Clyde Griffen
Clyde Griffen

Griffen, Clyde Chesterman, on March 5, 2015 in Mitchellville, Maryland. Born in 1929 in Sioux City, Iowa, Clyde taught American History at Vassar College for 35 years as the Lucy Maynard Salmon Professor. He earned his B.A. from the University of Iowa and his M.A. and Ph.D from Columbia University. At Vassar, he taught courses in American History and American Culture. In the mid-1960s Professor Griffen served as Dean of Freshmen, member of the Vassar-Yale Study staff and coauthor of the Report on the Education of Men at Vassar.

He married his beloved wife Sally in 1959. They have three children, John, Sarah, and Rob, two daughters-in law Anne Zaldastani and Laura, and six grandchildren: Bailey and Winslow; Mateo and Maritza; Sonia and Henry.

Clyde and Sally investigated occupational mobility in the labor force of Poughkeepsie, 1850- 1880, resulting in Natives and Newcomers: The Ordering of Opportunity in Mid-Nineteenth Century Poughkeepsie (Harvard University Press, 1978). The book led the University of Auckland to invite the Griffens to New Zealand on a Fulbright to examine local archives and suggest projects in Auckland's social history. Other publications include: co-editing Meanings for Manhood: Constructions of Masculinity in Victorian America (University of Chicago, 1990); co-authoring Full Steam Ahead in Poughkeepsie: The Story of Coeducation at Vassar, 1966-1974 (Vassar College, 2000); and co-authoring Main Street to Main Frames: Landscape and Social Change in Poughkeepsie (SUNY Press, 2010).

He loved to swim and hike in the Adirondacks where the Griffens had a summer home. He and Sally moved to Collington Life Care Community near Washington DC in 2007. He will be deeply missed by his family, friends, and the Vassar community of which he was such an integral member.

A private remembrance will be planned for later this spring at Vassar College.

Published by Poughkeepsie Journal on Mar. 11, 2015.
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6 Entries
John and Sarah,
I am so sorry to hear of the passing of your father. My deepest sympathies go to all the Griffen family.
Keith Seto
March 19, 2015
My father, Jack Dover, was a neighbor at Gull Pond and on one of their walks, Clyde mentioned he would be publishing a book with SUNY Press. My father was so excited--he called me right away to tell me. It was months before the manuscript finally landed on my desk at SUNY, but it was worth waiting for. It was such a pleasure working with Clyde on Main Street to Mainframes. We worked on it over the summer and I brought cover sketches to Gull Pond -- Clyde and Sally invited my dad and me to dinner so we could talk about the book and the cover. What a delightful evening. His friendship was so important to my father and it was lovely for me that I was able to be a part of it as well.
Laurie Dover Searl
March 19, 2015
Our deepest condolences, I am so sorry I never got the chance to meet him. There are so many historical questions I was hoping to ask him...may he rest in peace. Deep gratitude for the research and wisdom he shared. So very sorry for your loss.
Tanya Pineda
March 18, 2015
Indeed, he is fondly remembered. He brought a dynamic and ebiullient presence to Vassar.
Lynn Thomson Scott. 1964
Lynn Thomson Scott
March 16, 2015
A wonderful, gentle scholar, and gentle man, with energy and enthusiasm for life. We will continue to respect and remember him well; he is on our life list of most unforgettable characters.Marie and Bernie Patten, Athens, GA and Gull Pond
March 12, 2015
Mr Griffen was a stellar professor of mine at Vassar College. I took "The American Experience in the 20th Century" at the end my freshman year. It was pivotal - I was hooked! I am enormously happy to have been a history major, it has served me well. I remember his joie de vivre, large smile and enthusiasm for learning. Thank you, Mr Griffen, and peace be with you.
Michelle Mueller
March 11, 2015
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