Inspire A Friend—With Vida Scudder

Creation is a better means of self-expression than possession; it is through creating, not possessing, that life is revealed.

People Who Kick Buts: Vida Scudder

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Creation is a better means of self-expression than possession; it is through creating, not possessing, that life is revealed.

  • Born on December 15, 1861; Passed away on October 9, 1954
  • An American educator, writer, and welfare activist in the social gospel movement.
  • She was one of the most prominent lesbian authors of her time.
  • She was born in Madurai, India, in 1861, the only child of David Coit Scudder and Harriet Louise (Dutton) Scudder. After her father, a Congregationalist missionary, was accidentally drowned in 1862, she and her mother returned to the family home in Boston. Apart from travel in Europe, she attended private secondary schools in Boston, and was graduated from the Boston Girl’s Latin School in 1880. Scudder then entered Smith College, where she received her BA degree in 1884.
  • In 1885 she and Clara French were the first American women admitted to the graduate program at Oxford, where she was influenced by York Powell and John Ruskin. While in England she was also influenced by Leo Tolstoi and by George Bernard Shaw and Fabian Socialism.
  • Scudder retired from Wellesley in 1927 and received the title of professor emeritus. She became the first dean of the Summer School of Christian Ethics in 1930 at Wellesley. In 1931 she lectured weekly at the New School for Social Research in New York.
  • Vida Dutton Scudder died at Wellesley, Massachusetts, on October 10, 1954.

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