Carmelita Chase Hinton and the Putney School

  • Susan McIntosh Lloyd


Carmelita Chase Hinton was a lifelong adventurer, possessing the daring, the visionary heedlessness, and the organizational acumen that any adventure requires. She was born in Omaha, Nebraska, the daughter of Clement Chase, a financial editor, newspaper owner, and book retailer, and Lula Belle Edwards, a full-time mother to her four children, a devoted Episcopalian, and philanthropist, who hailed originally from an old Kentucky family. She is chiefly known as the founder, in 1935, of the Putney School. Innovative for its time, the Putney School continued during and long after her 20-year tenure as head to inspire other schools, both public and private. Like most progressive schools, Putney reflected the originality of its founder, in particular, her swings between a practical, self-preserving bent and a dashing, mercurial idealism. And while the school appeared often to be standing in opposition to prevailing cultural and political assumptions, its students came in surprising variety.


Progressive Education Bryn Mawr Association Member Union Teacher Faculty Association 
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  1. 1.
    This personal recollection of Carmelita Hinton’s, like most others mentioned in the text, was recorded by me during four interviews with Hinton in her ninetieth year in preparation for writing The Putney School. Susan Lloyd, The Putney School: A Progressive Experiment (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987). Where her memories were passed on to me by others such as her oldest daughter Jean Hinton Rosner, this is indicated. In rare cases I have drawn on my own most vivid memories of Hinton as the Director of the Putney School during my attendance there from 1948 to 1952. Certain other material used in this article is also adapted from The Putney School. Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Lawrence A. Cremin, The Transformation of the School: Progressivism in American Education 1876–1957 (New York, Knopf, 1961), p. 88.Google Scholar
  3. 9.
    Carmelita Hinton, “My Education for Teaching,” in Bryn Mawr Alumni Bulletin (Spring 1951).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Alan R. Sadovnik, Susan F. Semel 2002

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  • Susan McIntosh Lloyd

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