David McCord (1897-1997)

Poet & Philanthropist

Born amidst the bustling streets of New York City in 1897, David Thompson Watson McCord emerged as a literary luminary and philanthropist whose influence spanned generations. Raised in Princeton, New Jersey, and later rural Oregon, McCord's early years were steeped in the beauty of nature and the richness of imagination.

A scholar of Harvard University, McCord's academic pursuits culminated in a Bachelor's of Arts in 1921 and later an MA in Chemistry in 1922. His poetic innovations included the creation of a five-line form of poetry he named "symmetrics". McCord was also renowned for his contributions to children's poetry, which like his other works he imbued with themes of nature, whimsy, depth and meaning.

Throughout his career, McCord authored and edited over 50 books, spanning poetry, prose, and anthologies. From the whimsical verses of "Oddly Enough" to the timeless charm of "Every Time I Climb a Tree," his writings captivated readers of all ages.

As the executive director of the Harvard College Fund for 38 years, he played a pivotal role in raising money to support education and scholarship at his alma mater, Harvard University. His tireless advocacy for philanthropy echoed his belief in the transformative power of generosity and compassion.

Honored by prestigious institutions, McCord's legacy continues to inspire future generations of poets: The annual David McCord Children's Literature Festival stands as a testament to his enduring influence.

In his final days, McCord found solace in the quiet halls of Goddard House, a Boston nursing home, where he died on April 17th, 1997 at 99 years old.

A rectangular slate gravestone monument in a cemetery.

David McCord is buried in lot 7012 on Chestnut Ave. in Mount Auburn Cemetery

Top Image:

Boston Athenaeum. David McCord. 2015


The Poetry Foundation. David McCord 1897-1997.