Maynard, Theodore

views updated


Poet, critic, biographer, historian; b. Madras, India, Nov. 3, 1890; d. Port Washington, N.Y., Oct. 18, 1956; the son of Protestant missionaries Henry and Elizabeth (Teague) Maynard. His reading (particularly of G. K. Chesterton) led him into the Church in 1913, after which he spent seven months in a Dominican novitiate. On July 8, 1918, he married Sara Katherine Casey; they had seven children. While lecturing in the U.S. in 1920 he was offered a professorship at San Rafael College, California, although he had never taught and had no degree. The next 16 years were spent in remedying both deficiencies. He taught at San Rafael (192125); St. John's College, Brooklyn, and Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart, N.Y. (192527); Fordham University, N.Y. (192729); Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. (192934); and Mount St. Mary's College, Emmitsburg, Md. (193436). He received the degrees of A.B. (Fordham), M.A. (Georgetown), and Ph.D. (Catholic University of America).

His De Soto and the Conquistadores (1930) led to a succession of biographies of figures chiefly in the Elizabethan era, among them Queen Elizabeth (1940) and

Thomas Cranmer (1956). Entering the field of hagiogra phy, he produced popular lives of such saints as Francis Xavier (1936), Mother Cabrini (1945), Francis of Assisi (1948), and Ignatius Loyola (1956). He deemed his great est prose achievement The Story of American Catholicism (1941), which led him to further studies in American Church history, such as the lives of Orestes Brownson (1943) and Junípero Serra (1954). After his first wife's death (1945), he married Kathleen Sheehan. In 1948 he became president of the Catholic Poetry Society of America. He had been serving as vice president of the So ciety since its founding some 12 years earlier.

Bibliography: t. maynard, The World I Saw (Milwaukee 1938). j. a. o'brien, Road to Damascus (Garden City 1949) 98110.

[a. m. melville]