Virginia Walcott Beauchamp, Ph.D.

(1920 - 2019)

Dr. Virginia Walcott Beauchamp is an educator, author, journalist and community activist, who has made significant contributions to the status of women, women's literature and history.  Dr. Beauchamp was born in Sparta, Michigan.  She graduated from the University of Ann Arbor.  In 1955, she earned a Ph.D. in English from the University of Chicago.  She has made significant contributions to the status of women, women's literature and history.  Dr. Beauchamp founded the Women's Studies Program at the University of Maryland, and served as its first director.  She developed new courses, and guided students in studying the lives and writings of women.

Dr. Beauchamp found that because some kinds of writings were considered improper for women, they wrote in genres such as letters, diaries, and family histories.  She has written extensively, is editor of several books, and has written numerous articles.  In 1987, she published A Private War:  Letters and Diaries of Madge Preston, 1862-1867.  Her writings have also won her the Governor's Award.

Dr. Beauchamp has been a pioneer in community efforts to improve the status of women.  In 1976, she was a founding member of the Women's Action Coalition of Prince George's County, a network of diverse women's groups.  She served as a member of the Prince George's County Commission for Women, from 1990-1993.  Dr. Beauchamp coordinated lectures showcasing women scholars for the College Park Branch of the American Association of University Women.  She received the Governor's Citation for her contributions to achieving sex equity in Maryland educational institutions during the first decade of Title IX.

For the Greenbelt News Review, Dr. Beauchamp served as reporter, editor, editorial writer and a member of the Board of Directors for several decades.

Dr. Beauchamp was named to the Prince George's County Women's Hall of Fame in 1991, and was selected to their Women of Achievement volume the following year.  She was also named in the Women of Achievement in Maryland History, 2002.  In that same year she was chosen as the Greenbelt, Maryland, Outstanding Citizen.

Dr. Virginia Beauchamp is a pioneer, risk taker, intellectual with a vision and has given women the power to believe they have a history to be proud of, and a future to believe in.

Biography courtesy of the Maryland Commission for Women, 2003.

© Copyright Maryland State Archives, 2003