Henry Noble MacCracken (1880-1970)
Where: Yelping Hill
MacCracken was born in Toledo, Ohio, and studied at New York University and later Harvard University, where he received his Ph.D. in 1907. The same year MacCracken married Marjorie Dodd and spent a year in England as a John Harvard Fellow. Upon his return, MacCracken took a position as a professor of English at Sheffield University in 1909. In 1913, MacCracken moved to Smith College to teach dramatic literature, and settled with Vassar College in 1915 as college president. MacCracken remained at Vassar until his retirement in 1945.
In the early 1920s MacCracken, with his wife, and five other families founded Yelping Hill in Cornwall, Connecticut.
MacCracken was instrumental in creating the “seven sisters” college consortium in 1926 and founding Sarah Lawrence College in 1936. MacCracken encouraged learning in all facets of students’ lives and from field work. His efforts led to independent studies, summer credit courses, and a relaxation of codes for social conduct and behavior among students. MacCracken also put a large emphasis on diversity among the student body, professors, and courses made available to students. During both world wars MacCracken organized war relief efforts on campus.
After his retirement MacCracken continued to summer in Cornwall, and died in Poughkeepsie in 1970.
Image courtesy of Vassar Digital Library