Mary (Warner Sharpless) McClelland (1918-1980)
Where: Yelping Hill
When: about 1950-1980
McClelland was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania. She began her studies at Milwaukee-Downer College, but after meeting and falling in love with David McClelland at a Quaker summer camp after her freshman year, she transferred to Radcliffe to be closer to him. After finishing her degree, she married McClelland, and when her husband took a job as a professor of Psychology at Wesleyan University she moved to Connecticut where they soon began a family.
During the 1950s they began summering in Yelping Hill. It was in Cornwall that McClelland’s art flourished, and she found inspiration in the surrounding environment. As her art intensified and her children grew up, she became interested in art education. McClelland’s lifelong devotion to the Quaker faith and her interest in art education led her, with the help of her husband, to found the Cambridge Friends School in 1961. She served as its art teacher for a time.
Beginning in the late 1950s, the McClellands traveled a great deal. Everywhere she traveled McClelland immersed herself in her surroundings, which were often reflected in her art. In 1971 they spent six months living in Sri Lanka. Eventually they began to host friends’ children and foreign exchange students. After hosting a former student of David McClelland’s who was returning from studying with Ram Dass in India, they began hosting people returning from India at various stages of their spiritual journeys in their home. Though McClelland always remained devoutly Quaker, these contacts intensified her interest in eastern spirituality.
In 1978 McClelland was diagnosed with gastric cancer. McClelland died in 1980 at the age of 62.
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