North American Scholar

MACURDY, Grace Harriet

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1866-09-12
  • Born City: Robbinston
  • Born State/Country: ME
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1946-10-23
  • Death City: Poughkeepsie
  • Death State/Country: NY
  • Education:

    B.A. Radcliffe, 1888; study at Berlin, 1899-1900; Ph.D. Columbia, 1903.

  • Professional Experience:

    Tchr. Cambridge School for Girls; asst. prof, to prof, class. Vassar, 1893-37.

  • Dissertation:

    "The Chronology of the Extant Plays of Euripides" (Columbia, 1903); printed (Lancaster, PA, 1905).

  • Publications:

    "The Derivation and Significance of the Greek Word for 'Cock'," CP 13 (1918) 310-1; Troy and Paeonia with Glimpses of Ancient Balkan History and Religion (New York, 1925); "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; "The Political Activities and the Name of Cratesipolis," AJP 50 (1929) 273-8; "The Name UoaeiSaup and Other Names Ending in -aov in the Iliad," AJP 51 (1930) 286-8; Hellenistic Queens: A Study of Woman Power in Macedonia, Seleucid Syria, and Ptolemaic Egypt (Baltimore, 1932); "The Grammar of Drinking Healths," AJP 53 (1932) 168-71; "Roxane and Alexander IV," JHS 52 (1932) 256-61; "Julia Berenice," AJP 56 (1935) 246-53; Vassal Queens and Some Contemporary Women in the Roman Empire (Baltimore, 1937); The Quality of Mercy: The Gentler Virtues in Greek Literature (New Haven, 1940); "Apollodorus and the Speech Against Neaera (Pseudo-Dem. LIX)," AJP 63 (1942) 257-71; "The Dawn Songs in Rhesus (527-556) and in the Parodos of Phaethon" AJP 64 (1943) 408-16; "Had the Danaid Trilogy a Social Problem?," CP 39 (1944) 95-100.

  • Notes:

    Grace Macurdy 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:

    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.

    [See now †Barbara McManus, The Drunken Duchess of Vassar: Grace Harriet Macurdy, Pioneering Feminist Classical Scholar (Columbus, OH: The Ohio State University Press, 2017)]

  • Author: Sarah B. Pomeroy