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Mary McHenry
Born January 23, 1933(1933-01-23)
Washington DC
Occupation Academic
Nationality United States
Genres African American literature

Mary Williamson McHenry (23 January 1933 - ) is "credited with bringing African American literature to Mount Holyoke College," where she is Emeritus Professor of English[1]. McHenry also introduced her then - student (the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Suzan-Lori Parks) to Five Colleges faculty member James Baldwin during the 1980s.[2] Parks would later credit McHenry with her success.[3]



McHenry was born Mary Elizabeth Williamson Murphy in Washington DC to Alphonso Williamson (who worked with the Library of Congress) and Elizabeth Bennett Williamson (a teacher). She graduated from Oakwood School in Poughkeepsie, New York in 1950, received her B.A. in English literature from Mount Holyoke College in 1954, her M.A. from Columbia University in 1960, and continued further graduate work at George Washington University from 1961-1964.[4]


McHenry taught at Howard University (1960–1963), George Washington University (1964–1969), and Federal City College (1969–1974). McHenry then taught at Mount Holyoke from 1974 until her retirement in 1998 "and was also a member of the American Studies and the Black (later African-American) Studies departments."[4]

The Mary McHenry Papers (1933–1996) were exhibited from October 29 - November 26, 2007 at Mount Holyoke College.[5][6]


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