An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Scudder, Vida Dutton

(Dec. 15, 1861-Oct. 9, 1954). Educator and Christian Socialist. She was born in Madura, India, and was initially named Julia Davida. Her father was a Congregationalist missionary. She and her mother returned to Auburndale, Massachusetts after he died. When she was a teenager, she and her mother joined the Episcopal Church. Scudder received her B.A. in 1884 and her M.A. in 1889, both from Smith College. In 1884-1885, she studied at Oxford University. In 1887 she joined the English Department of Wellesley College and remained there until her retirement in 1927. At Wellesley she combined her love of letters with a concern for social reform. In 1889 Scudder joined the Society of the Companions of the Holy Cross, a devotional order. In 1890 she joined the Society of Christian Socialists in Boston, which was founded by W. D. P. Bliss. She was also a member of the Brotherhood of the Carpenter and was active in the Christian Social Union. In 1911 Scudder helped to found the Episcopal Church Socialist League, and in 1919 she helped to establish the Church League for Industrial Democracy. After World War I she became a pacifist and in 1923 she joined the Fellowship of Reconciliation. During her retirement years she studied the Franciscans. In 1931 she published The Franciscan Adventure, which made her a leading Franciscan scholar. Among her many books were Social Ideals in English Letters (1898), The Social Teachings of the Christian Year (1921), and her autobiography, On Journey (1937). Scudder died in Wellesley, Massachusetts. See Society of Christian Socialists.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.