Martha Hale Shackford Passing
Mourned by College and Town
Miss Martha Hale, professor emeritus of English Literature at Wellesley College, died at her home, 7 Midland road Friday evening at the age of 87.
She retired in 1943 after 42 years of teaching at Wellesley, from which she was graduated in 1896, but until a year ago she continued to be a productive scholar. Her book "Talks on Ten Poets," published in 1958, which marked 60 years of publication by her, was the 150th item in the bibliography of her published work.
She was born in Dover, New Hampshire, on August 25, 1875. Her great-great-great grandfather, Samuel Hale, a Harvard garduate in the Class of 1740, was master of the Latin Grammar School at Portsmouth, and many of her other ancestors were clergyman and school masters. Both of her grandfathers were abolitionists with stations on the underground railway to Canada.
Following her graduation from Wellesley, she traveled and studied poetry and painting in England and Italy and taught English at Vassar. She received the Litt.D. degree from Yale University in 1901, and that same year she returned to Wellesley as an instructor in English. She was promoted to the rank of associate professor in 1905 and to that of professor in 1918.
In her honor the Class of 1914 established a professorship in English, and the late Margaret P. Sherwood, former teacher and colleague of Miss Shackford at Wellesley, in 1953 established the Martha Hale Shackford Scholarship at Wellesley. She was beloved by many former students, who considered one of the most rewarding experiences at their college reunions the teas which she held every June at her house near the campus.
Miss Shackford was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the Modern Language Association, the New Hampshire Historical Society, the London Shakespeare Society, the Shakespeare Association of New York, the Modern Humanities Research Association, the Norfolk (England) Record Society, and the Audubon Society.
Herbert M. Gale, professor of Biblical History at Wellesley College, conducted the funeral service which was held at 2:30 Monday afternoon at the Waterman Chapel in Wellesley. Burial will be in Dover, New Hampshire
Martha Hale Shackford (1875-1963)
Martha was the third child of Charles Burnham Shackford and Caroline Cartland who resided in Dover, New Hampshire. She had two brothers, Samuel Burnham Shackford, a lawyer nor Moses Austin Shackford, treasury department clerk, neither of whom married. Martha attended Wellesley, Vassar, and Yale where she obtained her PhD.
She resided with and traveled extensively through Europe with Margaret Pollack Sherwood. Censuses list them as are found in the same residence in 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940 and list them as
"partner", "companion", "lodger", and in the 1940 census both "head" of household. In 1922 they applied for passports on the same day and Margaret appointed Martha as her executor.
When Martha turned 85, she was honored by 85 friends and former students and presented with a book of her poems. The newspaper article recognizing this event stated that "Many alumnae consider her to be one of the very greatest teachers the college has ever had, and certainly one of the faculty's greatest creative scholars" and mentions that while she was a prolific author, she was noted for the quality of her writing. Those celebrating her birthday with a book of her poems did so to "pay tribute in this manner to a great teacher, creative scholar, incomparable friend, critic, and poet."
It sure sounds like Martha would have been a fantastic professor and that it would have been wonderful to have had the opportunity to have participated in one of her annual teas!
Manifest, S. S. France, 14 September 1927, Martha Shackford, new york, new york passen...and crew lists, 1925-1942, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org : accessed 17 August 2013
"Martha Hale Shackford Passing Mourned by College and Town," Wellesley Townsman (Wellesley, Massachusetts), 17 January 1963; digital images, Wellesley Free Library (http://digital.wellesleyfreelibrary.org/ : accessed 22 December 2013).
"Miss Shackford Honored Today on 85th Birthday," Wellesley Townsman (Wellesley, Massachusetts), 25 August 1960; digital images, Wellesley Free Library (http://digital.wellesleyfreelibrary.org/ : accessed 22 December 2013).
"Passenger Records," new york, passenger arrival lists (ellis island), 1892-1924, FamilySearch (http://familysearch.org : accessed 21 December 2013), Martha H Shackford, arrived Jan 6 1913 from Hamilton, Bermuda aboard ship Bermudian
"Passenger Records," new york, passenger arrival lists (ellis island), 1892-1924, FamilySearch (http://familysearch.org : accessed 21 December 2013), Martha H Shackford, arrived New York 9 Feb 1910 from Hamburg
U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925, , Martha Hale Shackford, 22 December 2013; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 22 December 2013).
"WELLESLEY COLLEGE, Academic Year Begins October 6 - Assignments of Teachers," The Evening Post, 25 September 1909; online images, Fulton History (http://fultonhistory.com : accessed 22 December 2013). Dr. Margaret P Sherwood and Dr. Martha H. Shackford will be in Europe during the first semester..