Frank Boyden

Last updated
Frank Boyden
Frank Learoyd Boyden

(1879-09-16)September 16, 1879
DiedApril 25, 1972(1972-04-25) (aged 92)
Resting placeLaurel Hill Cemetery, Deerfield, Massachusetts
Alma mater Amherst College
Occupation Headmaster
Years active66
Organization Deerfield Academy
PredecessorRobert Pelton Sibley
RelativesHelen Sears Childs (wife), John Carey Boyden (son)

Frank Learoyd Boyden (September 16, 1879 – April 25, 1972) was headmaster of Deerfield Academy from 1902 to 1968.


Early life

Boyden was born at his family's homestead in Foxborough, Massachusetts. His maternal grandfather was a missionary in Japan and his great grandfather Otis Carey was the president of the Foxborough Bank and the Foxboro Branch Railroad. [1]

Headmaster of Deerfield Academy

Frank Boyden attended Amherst College, and graduated with the class of 1902. Soon after graduation Boyden secured a position as headmaster of Deerfield Academy, at that time a public school, largely financed by the town of Deerfield, with an enrollment of fourteen boys and girls. [2] Boyden's style of leadership was characterized by strong personal relations with the boys, largely built through competitive sports teams. His mentorship of students became the characteristic elan of the school. Boyden kept his desk in the hallway of the Main Building so as to keep the pulse of the school. As headmaster, he became known for taking in students who had been expelled from other schools. Boyden, who had seen his work at the school as a steppingstone to law school, remained the school's headmaster for sixty-six years. Through the years Deerfield joined the ranks of elite private schools such as Exeter and Andover. [3]

Boyden's efforts as headmaster resulted in a revival of the town of Deerfield. Henry and Helen Flynt were parents of a boy student at the academy. Boyden invited them to serve on the school's board and later to participate in town improvement efforts. The Flynts purchased and renewed numerous properties in the town of Deerfield. [4]

His leadership was not without controversy. It is said that he converted the public school to a private school because he was alarmed by the changing demographics of the town of Deerfield which was seeing an influx of Polish immigration. [5]

Boyden was replaced after his retirement in 1968 by David M. Pynchon.

Personal life

Boyden married Helen Sears Childs on June 29, 1907. She was a 1904 graduate of Smith College, which awarded her a Doctorate of Humane Letters in 1934. Boyden enjoyed driving through the Deerfield Valley in one of his several horse-drawn buggies. He was a delegate to the Republican National Convention from Massachusetts in 1960.


A chair, the Frank L. Boyden Professor of Political Economy, exists at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Boyden Hall and Boyden Gym, on the campus of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, are named in his honor.

Boyden was profiled by John McPhee (Deerfield, Class of 1949) in The New Yorker in an article later expanded into a book, The Headmaster: Frank L. Boyden, of Deerfield .

The Archives and Special Collections at Amherst College holds some of his papers.

Related Research Articles

Amherst, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

Amherst is a town in Hampshire County, Massachusetts, United States, in the Connecticut River valley. As of the 2010 census, the population was 37,819, making it the highest populated municipality in Hampshire County. The town is home to Amherst College, Hampshire College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst, three of the Five Colleges. The name of the town is pronounced without the h ("AM-erst") by natives and long-time residents, giving rise to the local saying, "only the 'h' is silent", in reference both to the pronunciation and to the town's politically active populace.

Deerfield, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

Deerfield is a town in Franklin County, Massachusetts, United States. Settled near the Connecticut River in the 17th century during the colonial era, the population was 5,125 as of the 2010 census. Deerfield is part of the Springfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area in western Massachusetts, lying 30 miles (48 km) north of the city of Springfield.

Foxborough, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

Foxborough is a town in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States, about 22 miles (35 km) southwest of Boston, 18 miles (29 km) northeast of Providence, Rhode Island and about 73 miles (117 km) northwest of Cape Cod. Foxborough is part of the Greater Boston area. The population was 16,865 at the 2010 census.

William S. Clark

William Smith Clark was an American professor of chemistry, botany and zoology, a colonel during the American Civil War, and a leader in agricultural education. Raised and schooled in Easthampton, Massachusetts, Clark spent most of his adult life in Amherst, Massachusetts. He graduated from Amherst College in 1848 and obtained a doctorate in chemistry from Georgia Augusta University in Göttingen in 1852. He then served as professor of chemistry at Amherst College from 1852 to 1867. During the Civil War, he was granted leave from Amherst to serve with the 21st Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, eventually achieving the rank of colonel and the command of that unit.

Boyden may refer to:

Historic Deerfield United States historic place

Historic Deerfield is a museum dedicated to the heritage and preservation of Deerfield, Massachusetts, and history of the Connecticut River Valley. Its historic houses, museums, and programs provide visitors with an understanding of New England's historic villages and countryside. It is located in the village of Old Deerfield which has been designated a National Historic Landmark District, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The museum also hosts the Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife.

Eaglebrook School Private junior boarding school in Deerfield, Massachusetts, United States

Eaglebrook School is an independent junior boarding and day school for boys in grades six through nine. It is located in Deerfield, Massachusetts, on the Pocumtuck Range near Deerfield Academy and sited on an 724-acre (2.93 km2) campus which is also preserved by the Deerfield Wildlife Trust. Eaglebrook School is accredited by the Association of Independent Schools in New England (AISNE).

Deerfield Academy Independent, boarding and day school in Deerfield, Massachusetts, United States

Deerfield Academy is a coeducational preparatory school in Deerfield, Massachusetts. Founded in 1797, it is one of the oldest secondary schools in the United States. It is a member of the Eight Schools Association, the Ten Schools Admissions Organization, and the Six Schools League.

James Colgate Cleveland

James Colgate Cleveland was an American politician in the U.S. state of New Hampshire. He served as a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from 1963 to 1981.

The Headmaster: Frank L. Boyden of Deerfield is a 1966 book by John McPhee, profiling Frank Boyden, the long-time headmaster of Deerfield Academy. The book was expanded from a magazine profile in The New Yorker.

Martin W. Kellogg was an American portrait painter.

Robert Pelton Sibley was an American academic and a headmaster of Deerfield Academy.

Eight Schools Association

The Eight Schools Association (ESA) is a group of private college-preparatory schools in the Northeast United States.

John Williams (minister)

John Williams was a New England Puritan minister who became famous for The Redeemed Captive, his account of his captivity by the Mohawk after the Deerfield Massacre during Queen Anne's War. He was also a central voice in the inoculation controversy of 1721. He was an uncle of the notable pastor and theologian Jonathan Edwards.

Elbridge Boyden

Elbridge Boyden (1810–1898) was a prominent 19th-century American architect from Worcester, Massachusetts who designed numerous civil and public buildings throughout New England and other parts of the United States. Perhaps his best known works are the Taunton State Hospital (1851) and Mechanics Hall (1855) in Worcester.

Curry Hicks

Curry Starr Hicks was an American football coach, athletic director, and professor of physical education.

Orra White Hitchcock American botanical artist

Orra White Hitchcock was one of America's earliest women botanical and scientific illustrators and artists, best known for illustrating the scientific works of her husband, geologist Edward Hitchcock (1793–1864), but also notable for her own artistic and scientific work.

Claude Fuess American educator, administrator, and biographer

Claude Moore Fuess was an American author, historian, educator, and 10th Headmaster of Phillips Academy Andover from 1933 to 1948. After attending Amherst College and earning a Ph.D at Columbia University, Fuess taught English at Phillips Academy from 1908 to 1933. As Headmaster he guided the school in a new era as it faced the Great Depression and Second World War. Concurrent with his teaching and Headmaster roles, Fuess led a writing career spanning several decades. He is credited as the author or editor of over 30 books and articles including biographies of Caleb Cushing, President Calvin Coolidge, Rufus Choate, Daniel Webster, and Carl Schurz.

Margaret C. Whiting (1860-1946), was born in Chester, Massachusetts but lived much of her adult life in Deerfield, Massachusetts. She trained as an artist, and published an illustrated book with Ellen Miller on wild flowers. She ad Miller co-founded the Deerfield Society of Blue and White Needlework, where she contributed her skills as a designer and teacher, and provided leadership for the organization. She won a gold medal for her needlework from the 1915 Worlds Fair in San Francisco for its design and color.


  1. "Foxborough Historical Commission" (PDF). Foxborough properties on the National Register of Historic Places.
  2. McPhee, John (1966). The headmaster : Frank L. Boyden, of Deerfield (1st pbk. ed.). New York: Noonday Press. ISBN   0374514968.
  3. McPhee, John (1966). The headmaster : Frank L. Boyden, of Deerfield (1st pbk. ed.). New York: Noonday Press. ISBN   0374514968.
  4. Mansfield, Howard (2001). The same ax, twice : restoration and renewal in a throwaway age. Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England. p. 65. ISBN   1584651172.
  5. Greenfield, Briann G. (2009). Out of the attic : inventing antiques in twentieth-century New England. Amherst [Mass.]: University of Massachusetts Press. p. 142. ISBN   978-1558497108.