The Headmaster: Frank L. Boyden of Deerfield

by John McPhee

Paperback, 1992




Farrar, Straus and Giroux (1992), Edition: 1St Edition, 160 pages


Starting in 1902 at a country school that had an enrollment of fourteen, Frank Boyden built an academy that has long since taken its place on a level with Andover and Exeter. Boyden, who died in 1972, was the school's headmaster for sixty-six years. John McPhee portrays a remarkable man "at the near end of a skein of magnanimous despots who...created enduring schools through their own individual energies, maintained them under their own absolute rule, and left them forever imprinted with their own personalities." More than simply a portrait of the Headmaster of Deerfield Academy, it is a revealing look at the nature of private school education in America.

User reviews

LibraryThing member ffortsa
The Headmaster tells the story of Frank Boyden, who at 22 took over as the headmaster of Deerfield Academy in 1902 and ruled with a kind but traditional hand for 66 years. The idea is intriguing, but the work, alas, is more or less descriptive in a way McPhee would learn to make much more involving as his career developed. It has very little nuance, more worshipful than inquiring, and as a portrait is ok - as a book, less than what one would wish for.… (more)


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