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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Cruikshank, Margaret Mordecai Jones

By William S. Powell, 1979

13 Oct. 1878–26 Dec. 1955

Margaret Mordecai Cruikshank, teacher and college president, was born in Hillsborough, the daughter of Halcott Pride Jones and his wife, Olive Echols. She attended the Nash-Kollock School in Hillsborough and was graduated from St. Mary's Academy in Raleigh in 1896. She then taught at St. Mary's for three years before entering The University of North Carolina for the session of 1901–2. Returning to St. Mary's to teach for three more years, she also studied in Chapel Hill and at Teachers College, Columbia University, traveling in Europe in the summers. She was graduated from Columbia in 1911 and on 17 June married Ernest Cruikshank, business manager of St. Mary's.

Mrs. Cruikshank continued to teach at St. Mary's until 1921, when her husband became president of Columbia Institute in Tennessee. He died the following year, and she succeeded him as president. She held the position until 1932, when she was elected principal and academic head of St. Mary's Junior College, as the first woman to head the institution; the alumnae apparently played a significant role in her selection. In 1937 she earned a master's degree at Duke University. She continued to serve as head of St. Mary's until her death from a heart attack.

During her teaching career, Mrs. Cruikshank's specialties were mathematics, astronomy, German, and the Bible. She was a Democrat and an Episcopalian. She was survived by a son, Ernest, and two daughters, Mary Pride (Mrs. Frank Clark) and Olive (Mrs. Robert T. Foss).


Daniel L. Grant, Alumni History of the University of North Carolina (1924)

Raleigh News and Observer , 8 Apr. 1932, 27 Dec. 1955, 1 Jan. 1958

Who Was Who in America (1960)