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Crampton, Mary Hope St. Clair  
Memoirs "Chronicles of Small Beer"

MSS 0179


Mary Hope St Clair Crampton was born in Renmark, South Australia, on 18 May 1901. She studied Arts at the University of Adelaide, completing her BA in 1923 with Class II Honours in Classics. She subsequently enrolled in an MA, which she was awarded in 1926 and for which she presented credits in English III, French III and Philosophy. Her thesis was a comparative study of Shelley and the French Parnassian poet Leconte de Lisle.

In 1930, she was appointed as an assistant lecturer and tutor in French at the University of Adelaide, joining her father, who had commenced duties there in 1918 as Lecturer in French Language and Teacher of French in the Elder Conservatorium.

Hope Crampton’s primary area of responsibility was the development of speaking skills in French. She established a ‘French Language Club’, where students could practise their oral skills. Participation in the Adelaide University French Club, as it was renamed in 1952, remained compulsory for undergraduate students of French until 1958.

Hope Crampton was the first woman appointed to a position in modern languages at the University of Adelaide. She was also the first member of staff in French to record a publication. Her 1935 textbook Gaudissart: A Guide to Better French Pronunciation and Brighter French Conversation (Melbourne, OUP), was widely used in schools and remained a set text for French I over many years. Hope was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1950. Beyond the university, she was an active member of the Alliance Française in Adelaide and a keen promoter of good relations between France and Australia.

In 1962, the year after her retirement, the Adelaide University French Club provided £100 in order to establish a prize in her honour. It stands as an enduring reminder of her contribution to French at the University and of her role as founder of the club for which she was the driving force for over thirty years.

Hope Crampton died at 95 on 8 August 1996.

Adapted from The French-Australian Dictionary of Biography.


Typescript memoirs of Mary’s travels after her retirement in 1961. Covering visits to Europe, Russia, Turkey and New Guinea.

4 volumes. Typewritten and housed in spring back bindings. Includes sketches, postcards, watercolour paintings, and photographs tipped in throughout. 674p total.

University Library

Barr Smith Library
South Australia 5005


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