in Archaeology 14 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1932; repr. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1975; New York: AMS Press, 1977; Chicago: Ares, 1985); “The Grammar of Drinking Healths,” AJP 53 (1932) 168-71; “Lida Shaw King and Her Classical Work,” in Exercises Commemorative of Lida Shaw King, Dean of Pembroke 1905-1922 (Providence: Brown University Press, 1932) 7-14; “A Note on the Jewellery of Demetrius the Besieger,” AJA 36 (1932) 27-28; “Roxane and Alexander IV in Epirus,” JHS 52 (1932) 256-61; “Julia Berenice,” AJP 56 (1935) 246-53; “Iotape.” JRS 26 (1936) 40-42; “The Living Legacy of Greece and Rome,” with Ruth Mary Weeks, in A Correlated Curriculum, National Council of Teachers of English Monograph 5, comp. Ruth Mary Weeks (New York: Appleton-Century, 1936) 138-47; Vassal-Queens and Some Contemporary Women in the Roman Empire. Johns Hopkins University Studies in Archaeology 22 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1936; repr. Chicago: Ares, 1993); “Aeschylus, Agamemnon 1327 ff.” CR 52 (1938) 4-5; The Quality of Mercy: The Gentler Virtues in Greek Literature. Vassar College 75th Anniversary Publications (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1940); “Apollodorus and the Speech Against Neaera (Pseudo-Dem. LIX),” AJP 63 (1942) 257-71; “Platonic Orphism in the Testament of Abraham,” JBL 61 (1942) 213-26; “References to Thucydides, Son of Melesias, and to Pericles in Sophocles OT 863-910,” CP 37 (1942) 307-10; “Sophoclean Irony in Oedipus Tyrannus 219-21,” PQ 21 (1942) 244-7; “The Dawn Songs in Rhesus (527-56) and in the Parodos of Phaethon,”  AJP 64 (1943) 408-16; “Prologue to a Study of the Tragic Heroine.” CW 37 (1944) 239-40; “Had the Danaid Trilogy a Social Problem?,” CP 39 (1944) 95-100; “Blood and Tears in Antigone 526-30,” CP 41 (1946) 163-4.

  • Notes:

    Grace Macurdy's parents were Canadian but moved to Maine shortly before her birth. The family changed their name to Macurdy wen they moved to Watertown, MA, lest they be thought to beIrish. Encouraged by her uncle Duncan Thomson to pursue her education, she excelled at the Watertown High School and passed the entrance examinations for Harvard in 1884. Her teaching stint at the Cambridge school helped pay for the Harvard education of her brothers.  She was known as an author of works on royal women of the Hellenistic period and as a teacher at Vassar College for 44 years. In the year of her retirement, Henry Noble MacCracken, President of Vassar College, wrote in his annual report, "Her deep interest in the achievements of women and in their opportunities both for political and for social equality has led her studies of late into the history of Greek women. Her humor, her gaiety, and her eloquence combined with her rare learning to bring distinction to the classical studies that have made graduates of Vassar desired in every graduate school." Ms. Macurdy spent many summers traveling and doing research abroad, mostly in England. During World War II she played an active role in Greek and British war relief. In July 1946 Britain awarded her the King's Medal for Service in the Cause of Freedom.

  • Sources:

    Barbara McManus, The Drunken Duchess of Vassar: Grace Harriet Macurdy, Pioneering Feminist Classical Scholar (Columbus, OH: The Ohio State University Press, 2017); New York Herald Tribune (24 Oct. 1946); NYTimes (24 Oct. 1946) 27; Vassar Alumnae Magazine (1 Jan. 1936); biographical file and oral history tapes, Vassar College Library; her correspondence with Gilbert Murray, John Masefield, Jane Ellen Harrison, W. W. Tarn, and other scholars was given to the Bodleian and to the Vassar College Library.

  • Author: Sarah B. Pomeroy