Alice Mackenzie Swaim, internationally renowned poet, was born on June 5, 1911, at Craigdam, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, of distinguished parents, the Reverend Dr. Donald Campbell Mackenzie, and Alice Annand Murray Mackenzie, both honor graduates of the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, holding Master of Arts degrees. Alice had three siblings, Elizabeth, Donald, and Janet.
Alice’s husband William (retired Presbyterian minister, administrator of the Presbyterian Homes, Inc., in Pennsylvania, an historian, prolific writer and nationally recognized expert in gerontology) wrote in his autobiography, Double--Quick for a Lifetime, “Seldom did a poetically inclined child ever set forth on life’s voyage on a calmer sea than Alice did, nor with more intellectual and cultural sails set higher and in the right direction. Alice is the product of intellectual parents and of a cultural environment extraordinaire. The many poems that she creates today can have classical allusions because in childhood and youth she read practically all of the classics . . . “ noting further, “During summer vacations the Mackenzie family saw and studied the cities, cathedrals, and museums of Europe.”
Alice remembered her early years in Scotland as idyllic and wrote often of the beauty of those days and of her childhood by the sea. In 1928, when she was just seventeen years of age, the family emigrated to America and settled in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where her father, a professor of Biblical Theology, taught – first at the Western Theological Seminary and later at Princeton Theological Seminary. Alice’s early education took place at Tain Royal Academy in Scotland. In America, she by-passed high school and studied at Chatham College, formerly the Pennsylvania College for Women, for two years (1928-30) and then transferred to Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, where she received her B.A. degree, in 1932. In 1939, Alice became a naturalized citizen of the United States of America...
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