CM: Frances Rich studied at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, from 1927 to 1931. Her experience at Smith was such that she loved every season there. She appreciated the team of people at the college dedicated to helping students get a good education. As Rich put it, thanks to the special treatment she received there, she "blossomed" [Jacqueline Van Voris 1971, p.16].
During the Second World War, Rich served as special assistant to Mildred McAfee (1900-1994), director of Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, also known as WAVES. There she met Herbert Davis (Oxford, England - 28 March 1967), who presided over the creation of America's first Officers' Training Unit of the WAVES, while simultaneously serving as the fourth president of Smith College, from 1940 to 1949. He succeeded Elizabeth Cutter Morrow (1873-1955). It was at his invitation that Rich became the first director of public relations, with the rank of full professor, at Smith College, a post she held from 1947 to 1949. Doubtless at her own initiative, Rich created a life-size bust portrait of Davis. It is an official representation of Davis as president dressed in jacket and tie. Despite the head's rigid frontal pose, the heavy eye-lids and the sealed mouth evoke the sitter's humanity. According to Rich, "Mr. Davis had a sense of scholarship and dedication". His scholarly approach featured an indifference to politics that he had inherited from his Canadian and British background [ibid. p.20]. Rich always admired Mr. Davis for being a great friend of such noted poets as Wystan Hugh Auden (1907-1973) and Sir Stephen Harold Spender (1909-1995), with whom he shared ideas on social justice. In 1949, Rich's third year at Smith, Mr. Davis went to further his studies in England, and was succeeded by Mr. Benjamin Fletcher Wright (1900-1976). Unlike those who had a feminist viewpoint, Rich liked the fact that a girls' college like Smith had a man as president [ibid. p.20]. The Bust Portrait of Herbert Davis was placed in The William Allen Nielson Library of Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts in 1950.
[Megakles Rogakos 01/2009]
VAN VORIS, JACQUELINE Interview with Frances Rich 14/11/1971 The Frances L. Rich Archives, Payson, AZ
WHISTON, ELIZABETH The Smith Presidents 17/10/2002 The Sophian
ROGAKOS, MEGAKLES Frances Rich - La Gazelle 2010 The American College of Greece - ACG Art, Athens