McCaslin, Nellie 1914-2005

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McCaslin, Nellie 1914-2005

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born August 20, 1914, in Cleveland, OH; died following a heart attack February 28, 2005, in New York, NY. Educator and author. McCaslin was often recognized as the leading authority in the United States on children's theater. Educated at what is now Case Western University, she earned a B.A. in 1936 and an M.A. in 1937. She became a drama teacher in Indianapolis for several years before joining the faculty at the National College of Education in 1944 where she taught drama and English until 1956. From 1957 until 1972, McCaslin was a drama instructor and dean of students at Mills College of Education in New York City. The last part of her career was spent at New York University, where she was a professor of educational theater from 1972 until 1990. She remained active, even after retirement, as an adjunct professor at the university's Steinhardt School of Education until 2002. Although many critics of theater view children's plays with some contempt, McCaslin recognized plays for young audiences as an important art form with many talented contributors. In addition to teaching, she promoted this position by publishing several important books in the field, including Creative Drama in the Classroom (1968; sixth edition, 1996, published as Creative Drama in the Classroom and Beyond), Theater for Children in the United States: A History (1971; second edition, 1997, published as Children's Theater in the United States: A History), Creative Drama in the Intermediate Grades: A Handbook for Teachers (1987), and Theater for Young Audiences (1989). McCaslin also contributed original works to the genre, writing over two dozen plays for children. For her many contributions to children's theater, she received a lifetime achievement award from the Children's Theater Association of America in 1996; she also received the Outstanding Research award from the American Alliance of Theatre and Education in 1987, and the Newton D. Baker award from her alma mater in 1985.



New York Times, March 12, 2005, p. A27.


New York University Office of Public Affairs Web site, (March 8, 2005).