Helen Smith Bevington (1906–2001) was an American poet, prose author, and educator. Her most noted book, Charley Smith's Girl (1965), was a runner-up for a Pulitzer Prize and it was "banned by the library in the small town of Worcester, N.Y., where she grew up, because the book tells of her minister father's having been divorced by her mother for affairs that he was carrying on with younger female parishioners."
Life and works
Bevington was born in Afton, New York. Bevington was reared in Worcester, New York where her father was a Methodist minister. Bevington attended the University of Chicago and earned a degree in philosophy. She proceeded to write a thesis about Thoreau, earning a master's degree in English from Columbia University. In 1928, she married Merle M. Bevington (1900–64). The couple travelled abroad, returning in 1929 in response to the Stock Market Crash of 1929. Both Bevingtons taught English at Duke University starting in the 1940s, Helen retiring in 1976. They had two sons: the eldest David Bevington is among the preeminent Shakespeare scholars in the world; The second son Philip died in the 1980s.
In addition to her 12 books of poetry and essays, Bevington's work appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker and The American Scholar. Bevington was a poet, a diarist, and an essayist. She was also a winner of the Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry (1956) and the Mayflower Cup (1974) both given by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association; and the North Carolina Award for Literature (1973). Charley Smith's Girl (1965) was runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize.
Helen Bevington died on Friday, 2001 March 16 in Chicago.