Meredith Bragg Raymond, UMass. Prof. Emerita, died February 26, 2018 at home. She was born on May 2, 1918 in Brockton, MA the daughter of Grace (Peaslee) and James Bragg. Her early years were spent in Rockland, MA before moving to 112 Randolph St. in South Weymouth in 1924.
She graduated from Weymouth High School in June 1935 and from Bridgewater Teachers College (now part of the state university system) in 1939 where she majored in English and American History and Literature.
Early teaching positions included public schools in North Reading, Weymouth and Hanover, MA. During this period she was also a Teaching Fellow at Boston University and enrolled in graduate courses at the Bread Loaf School of English in Middlebury, VT from which she received an M.A. in English Literature in 1943.
Her marriage to Alvah Raymond took place on June 24, 1944 in the Old South Union Church in South Weymouth, the church in which she and Alvah were active members. The next 20 years the couple enjoyed teaching in their respective subjects with periods of travel in Europe and camping in the national parks of the United States and Canada.
An important change in this routine occurred when Alvah received a financial stipend in 1963 from the National Science Foundation enabling him to enroll in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a Mentor of Teachers of Mathematics and Physical Sciences, including early stages of Computer Science. Meredith’s work on her Ph.D. initiated at Chapel Hill at this time. Unfortunately, a return to their Weymouth residence was necessitated when Alvah contracted pancreatic cancer. He died at home on May 2, 1964.
Meredith received her Ph.D. degree from Boston University in May 1964 with her close friend and fellow student and co-editor Mary Rose Sullivan now of Westwood, MA, who at that time delivered the degree itself to the Randolph Street address. That year Meredith was appointed to the faculty at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst in the English Department. Her academic specialty was Victorian Literature, and her publications focused on critical theory and editing.
In 1970 she purchased property at 35 Harlow Drive in Amherst, a location which has been benefited by its proximity to the developing Renaissance Center, and has enjoyed a structure expanded to accommodate her scholarly publishing participation (as co-editor with Mary Rose Sullivan) in on-going editions of The Brownings’ Correspondence now at Vol. 24 (1857) ISBN 978-0-911459 41-8, Wedgestone Press, P. O. Box 175, Winfield, KS 67156. Throughout the publication of this vast collection Philip Kelley, editor, has been the principle proponent of the entire effort, along with other supporting editors. Most of this endeavor has been supported by the Armstrong Browning Library.
Meredith was an avid traveler including her time as a Visiting Professor at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu in 1986. Her extensive travels incorporated pursuits of literature with visits to European libraries and records offices, especially in Florence, Italy in 1973, and several trips to London, England in connection with her long interest in the Elizabeth Barrett Browning biographies which she and close friend Mary Rose Sullivan were early participants as co-editors. This research also included trips to many libraries within the United States.
Her book, Swinburne’s Poetics: Theory and Practice appeared in 1971. She was the author of several articles on the poetry of Swinburne, Morris, Arnold, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. In 1983 she, with co-editor Prof. Mary Rose Sullivan, published a three-volume edition entitled The Letters of Elizabeth Barrett Browning to Mary Russell Mitford, 1836-1854 followed by selected editions of these letters, Women of Letters, 1987, and by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Selected Poetry and Prose, 1993.
After her retirement, Prof. Raymond’s research focused on a biography of John Kenyon, a prominent figure in Victorian literary and cultural circles and a friend and benefactor of both Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
Meredith advocated the teaching profession as the one which offered the richest rewards in its role of a legacy to the students. Her career of almost half a century reflected a classroom experience of students ranging from elementary to graduate levels.
Her memberships in professional organizations have included The Modern Language Association, the Northeast Victorian Association, the AAUP, The Browning Institute, and the Massachusetts Center for Renaissance Studies. From 1982 to 1985 she served as the UMass. Campus Representative for student awards for the Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities of the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Foundation. She has been a member and an occasional lecturer of the Boston Browning Society since 1964.
In Amherst she participated in the University Women’s Chorus and, in retirement, joined a local Senior Hiking group. She attended the former North Congregational Church. She was also a life-long member of the Old South Union Church in South Weymouth.
Meredith was predeceased by her sister Wilhelmina “Bill” Thomas and brother-in-law Raymond Thomas and is survived by her nephew James Thomas and his wife Sherrie of Orono, ME, her niece Martha “Marty” Hunter of Plymouth, MA, her nephew Jeffrey Hunter of Hampton Bays, NY, and her cousins Ernestine Peaslee of Somerville, ME and Susan Goodale of Weymouth, MA. She will be greatly missed by her life-long friend and traveling companion Pauline Jordan of her hometown neighborhood in South Weymouth, her long-time friend, co-editor, collaborator and traveling companion Mary Rose Sullivan of Westwood, her typist and proof-reader since the late sixties, friend, traveling companion and more recently financial assistant and manager of her affairs Barbara Gould of Buckland, as well as colleagues at the University of Massachusetts where she taught undergraduate and graduate courses from 1964 until retiring as Prof. Emerita on January 26, 1991. Meredith would like to thank her loyal and wonderful caregivers from Comprehensive Home Care who took such loving care of her allowing her to remain in her home, with an extra special thank you to Nyresha Thomas who went above and beyond to make sure that all the details of meals and duties were fulfilled and to Samantha Shaw for her special care and tenderness. She would also like to thank Dr. Samuel Topal, Surgeon, for his care in past years and to Dr. Paul Baecher for his many years of caring for her, especially the past few years when he came to her home to care for her and extra special gratitude for his coming to her home this past weekend to tend to her final needs.
“---- that serene and blessed mood,
In which the affections gently lead us on, ----
Until, the breath of this corporeal frame
And even the motion of our human blood
Almost suspended, we are laid asleep
In body, and become a living soul:”
(from LINES by William Wordsworth)
The Funeral Service will be held at the Old South Union Chapel, 25 Columbian St., South Weymouth on Tuesday, March 6 at 1:00 p.m. with burial to follow in Mount Hope Cemetery in S. Weymouth. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to any charitable organization.