Marjorie Hope Nicolson

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Marjorie Hope Nicolson (February 18, 1894 – March 9, 1981), was an American literary scholar. She was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1955.[1]


Born February 18, 1894 in Yonkers, New York, she was the daughter of Charles Butler Nicolson, editor-in-chief of the Detroit Free Press during World War I and later that paper's correspondent in Washington, DC, and Lissie Hope Morris.

Nicolson graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. degree in 1914, followed by her M.A. in 1918. Afterwards, she attended Yale, where she received a Ph.D. in 1920, where she was the first woman to receive the distinguished John Addison Porter Prize for her dissertation. This was followed by post-doctoral work at Johns Hopkins from 1923-1926.[2]

Nicolson worked for her father at the newspaper for a while, as a drama critic, before becoming dean and professor at Smith College from 1929-1941. She left when she was hired as the first female graduate school professor at Columbia University, where she remained until 1962, eventually becoming chairman of the graduate department of English and Comparative Literature.[2]

In 1940, she became the first woman president of Phi Beta Kappa; [2] in 1943 she took over for a year as the interim editor of that organization's literary journal, The American Scholar, after its first editor, William Allison Shimer, resigned.[3] She was also president of the Modern Language Association in 1963.

An authority on 17th-century literature and thought, she was the author of numerous books. She was awarded the Pilgrim Award from the Science Fiction Research Association in 1971 for her pioneering work in the relationship between science and literature.

She died on March 9, 1981, in White Plains, NY.



  1. ^ "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter N" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved July 29, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c "Book Reviews", Astounding Science Fiction, August 1949, p. 154.
  3. ^ Tracy Chevalier (12 October 2012). Encyclopedia of the Essay. Routledge. p. 23. ISBN 978-1-135-31410-1. 

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