Wellesley High School Writer: Beth Hinchliffe
Beth Hinchliffe, Wellesley’s official town historian, award-winning playwright and author of non-fiction, and White House speechwriter to President George H.W. Bush, credits her literary career to “the extraordinary inspiration, mentorship, and nurturing of my WHS English teachers — the iconic Jeanie Goddard, the brilliant Susan Alexander, and the legendary Wilbury Crockett.”
After WHS, she graduated from Wellesley College, completed her graduate work in English literature at the University of Cambridge, and did a post-graduate fellowship in political literature at Trinity College, Dublin. In Wellesley, the town where she was born, she has written for the Townsman since she was 12, and served as Editor. She also wrote the official town history book (Five Pounds Currency, Three Pounds of Corn), and has published hundreds of articles about Wellesley life and history.
Internationally, Beth has received awards for non-fiction articles, essays, and plays (inspired by historical events, such as the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland; and the life of Sylvia Plath, in a play which was selected for production at the Edinburgh International Festival).
After writing speeches for a Member of British Parliament, and then for U.S. Health & Human Services Secretary Margaret Heckler, Beth became speechwriter to President Bush, writing the second greatest number of speeches for him during his presidency; focusing on international policies and the signing of legislation such as the Americans With Disabilities Act. She continued to write his speeches in his retirement.
Beth and her 10th grade English teacher Jeanie Goddard created “Roots and Wings: Wellesley High School’s Legacy of Nurturing Creativity” to celebrate the school’s unique contribution to literature. For generations, extraordinary writers — embraced, encouraged, and inspired by their teachers — have graduated from WHS and enriched the country through their writing: a remarkable literary legacy.