Harding, Mildred Davis 1916-
HARDING, Mildred Davis 1916-
PERSONAL: Born October 2, 1916, in Jacksonville, FL; daughter of Richard Brayton (in the wholesale grocery business) and Maude (a homemaker; maiden name, Davis) Davis; married John Boman Adams (a professor of anthropology), 1939 (divorced, 1963); married Robert Douglas Harding (a yacht captain), 1973 (divorced, 1991); married Robert V. Frey (in insurance and investments), 1991; children: (first marriage) Branwen Adams Denton, John Brayton. Ethnicity: "White (British and European ancestry)." Education: Agnes Scott College, B.A., 1938; Columbia University, M.A., 1939, Ph.D., 1960; attended University of Chicago, 1940-42. Politics: "Critical Democrat." Religion: "Esoteric Anglican Christian." Hobbies and other interests: Music, psychology, philosophy, comparative religion, history, living abroad (especially Wales), "looking at what's left of 'nature.'"
ADDRESSES: Home—5955 30th Ave. S., No. 212, Gulfport, FL 33707-5339. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Educator and author. Fishweir Elementary School, Jacksonville, FL, cadet teacher, 1933-34; New Jersey College for Women (now Douglass College, Rutgers University), New Brunswick, instructor in English, 1943-44; Stephens College, Columbia, MO, teacher of literature, 1945-46; Washington University, St. Louis, MO, instructor in English, 1946-47; Shurtleff College, Alton, IL, assistant professor of English, 1947-49; Stetson University, Deland, FL, instructor in English, 1950-51; American University of Cairo, Cairo, Egypt, assistant professor of English, 1952-54; Queen Aliya College, Baghdad, Iraq, assistant professor of English, 1955-56; American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon, assistant professor of English, 1956-61; Shimer College, Mount Carroll, IL, teacher of literature, 1961-62; University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, assistant professor of English, 1962-67; Keene State College, Keene, NH, associate professor of English, 1967-73; College of Boca Raton, Boca Raton, FL, associate professor of English and philosophy, 1974-76; Florida Junior College, Jacksonville, adjunct teacher of English, 1976-80; Lutheran Refugee Services, teacher and program coordinator of English as a second language, 1980-82; University of Maryland abroad at Okinawa, Japan, associate professor of English, 1984-85; St. Petersburg Junior College, St. Petersburg, FL, adjunct teacher of English, English as a second language, and humanities, 1999-2001. Beirut College for Women, assistant professor, 1956-57; University of Maryland abroad at Wurzburg, Germany, assistant professor, 1966; International Academy, Rhodes, Greece, humanities teacher, 1969; Phelps-Stokes Program for African Refugees, teacher of English as a second language, 1980.
MEMBER: Phi Beta Kappa, Eta Sigma Phi.
Air-Bird in the Water: The Life and Works of Pearl Craigie (John Oliver Hobbes), Fairleigh Dickinson University Press (Madison, NJ), 1996.
Waking Up in Egypt: A Memoir, Casananda Publisher (Bayonet Point, FL), 1999.
Also author of "My Black Mountain," a memoir. Contributor to books, including revised edition of Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2003. Contributor to periodicals, including Journal of Religion and Psychic Research, Agnes Scott Alumnae Quarterly, Yale Literary, South Asian Review, Chronicles, and Turn-of-the-Century Women. Editor, Archives of the American Medical Association, 1939-40; assistant book editor, Coronet, 1943.
WORK IN PROGRESS: An Autobiography, tentatively titled Love, Mildred.
SIDELIGHTS: Mildred Davis Harding once told CA: "I began writing for publication late in life, after about forty years of college teaching in English, comparative literature, and the humanities. For better or worse, my mind was steeped in the great literary works of Western civilization from Homer to the present, and my values and tastes were permanently formed by them. Amidst the dizzying cultural changes of these last decades, I have remained a Christian humanist, a romanticist, and a classicist, and so (some would say) an elitist.
"Naturally, then, I grieve for the deterioration in our culture ('the revolt of the masses' in language, education, publishing, popular entertainment, manners, morality, etc.) and especially for the contribution that many writers and other artists have made to that deterioration through their capitulation to the tyranny of the majority and the power of 'big bucks.' I look for and delight in 'the saving remnant.'
"When I finally began to write for publication it was not for money. It was because I was stirred to speak out from personal experience against certain important misconceptions. 'My Black Mountain,' a memoir, was evoked by popular adulation of Black Mountain College; Waking Up in Egypt: A Memoir by the widespread ignorance of Americans about the Middle East. Next, feeling that two topics in my doctoral dissertation on George Moore—his debt to Schopenhauer, and the author Pearl Craigie, with whom Moore had been in love—deserved better treatment than I had given them, I wrote a long article on the first and two articles on the second. Convinced by then that my attempt to rescue Craigie/Hobbes from near oblivion required a comprehensive book, I wrote Air-Bird in the Water: The Life and Works of Pearl Craigie (John Oliver Hobbes)—an eight-year labor of love.
"Favorable response to that book led me to further work on Craigie/Hobbes: chiefly an essay for the Oxford University Press New Dictionary of National Biography. What next? Publication of an almost completed double autobiography, tentatively titled Love, Mildred: Lloyd Houser's memoirs woven around my letters to him; also additional memoirs, and essays.
"My advice to aspiring writers? Don't be obsessed by 'the Market!' Feed on excellent writings; analyze the technique that makes them good. Live intensely; be (as Henry James put it) 'one upon whom nothing is wasted.' Trust your vision, write from your heart, rewrite with your head."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Harding, Mildred Davis, Waking Up in Egypt: A Memoir, Casananda Publisher (Bayonet Point, FL), 1999.
Choice, December, 1996, p. 613.
Nineteenth-Century Literature, March, 1997, p. 558.
Victorian Studies, winter, 1999-2000, pp. 360-361.