Skip to main content

Margaret Brackenbury Crook Papers

Identifier: CA-MS-00051

Scope and Contents

The Margaret Brackenbury Crook Papers contain biographical materials, correspondence, photographs, publications and reviews covering Crook's career as a faculty member at Smith College.

Dates of Materials

  • 1911 - 1972


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

Smith College retains copyright of materials created as part of its business operations; however, copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For instances which may regard materials in the collection not created by Smith College, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Biographical / Historical

Margaret Brackenbury Crook was born in Dymock, Gloucestershire, England on May 5, 1886 to Ellen Brackenbury Crook and Rev. L.G. Harris Crook. She attended St. Anne's School at Oxford, and received her BA with first class honors in 1913 from the University of London, since at that time Oxford did not grant degrees to women. Crook also earned a diploma with distinction in anthropology in 1914 from Oxon. In 1917, she received a certificate from Manchester College, Oxford, and was first in the college on completion of the three year course of study. From 1916-17, she went to France to work for the Society of Friends War Victims Relief Committee in the Marne and the Meuse.

In June of 1917 Crook was formally received into the ministry of the Unitarian and Liberal Christian Churches. In 1918 she became the minister of the Octagon Chapel in Norwich, England for two years. She was the first English woman to have entered in the training for the ministry and to have had sole charge of a large church. In 1920 Crook left England for America and became the executive secretary of the U.S. branch of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. In 1921 she was appointed Associate Professor at Smith College, a position that she held for 33 years. In 1938, Crook became a U.S. citizen. Her primary field of research was old testament studies, and she published a variety of books, articles, and essays on the subject, including: The Literary History of the Bible (1934), The Cruel God: Job's Search for the Meaning of Suffering (1956), and Women and Religion (1964). She also edited and partially authored The Bible and its Literary Associations (1937).

In addition to her academic work, Crook was heavily involved in a variety of organizations. She was a member of the St. Anne's Society, the Society of Biblical Literature and Exegesis, the National Association of Biblical Instructors, the American Association of University Professors, served as the Smith College representative on the Corporation of the American Schools of Oriental Research, was an honorary lecturer at the Jerusalem school of Oriental research during the summer of 1934, served as president and honorary secretary of the Alumni of the American Schools of Oriental Research in 1943, 1942. She also served as president of the Women's Alliance of the Unitarian Church of Northampton and Florence Massachusetts.

Crook retired from Smith College in 1954. She never abandoned her scholastic pursuits. For 8 consecutive years she was named Sophia Smith Fellow of Smith College, an honor which was bestowed upon emeritus professors who have served the college and who continue to engage in scholarly projects. Crook lived in Northampton with her brother Waldo, who took care of her for the last few years of her life when her health began to fail. She died on May 24, 1972, after a brief illness. At the time of her death she had completed a book-long manuscript on the life and thought of the Apostle Paul.


1.313 linear feet (3 containers)

Language of Materials



Professor of Religion and Biblical Literature, Minister. Collection contains biographical material, correspondence, photographs, publications, and reviews.


This collection is organized into four series:
  1. I. Biographical Materials
  2. II. Correspondence
  3. III. Photographs
  4. IV. Publications

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Source unknown.

Processing Information

Processed by Gayla B. Spaulding.

Processing Information

Please note that prior to 2018, folder inventories were not always updated when new material was added to the collection. As a result, folder inventories may not be complete and folder numbers may be incorrect.
Finding aid to the Margaret Brackenbury Crook Papers
Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
Gayla B. Spaulding
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (
  • 2005-09-23: manosca51 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02-5c.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • 2018-11-02: Containers added and finding aid updated as part of the College Archives Survey

Repository Details

Part of the Smith College Archives Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063