Skip to main content

Mitchell, Lucy Sprague (1878–1967)

Mitchell, Lucy Sprague (1878–1967)

American educator and children's author. Born Lucy Sprague in Chicago, Illinois, on July 2, 1878; died of a heart attack on October 15, 1967; fourth of six children of Otho Sprague (a wholesale grocer) and Lucia (Atwood) Sprague; married Wesley Clair Mitchell (1874–1948, an economist), on April 6, 1912 (died 1948); children: four.

Loneliness, privacy, and secrecy dominated Lucy Sprague Mitchell's growing-up years which she shared with five siblings. "I kept to myself as much as I could in that crowded house," she recalled, "and tried my best not to let anyone in on anything I cared about." Attending Radcliffe against the wishes of her father, Mitchell went on to become the first dean of women at the University of California at Berkeley, starting out as advisor to the dean in 1903. She devoted her life to the education of children.

In 1916, she and her husband, economist Wesley Clair Mitchell, along with Harriet Johnson , founded the Bureau of Educational Experiments, later known as the Bank Street College of Education. Mitchell was also responsible for its Writer's Laboratory, inviting publishing professionals to attend. This was no "common garden variety course" wrote Edith Thatcher Hurd . "If you survived Lucy's classes on language, the laboratory was the 'whipped cream,' an intense but richly rewarding experience." Mitchell's own Here and Now Story Book, published in 1921, was widely recognized as a radical departure in the writing for children. She argued that children's stories should start with the familiar, something from the child's world, before opening out to broaden that world. In the introduction, she also maintained that form was just as important as content and proposed a new child-centered literature, using rhythm, rhyme, and repetition. Her credo: "While we are learning, there is hope."

suggested reading:

Antler, Joyce. Lucy Sprague Mitchell: The Making of a Modern Woman. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1987.

Mitchell, Lucy Sprague. Two Lives: The Story of Wesley Clair Mitchell and Myself. NY: Simon and Schuster, 1953.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Mitchell, Lucy Sprague (1878–1967)." Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Oct. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Mitchell, Lucy Sprague (1878–1967)." Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 17, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/women/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/mitchell-lucy-sprague-1878-1967

"Mitchell, Lucy Sprague (1878–1967)." Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. . Retrieved October 17, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/women/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/mitchell-lucy-sprague-1878-1967

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.