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Clapp, Margaret Antoinette (1910–1974) - U.S. History

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Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Forgotten First Citizen: John Bigelow and eighth president of Wellesley College, Margaret Antoinette Clapp was born to Alfred Chapin and Anna (Roth) Clapp in East Orange, New Jersey, on April 11, 1910. In 1926 she attended Wellesley College on a scholarship and received an A.B. in economics in 1930. Because of the Depression, Clapp was forced to defer graduate work and became a teacher at Todhunter, a private girls’ school in Manhattan. She earned an A.M. in history from Columbia University in 1937. She left Todhunter (then Dalton) in 1942 for a variety of teaching jobs in the history departments of City College of New York (1942–1944), Douglass College (1945–1946), and Columbia University’s general sessions (1946–1947) while pursuing her doctorate at Columbia, which she was awarded in 1946. Her dissertation was on John Bigelow, a nineteenth-century editor, reformer, and diplomat.

In 1947, while working as a government researcher in Washington, D.C., she published Forgotten First Citizen and was offered an assistant professorship at Brooklyn College. In May 1948 she was informed that her biography had won the Pulitzer Prize. She was offered the presidency of Wellesley College and became one of only five women presidents of major liberal arts colleges. She remained at Wellesley until 1966. After retirement, she became interim head of Lady Doak, a women’s college in Mandurai, South India; she resigned one year later. Clapp traveled around India as cultural attaché for the United States Information Agency from 1968 to 1971; she was the first woman ever to hold the post of minister councilor of public affairs. Margaret Clapp resigned in 1971 and returned to Tyringham, Massachusetts, living with her sister until her death from cancer in 1974.

Clapton, Eric(originally, Clapp, Eric Patrick) [next] [back] Claiborne, Liz - Overview, Personal Life, Career Details, Chronology: Liz Claiborne, Social and Economic Impact

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