Indiana McCaslins

Davida (Vida) McCaslinAge: 77 years18851963

Davida (Vida) McCaslin
Name prefix
Birth October 4, 1885 32 29
B.A. Coe College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; M.A University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Death of a paternal grandfatherWosson McCaslin
January 26, 1894 (Age 8 years)
Burial of a paternal grandfatherWosson McCaslin
after January 26, 1894 (Age 8 years)
Source: Find a Grave
Source: S3871
Publication: Johnson County Museum of History (Franklin, Indiana 2001)
Note: Greenlawn Cemetery, Section Payn, Row 4, Stone 16 (Find A Grave Memorial# 97163947)
Census 1895 (Age 9 years)
Census 1900 (Age 14 years)
Graduation 1904 (Age 18 years)
Note: received a Bachelor of Arts degree
Death of a paternal grandmotherJane Smith Winchester
April 3, 1909 (Age 23 years)
Source: Find a Grave
Burial of a paternal grandmotherJane Smith Winchester
April 8, 1909 (Age 23 years)
Note: Greenlawn Cemetery, Section Payn, Row 4, Stone 16 (Find A Grave Memorial# 97164974)
Census 1910 (Age 24 years)
Graduation 1912 (Age 26 years)
Note: University of Minnesota, received a Master of Arts degree
Census 1920 (Age 34 years)
Death of a fatherDavid Serril McCaslin
May 9, 1921 (Age 35 years)
Source: S1495
Source: Find a Grave
Burial of a fatherDavid Serril McCaslin
May 12, 1921 (Age 35 years)
Source: S1495
Source: Find a Grave
Note: Fairlawn Cemetery, Section K, lot 372, grave 3; Find A Grave Memorial# 59695070
Census 1930 (Age 44 years)
Death of a motherHarriette Barrett Studley
September 8, 1931 (Age 45 years)
Burial of a motherHarriette Barrett Studley
September 9, 1931 (Age 45 years)
Source: Find a Grave
Note: Fairlawn Cemetery, Section K, lot 372, grave 2; Find A Grave Memorial# 59695165
Emigration June 27, 1936 (Age 50 years)
Immigration August 27, 1936 (Age 50 years)
English Teacher, English professor and Department Head - Millikin University, Decatur, Illinois

Retirement 1952 (Age 66 years)
Note: Retired from Millikin University
Death of a sisterChristine McCaslin
March 29, 1958 (Age 72 years)
Source: S472
Note: Died at daughters home (Fredica Brown Bishop), 2802 W 40th Street, of liver cancer.
Burial of a sisterChristine McCaslin
March 31, 1958 (Age 72 years)
Note: Lakewood Cemetery, Lot 224 Section 30 Grave 4; Find A Grave Memorial# 35242649
Death March 2, 1963 (Age 77 years)
Burial March 5, 1963 (3 days after death)
Note: Fairlawn Cemetery
Presbyterian, Episcopal

Family with parents - View this family
Marriage: October 2, 1878New York City, New York, New York
3 years
elder sister
4 years
Davida (Vida) McCaslin
Birth: October 4, 1885 32 29Pullman, Cook, Illinois
Death: March 2, 1963Decatur, Macon, Illinois


received a Bachelor of Arts degree


University of Minnesota, received a Master of Arts degree


Retired from Millikin University


Fairlawn Cemetery

Shared note

Davida was born on 4 Oct 1885 at her parents' residence, 234 Watt Ave, Pullman, Cook, Illinois. She was her parents' second child. Her father David S McCaslin was born in Oscaloosa, Iowa and her mother in Newton, Massachusetts. Her father's occupation is listed as "minister". The midwife was Mrs. Mowat of Humbolt Park, Chicago, Cook, Illinois.

In the 1895 Minnesota State Census for Minnespolis, Hennepin, Minnesota, 42-year-old Iowa-born David S and his 38-year-old Massachusetts-born wife Harriet [sic] [Studley] McCasslin [sic] have in their household their daughters, 14-year-old Indiana-born Christina [sic] and 9-year-old Illinois-born Vida [Davida], and a Swedish servant, 22-year-old Lana [sic] Anderson. The family is living in a house at 412 W 27th Street. David and his family have lived in Minnesota and in the Minneapolis 8th Ward for four years. He is a Presbyterian minister.""The Ministerial Directory of the Ministers in the Presbyterian Church..." and "The Alumni Catalogue of the United Theological Society" state that he was pastor of the Bethlehem Presbyterian Church [now named Bethlehem Stewart Presbyterian Church, located at 2539 Pleasant Ave Minneapolis, MN 55404]

The Franklin Democrat, Friday, July 6, 1900, Volume XLI Number 1, page 3 column 3 LOCAL NEWS ITEMS Mrs. J. C. McCaslin entertained Tuesday night in honor of Mrs. D. S. McCaslin and daughters of Cedar Rapid's Iowa.

1900 US Federal Census for 5th Ward of Cedar Rapids, Linn, Iowa shows David Serril McCaslin (47, born in Iowa), his wife Harriette (43, born in Massachusetts) and his daughters, Christine (19, born in Indiana) and Vida [Davida] (14, born in Illinois) living at 312 North 16th Street in a rented house. David and Harriette have been married for 22 years and have had two children, both are living. He is a clergyman. Both of his daughters are listed as students. [They are attending Coe College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.] David's parents were born in Indiana, Harriette's father in Vermont and her mother in Maine [sic], and Christine and Davida's father in Indiana [sic] and their mother in Massachusetts.

In 1904, Davida received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Coe College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Davida began her tenure at Millikin University as an English teacher in 1907.

1910 US Federal Census for 11th Ward of St Paul, , Ramsey, Minnesota shows 57-year-old Iowa-born David Serril McCaslin, his 53-year-old Massachusetts-born wife, Harriette B [Studley] McCaslin and their youngest daughter, 24-year-old Illinois-born Davida McCaslin living at 2024 Selby Avenue. David and Harriette have been married for 31 [sic] years and have two children, both are living. He is a clergyman and Davida is a teacher at a private university. Everyone can read, write and speak English. David's parents were born in Indiana, Harriette's father was born in Massachusetts [sic] and her mother in New Hampshire and Davida's father was born in Iowa and her mother in Massachusetts.

From "The Decatur Review" (Decatur, Illinois) for 18 Dec 1910 (Society Page): "Miss David [sic] McCaslin has gone to Minneapolis to spend the holidays.

In 1912 Davida received a Master of Arts degree from the Universiy of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Hennepin, Minnesota.

From "The Daily Review" (Decatur, Illinois) 31 May 1916 (Society Page): "Miss David [sic] McCaslin has gone to Minneapolis to spend the holidays."

From "The Daily Review (Decatur, Illinois) 31 May 1916, page 12: "PRETTIEST GIRL" AND "UGLIEST" MAN Couple named by Millikin Students in Annual Publications All doubt as to comparative superiority of the 1916 Millidek carrying results of the contests that have been featured by that publication resently. Marian Johnson was hailed as the "prettiest girl," Curtis Douglas as the 'ugliest man," Davida McCaslin as the most popular member of the faculty, Henrietta Page as the most popular girl, James Hardchdorf [? bad printing] as the "fussiest fusser' and Isabel Dawson as the "fussiest fussee." A total of 475 volumes have been distributed. Their feature lies in new and handsome views and beautiful engravings of the J. M. U. campus and buildings. It is dedicated to Professor A.T. Mills, head of the history department.

The 1920 US Federal Census finds 34-year-old Illinois-born Davida McCaslin at Millikin University in Decatur, Macon, Illinois, where she is a teacher [of English]. She is living in an apartment on West Main Street which is occupied by other Milikin faculty and staff. Her father was born in Iowa and her mother in Massachusetts. She can read, write and speak English.

From the Decatur Herald, Saturday Evening, Page 7, 27 Oct 1928 AUTHOR NOT WITHOUT HONOR IN HOME TOWN, LIBRARY FIGURES SHOW That an author may not be without honor in her home town [is] shown by the fact that Miss David[a] McCaslin's book "Reaching Other Minds' is one of those most in demand in the Decatur public library. Wilder's "Bridge of San Luis Rey" is popular in the fiction list. Kynes' "tide of Empire" and Gaspell's "Brook Evens" are others. 'Mother Indian" still holds its place as a much read book. Children are reading Cobb's "Penny," Lindbergh's "We" and Parker's "indian How Book." Library circulation in September was 19,263, a gain over the corresponding month of the preceding year.

From the Decatur Evening Herald, page 2, Thursday, 25 Oct 1928 Five Members of Millikiin Faculty in "Who's Who?" Five member of the Millikin fac- ulty are listed in the 1928 "Who's Who in America. Three are men and two are women. Those included in the volume are: Dr Albert R. Taylor, president em- eritus; Mark E. Penney, president; W W. Smith, head of the commerce and finance school; Miss Davida McCaslin, head of the English de- partment, and Miss Winifred St Clare Minturn, director of the Con- servatory of Music. Dr. H P. K. Agersborg, biologist, who resigned his position on the Millikin faculty last summer, is also listed in the book. His occupation is given as Millikin professor.

In the 1930 US Federal Census for Decatur, Macon, Illinois, 72-year-old Massachusetts-born widowed Harriet [sic] B [Studley] McCaslin is head of a household which includes her 43-year-old Illinois-born single daughter, Davida. Harriette owns their home (worth $6,000), at 668 Haworth. Davida is a university professor and has worked on the last regularly scheduled work day. They do not own a radio. Harriette's father was born in New Hampshire and her mother in Maine [sic - her step-mother was born in Maine, her mother in New Hampshire], Davida's father was born in Iowa and her mother in Massachusetts.

On 27 Jun 1936, 50-year-old Davida McCaslin arrives in Plymouth, England on the Champlain, which had sailed from New York, New York. She is on route to the Regent Palace Hotel, traveling with another teacher, 37-year-old Mildred Peero.

While in England, Davida visited Stratford on Avon and bought a little pewter porridger as a souvenir. I still have it carefully placed on a shelf.

On 27 Aug 1936, Davida McCaslin arrives in the Port of New York on the Ile de France, which had sailed from Southampton, England on 21 Aug 1936. She was born 4 Oct 1886 in Pullman, Illinois, her passport number is 285055 and her address in the United States is 668 Haworth, Decatur, Illinois. This address and her employment as an instructor at Millikin University are confirmed by the 1938 Decatur City Directory, page 257.

In 1940, Davida had a telephone, 2-5218. She is still living at 668 Haworth, Decatur, Illinois and employed by Millikin University (Numerical Telephone Directory, p 667, Decatur City Directory, p 264)

In the 1941 Decatur City Directory , page 258, Davida is living at 668 Haworth, Decatur, Illinois and employed by Millikin University.

In 1944, Davida has moved to 404 N Summit Ave and is employed by Millikin University as an instructor. (1944 Decatur City Directory, page 289). She is still at that address and working for Millikin University as an instructor in 1946 (1946 Decatur City Directory, page 272). In 1947, her address is the same but Davida has been promoted to professor (1947 Decatur City Directory, page 342). The information remains the same for the 1948 Decatur City Directory, page 367 and the 1949 Decatur City Directory, page 169.

I remember her as Aunt Emmy, a visitor in the early 1940's who was always willing to read a story to a child, and play a game of blowing large soap bubbles in the side yard for me, my brother and my sister to chase before they popped. She gave me my first beautifully printed and illustrated book, Robert Lewis Stevenson's Treasure Island. I realized that books were more than words, they could be art, and this started me on a lifetime of collecting beautiful books.

About 1960, Davida developed senile demetia and was cared for by a devoted friend for the rest of her life.

When Davida McCaslin died in March 1963, she was living in Illinois. Her Social Security number was issued in Illinois before 1951.

DAVIDA McCASLIN PROFESSOR EMERITUS OF ENGLISH MILLIKIN UNIVERSITY DECATUR, ILLINOIS Professor Davida McCaslin was selected as a charter member of the Millikin Medallion Society, which was established during Millikins Centennial celebration (2001-2003) to honor the 100 most influential persons during Millikins first 100 years who, at the time of the celebration, were deceased. The Centennial website includes the following information: Davida McCaslin began her tenure at Millikin as an English teacher in 1907, serving until her retirement in 1952. She served as chairman of the English department from 1925-1941, and received an honorary degree in 1953. She wrote several books, including Reaching Other Minds, Amateur Writing, and a novel, Bold Water. She also organized the Town & Gown Players in the 1930s. For more information about the criteria used to select the Medallion Society honorees, see: For information about the other 99 members of the charter class, see:

The following tidbits are found in the book Millikin University: The First 100 Years by Gerald & Barbara Redford, published by Millikin University in 2001:

Professor McCaslin was secretary of the Faculty Council from 1929 until 1952 (p. 47). She was one of eight editors of the first issue of the Alumni Journal, which was published quarterly in 1920 and continued for about five years with highly favorable reviews (p. 66). To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the institution in 1926, Professor McCaslin and two other women wrote a musical pageant in verse which was performed by faculty and students. Entitled Alma Mater, it included an elaborate set with a medieval theme and the lighting of 25 candles (p. 94). The board of directors approved emeritus status for Professor McCaslin at its meeting on December 10, 1951 (p. 144).

Upon her retirement in 1952, a scholarship in her honor was started by alumni of the university. It has received gifts totaling more than $27,000, including a $10,000 bequest in 2002 from the estate of a woman from the class of 1935 who had studied under Professor McCaslin. Each year a junior or senior English major receives the Davida McCaslin scholarship. The scholarship will continue in perpetuity, as only a portion of the principal of the endowment is used each year, as determined by the board of trustees.

The summer 2001 issue of the Millikin Quarterly, Millikins alumni magazine, included a salute to Millikins teaching excellence. Alumni were asked to write in about their remembrances of the teachers who helped shape their lives. The following are the two tributes written about Professor McCaslin:

Many years ago, I sat in Miss Davida McCaslins poetry class. She read poetry so beautifully that I have never forgotten the wonderful experience.

She was a small lady with a very pleasant speaking voice. She inspired me and made me see the beauty in poetry. I would never have missed a single class.

As I am now in the zenith of my life, I still look back on the special times in Miss McCaslin's class. She injected beauty, the desire to read poetry and the zest for living into my life. Through the years, these are the things which have been important to me. Mary Crossman Carroll '43, Tuscola, Ill

Her memory is special to me because of one great lesson she taught: "An idea is only as good as your ability to express it."

Davida McCaslin was my freshman English professor. The lessons of her book, "Reaching Other Minds," have been a staple in my professional life as a teacher and as a fundraiser.

In both I dealt with expressing the intangible in speaking and in writing-selling dreams, if you please. Always I asked myself, "Will my expression reach other minds?" And always, of course, I thought of her kindly! Ken Merwin '54, Green Lake, Wis.

Prepared for: Lois Johnson, great-niece of subject Date of request: February 21, 2006 Research dates: March 28-29, 2006 Researcher: Carol Sampson Millikin University Decatur, Illinois