Local Obituaries

UK educator and author dies at 94

Mary Wilma Hargreaves opened the door of her Cassidy Avenue home one day to find her pint-size neighbor on her doorstep.

"Hi, my name is Diane," said the girl, who lived two houses down. "I'm 10 years old, and I would like to play with your dog."

The memorable introduction was brief, but the friendship between the two neighbors lasted for six decades. At the time, Diane — who is now Diane Caudell and is in her late 60s — had no idea that her neighbor with the cool dog was an accomplished scholar, author and trailblazer.

Mrs. Hargreaves, 94, a retired professor of history at the University of Kentucky, editor of the Henry Clay Papers and former Brookings Institution scholar, died Friday after a brief illness. Funeral arrangements are in care of Milward's on Southland Drive.

Caudell and her sister, Judy Mathis, stayed friends with Mrs. Hargreaves after they had moved from their parents' home on Cassidy. It was only after they became adults that they realized just how amazing Mrs. Hargreaves truly was, the two sisters said Saturday.

A native of Erie, Pa., Mrs. Hargreaves won a full scholarship to Bucknell University and graduated in 1935. She had a triple major in history, English and social studies. She received her master's degree in history from Radcliffe College/Harvard University in 1936 and was a research editor at the Harvard University School of Business Administration. While working at Harvard in 1939, she was invited to become a fellow at the Brookings Institution, a conservative Washington, D.C., think tank. At Brookings, she met Herbert Walter Hargreaves, who was working on his Ph.D. in economics. They married in 1940. Mary Hargreaves earned her Ph.D. in history from Harvard University in 1951.

The Hargreaveses eventually settled in Lexington. She became associate editor of the Henry Clay Project in 1952 and continued in that capacity through 1974. She then became co-editor and project director of the Clay Papers, a collection of the letters and works of Henry Clay. She was a UK professor from 1964 through 1984. She wrote many articles and books and served on many boards, including Ashland, the home of Henry Clay.

While she was teaching at UK, she met M. Hardy Griffith, who became her lawyer and friend.

"Knowing her was like knowing Eleanor Roosevelt," Griffith said Saturday. Griffith used to tease Mrs. Hargreaves that she undersold her accomplishments. "I could get you on the cover of Parade magazine," Griffith used to tell her.

"We thought because they were professors that they never had any fun," Caudell said. They were wrong.

"I went down into her basement and found all of these trophies from Arthur Murray dance studios," she said. The Hargreaveses danced for more than 35 years at Arthur Murray.

Walter Hargreaves died almost a decade ago; the couple had no children.

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