Francis Harvey Green was born May 19, 1861 to Sharpless and Mary Booth Green in Booth’s Corner, a small town in Bethel Township, Delaware County, PA. In 1911, he married Gertrude Heritage, a graduate of Bryn Mawr College. He attended West Chester Normal School, earning his BA in 1882. After spending time at Amherst College and Harvard University, he earned an MA from Dickinson College in 1893. He began his career in Juniata College’s English Department, and was head of the department from 1884 to 1888.
In 1888, Green joined the English Department at West Chester Normal School, and became head of the department in 1890, a position he held for the next thirty-three years.
Green edited several books of quotations, and also wrote poetry himself; he once submitted an annual report of the Historical Society in verse. He wrote school songs for West Chester, one of which can be seen to the left. He was a popular lecturer on literature, with engagements all along the Eastern seaboard and in the Midwest, and continued to give lectures up to his death.
He was a devout Christian, and encouraged West Chester students in their Christianity, serving as president of the YMCA for many years. He was also active in local organizations, particularly the Historical Society of Chester County, of which he was president.
Green left West Chester in 1922 and became headmaster of the Pennington Seminary for Boys in Pennington, New Jersey. He was evidently a popular administrator, since in May 1941 a three-day tribute was held in Green’s honor at the Pennington School. In 1943, he retired from Pennington after 21 years of service there. He still had a reputation at West Chester, and in 1947 a building was dedicated to him: the Francis Harvey Green Library.
At the ground-breaking ceremony for a public school named after him in Bethel Township, Green wielded the shovel himself. He didn’t live to see the dedication of the Francis Harvey Green School, however, as he passed away January 31, 1951. He was interred at Siloam Cemetery, in his hometown Booth’s Corner.
Scrapbook. Francis Harvey Green Collection, Special Collection and Archives, West Chester University.
Serpentine, 1910. West Chester University.
“West Chester Normal School Hymn.” 1919. Series 2, Subseries 2, Folder 7. Francis Harvey Green Collection, Special Collection and Archives, West Chester University.