Beverly M. Boyd

Beverly Boyd, Professor Emerita of English of the University of Kansas, She died January 26, 2019, at Brandon Woods at Alvamar. She was cremated and, at her direction, there will be no service of any kind.

Professor Boyd was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., the daughter of James Gray Boyd and Elspeth Mossop Boyd. A graduate of New Dorp High School on Staten Island, Prof. Boyd received her B.A. from Brooklyn College, and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Columbia University. Prof. Boyd enjoyed a long career marked by a number of substantial contributions in the field of hagiography and medieval literature, especially Chaucer studies.

After receiving her Ph.D., Prof. Boyd taught at the University of Texas at Austin (1955-59) and Radford College (1959-62), which was then the “women’s division” of Virginia Polytechnic Institute, before taking up a position as Assistant Professor at the University of Kansas. Promoted to full Professor in 1969, her career at KU was distinguished by a number of university awards, including Mortarboard Outstanding Educator Award (1976), election to its Women’s Hall of Fame (1977), and the English department’s Edward F. Grier Award for Research-based Teaching (1991). Her outstanding teaching was further recognized in 2005 with the Fry Award.

Dr. Boyd made her publishing debut as a medievalist with “Chaucer’s Prioress: Her Green Gauds,” in Modern Language Quarterly in 1950, which was based on her master’s thesis. Over the succeeding decades she continued to enrich the field of medieval studies with such articles as “Wiclif and the Sarum Ordinal,” in Medium Aevum (1960); “Whatever Happened to Chaucer’s Renaissance?” in Fifteenth Century Studies (1978); “Phillippine Duchesne,” in Mystics Quarterly (1988), one of several articles she wrote that helped support St. Phillippine’s canonization and led to Dr. Boyd’s being honored with the Rose Phillippine Duchesne Award from the Archdiocese of Kansas City; “The Infamous b-Text of the Canterbury Tales,” in Manuscripta (1990); and, more recently, “Ewelme Church, Oxfordshire: Heraldic Glass of Chaucer’s Family,” in Stained Glass (2005).

Several of Dr. Boyd’s full-length studies are considered standards in her field. Among them are Chaucer and the Liturgy (Dorrance, 1967); Chaucer and the Medieval Book (Huntington Library, 1973), which she wrote with support of her Guggenheim Fellowship; and The Prioress’s Tale, Part 20 of A Variorum Edition of the Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, edited by Paul G. Ruggiers (University of Oklahoma Press, 1987); Chaucer and the Taverners of Ipswich (Mellen, 2015).

Her work has been supported by the Guggenheim Foundation, the Huntington Library, American Council of Learned Societies, the American Philosophical Society, and the Ford Foundation. Prof. Boyd received the Distinguished Alumna Award from her alma mater, Brooklyn College, CUNY, in 1979, and has been honored by inclusion in Who’s Who in the Midwest, Who’s Who of Women, and Who’s Who in American Education.

Messages & Condolences

From Greg Hurd...

My life has been deeply enriched by having known Prof. Boyd. Her teaching was second-to-none as I experienced first-hand in her course on Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. What a thrill to have had not only access to an illuminated manuscript but to have plumbed the text itself led by one of the world’s leading scholars on the subject. Closer to home, Prof. Boyd was always encouraging me as a writer which helped me pursue writing over these many years in a variety of forms. Beverly Boyd was, and always will be, a blessing to me and I am grateful for her life so well lived.

From Dick Eversole...

Beverly was one of the last of a remarkable generation of dedicated women scholars who were singular credits to their departments. She was personally a kind and supportive friend.

From Gerald Denning...

After transferring from WSU to KU to pursure a doctorate in linsguistics, one of my first, and most memorable, classes was Professor Boyd’s graduate course on Chaucer – a real treat. She had the perfect balance among being clear, scholarly, and personal. I shall never forget her making several important points with reference to one of the field’s icons: “D.W. Robertson.” No doubt, she herself will continue to receive many similar references. In addition, her work in hagiography resulted in a beautifully etched window in honor of St. Phillippine Duchesne at my place of worship, St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center in Lawrence.

From Daniel J. Ransom...

Beverly was a pioneer in the Variorum Chaucer project, producing one of the early Canterbury Tale fascicles, The Prioress’s Tale, an arduous task approached with zeal and completed with grace.

From Barry Baddock...

What a unique lady!
As a British grad student, I signed up with Beverley in my first semester in Kansas, back in 1970. I could have wished for no better start. Beverley was a superb blend of open-hearted companion and scholarly guide. In the 48 years which followed, we never lost touch. Indeed, we reunited and dined often, on both sides of the Atlantic.
To one of my great American friends, farewell and thankyou.

From Janet Sharistanian...

Although Beverly and I were in very different fields (mine is modern American literature), she was very welcoming to me when I joined the department in 1971, a time when there were few women in the department.

From Jerry Masinton...

Beverly was always a genial, encouraging colleague as well as a good friend. We all respected her scholarly work a great deal, I’m not sure how many people know it, but she had a sharp sense of humor.

From Antha Cotten-Spreckelmeyer...

Beverly was a wonderful teacher, mentor, friend and colleague. She will be missed.

From Kirk and Becky Ruhl...

Beverly was an amazing woman who completed many awesome accomplishments in her life. We are so glad that we had the pleasure of getting to know this wonderful lady. She will be missed.

From Katie Conrad...

Beverly was a wonderful and energetic colleague well into retirement. I will miss her as will all who knew her. For those interested in her career, please visit her Women’s Hall of Fame entry here: https://emilytaylorcenter.ku.edu/womens-hall-o…/boyd-beverly

From Marlene Bendon...

Beverly was a wonderful lady and a very good friend. I met Beverly while helping to take care of her mother and we became close friends. She was an amazing lady and loved to travel and spread her knowledge on Chaucer in writing books, giving lectures on the subject whenever she could. She had asked me what a good dog would be to get after her mother passed and she got Pepper a schnauzer that I know she loved with all her heart. Beverly will always be in my heart and she will be very missed. Condolences to her family and friends. Thank you Brenda and Matt she thought the world of both of you!!!!

From Dick and Virginia Hardin...

Beverly was a dedicated Chaucer scholar, giving a scholarly paper as recently as last fall. Her medieval scholarship was in some ways an extension of her dedicated Catholicism, so we’re surprised that no services are planned.

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