Helen Hazard Bacon (1919-2007) taught Classics at Barnard from 1961 to her retirement in 1989. Her academic training was acquired at Berkeley, Harvard and Bryn Mawr (AB 1940; PhD 1955). In World War II she served in the Navy as a cryptographer. She began her teaching career at Smith, where she was tenured but left following her defending the civil rights of two gay male colleagues. During her Barnard years, she taught regularly at Columbia and the Bread Loaf School in Middlebury, Vermont. Among her professional recognitions were fellowships from the American Association of University Women and the American Academy in Rome. She was a Director of the American Philological Association (1976-79) and in 1985 its president, the fourth woman elected to that office in over 100 years.
Helen's scholarship was ahead of its time and helped to introduce and legitimate literary criticism within the highly conservative discipline of Classics. Her books include Barbarians in Greek Tragedy (Yale U.P., 1961) and a translation of Aeschylus' Seven Against Thebes, co-authored with Anthony Hecht (Oxford U.P., 1975), that was nominated for a National Book Award. Throughout her career, Helen was immensely supportive to younger scholars, and especially, as an early feminist, to women.