Helen Manning Hunter, 92, college professor

Helen M. Hunter
Helen M. Hunter
Posted: October 25, 2013

Helen Manning Hunter, 92, a college professor and the granddaughter of a president of the United States, died Thursday, Oct. 17, of respiratory failure at the Quadrangle in Haverford.

Dr. Hunter was both professor emeritus of economics and the Mary Hale Chase professor emeritus of the social sciences at Bryn Mawr College. She retired in May 1990.

Born in New Haven, Conn., and raised in Bryn Mawr, Dr. Hunter lived at various times in Haverford and Villanova before moving to the Quadrangle in the mid-1990s.

Her father was Frederick Johnson Manning, a history professor at Swarthmore College. Her mother was Helen Taft Manning, a dean and then history professor at Bryn Mawr College until her retirement in 1957.

Dr. Hunter's grandfather William Howard Taft was the 27th president of the United States from 1909 to 1913 and the 10th chief justice of the United States between 1921 and 1930. No one else has held both positions.

The former Helen Manning graduated from the Putney School, in Vermont, and received her bachelor of arts degree in economics from Smith College in 1943.

Two years later, she married Holland Hunter, who later became professor of economics at Haverford College. They met in a statistics class at graduate school.

After earning her doctorate in economics from Radcliffe College, Dr. Hunter taught economics at Swarthmore and Bryn Mawr Colleges, and also directed summer academic programs at Haverford College.

Dr. Hunter served as a part-time instructor from 1949 to 1952 at Bryn Mawr College, according to spokesman Matt Gray. She returned to the college as an instructor in 1968 and was appointed associate professor in 1972. She became a full professor in 1984.

At Bryn Mawr College, the study of economics falls under the social sciences, Gray said. The college president awards the five-year Mary Hale Chase Endowed Chair of the Social Sciences to a professor in recognition of excellence in teaching and scholarship.

In 1988, then-President Mary Patterson McPherson awarded the title to Dr. Hunter. She held the title until 1990, and then became Mary Hale Chase emeritus professor through 1992, Gray said.

Her daughter Ann said Dr. Hunter enjoyed being a mother. "She enjoyed taking care of us. She also enjoyed gardening and music," her daughter said.

Besides her daughter, she is survived by her husband of 68 years; a son, Timothy; another daughter, Christine; eight grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

A third daughter, addictions and HIV/AIDS physician Barbara Hunter Chaffee, died in March of breast cancer.

A funeral will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, at St. Mary's Episcopal Church, 36 Ardmore Ave., Ardmore, followed by interment at 2:30 p.m. in the graveyard at Haverford Friends Meeting, Buck Lane.

Donations may be made to Doctors Without Borders via www.doctorswithoutborders.org.




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