Mitchell, Lucy

Mitchell, Lucy (b. Sprague)

(1878–1967) educator; born in Chicago. Child of a wealthy businessman, she had a difficult youth but she gradually obtained an education and came to know and be influenced by John Dewey, Jane Addams, and Alice Freeman Palmer, herself a prominent educator. It was the latter who encouraged Lucy Sprague to come to attend Radcliffe College in 1896. After graduation, she went to California where in 1906 she became dean of women and assistant professor of English at the University of California: Berkeley. After her marriage in 1912 to Wesley Clair Mitchell, an economist, the couple moved to New York City where she concentrated on the education of children—specifically, on investigating the best and most up-to-date approaches. With the support of her cousin, Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, she cofounded the Bureau of Educational Experiments in 1916 and directed it until 1956; by 1950 it had become the Bank Street College of Education. She also cofounded (1931) the Cooperative School for Teachers. Both institutions had widespread influence in educational practice. She also wrote or coauthored or edited 20 books for children and six books for adults, including an autobiography/biography Two Loves: The Story of Wesley Clair Mitchell and Myself (1953).