Nicolson, Marjorie Hope, 1894-1981

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Educator;interviewee d.1981.

From the description of Reminiscences of Marjorie Hope Nicolson : oral history, 1975. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 309741241

Smith College Professor, English, 1926-1941; Columbia University Professor, English, 1941-1962. University of Michigan, A.B., 1914; M.A., 1918. Yale University, Ph. D., 1920. Died Mar. 9, 1981.

From the description of Marjorie Hope Nicolson papers, 1892-1981. (Smith College). WorldCat record id: 51249120

The brilliant scholar and author, Marjorie Hope Nicolson was born on February 18, 1894 in Yonkers, New York. She went on to study and teach at some of the United States' most prestigious institutions before returning to New York City, where she died at the age of 87, on March 9, 1981.

From an early age, Nicolson was committed to a life of hard work and learning, due to her Calvinist principles and work ethic. She first began to teach high school students in 1914, while working in Saginaw, Michigan and later Detroit. Her love of teaching lead her to receive her both her B.A. with Phi Beta honors in 1914 and her M.A. in 1918, from the University of Michigan. She continued her pursuit of higher education with her Ph.D. from Yale in 1920. At Yale, she was the first woman to receive the John Addison Porter prize. Marjorie Nicolson taught first at the University of Michigan and was granted an assistant professorship before continuing her graduate study at Johns Hopkins College from 1923-1926. While at Johns Hopkins, Nicolson continued to teach at Goucher College. In 1926, she left for England to study as one of the early Guggenheim fellows.

After her studies in Europe, Marjorie Nicolson returned to the United States to continue her research and to teach at Smith College. She was first an associate professor from 1926-1929, before becoming a professor of English literature and Dean from 1929 until 1941. During her time at Smith College, Nicolson was a strong ally of President Neilson and defender of women's right to have a real academic education. She left Smith College for Columbia, in order to become the first woman to hold a full professorship at a prestigious graduate school. She became the chair of the English and Comparative literature department. Nicolson, or Miss Nicky,as she was intimately know by a few special students, became a much admired professor and scholar, who inspired many doctoral candidates while at Columbia. She was awarded the Columbia Bicentennial Silver Medallion in 1954. She left Columbia in 1962 as the Peter Field Trent Professor Emeritus, but still did not retire from the academic arena.

In 1963, she spent one year as the Francis Bacon chair at Claremont Graduate school. Following this year, she traveled to Princeton where she became the visiting scholar at the National Institute for Advanced Study. Throughout her busy career in academia, Marjorie Nicolson found time to publish many short essays and books. She wrote throughout her life, and was awarded the British Academy Crawshay prize in 1947, for one of her early works, Newton Demands the Muse. She also wrote noted works like A World in the Moon, The Microscope and the English Imagination, and Voyages to the Moon.

Beyond even Nicolson's active life as a writer, she was also honored in her many other fields of interest. She became president of the Modern Language Society of America, an active and honored member of the American Philosophical Society, consulting editor of the publication the "American Scholar", and most importantly the first woman and the first person to serve multiple terms as the president of the National Phi Beta Kappa association. Before the end of Miss Nicky's prestigious career spanning over fifty years, she garnered accolades and honorary degrees from over 17 colleges.

From the guide to the Marjorie Hope Nicolson Papers RG 42., 1892-1981, (Smith College Archives)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn George Economou Papers, 1954-1996. Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
referencedIn E. E. Cummings papers, 1870-1969. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Nicolson, Marjorie Hope, 1894-1981. Reminiscences of Marjorie Hope Nicolson : oral history, 1975. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Economou, George. George Economou papers, 1954-1996. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf Lincoln, Eleanor Terry. Eleanor Terry Lincoln papers, ca. 1930-1994. Smith College, Neilson Library
creatorOf Marjorie Hope Nicolson Papers RG 42., 1892-1981 Smith College Archives
referencedIn Rare Book & Manuscript Library General Manuscript Collection, 1789-2013 Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
referencedIn Curtiss, Mina Kirstein, 1896-1985. Papers, 1913-1986 (bulk 1940-1985). Smith College, Neilson Library
creatorOf Curtiss, Mina Kirstein, 1896-1985. Mina Kirstein Curtiss papers, 1915-1978 (bulk 1918-1945). Smith College, Neilson Library
referencedIn Mina Kirstein Curtiss Papers RG 42., 1915-1978, 1918-1945 Smith College Archives
creatorOf Nicolson, Marjorie Hope, 1894-1981. Marjorie Hope Nicolson papers, 1892-1981. Smith College, Neilson Library
referencedIn Mina Kirstein Curtiss Papers MS 250., 1913-2005 Sophia Smith Collection
referencedIn John Mason Brown papers, 1922-1967. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Butcher, Philip, 1918-. Philip Butcher papers, ca.1890-1991. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Princeton University. Bicentennial Celebration Committees. Bicentennial Celebration records, 1944-1947. Princeton University Library
referencedIn William Empson papers, 1811-1996 (inclusive), 1911-1984 (bulk). Houghton Library.
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Brown, John Mason, 1900-1969 person
associatedWith Butcher, Philip, 1918- person
associatedWith Columbia University corporateBody
associatedWith Columbia University. Rare Book & Manuscript Library. corporateBody
associatedWith Cummings, E. E. (Edward Estlin), 1894-1962 person
correspondedWith Curtiss, Mina Kirstein, 1896- person
associatedWith Economou, George. person
associatedWith Economou, George. person
correspondedWith Empson, William, 1906-1984 person
associatedWith Lincoln, Eleanor Terry. person
associatedWith Princeton University. Bicentennial Celebration Committees. corporateBody
associatedWith Smith College corporateBody
associatedWith Wieler, J. William, person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Subject
Teaching
Women scholars--Interviews
Women's colleges
Universities and colleges--Faculty
Educator--Interviews
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1894

Death 1981

Britons

English

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