Elsie van Buren

May 28, 1927 ~ March 23, 2020 (age 92)


Dr. Elsie Procter van Buren, 92, of Hancock, and recently of Peterborough, died on March 23, 2020, at the RiverMead Life Care Community after a period of failing health.  Elsie was born on May 28, 1927, in Cincinnati, OH, the daughter of Harold Sheffield van Buren, Jr., and Charlotte (Matthews) van Buren.

Elsie was a 1948 graduate of Radcliffe College and received a Ph.D. in English Literature from Tufts University in 1979.  In her earlier years, she was a serious and skilled mountain climber. She taught English Literature at various times at Boston University, Northeastern University, and Tufts University.  In 1981, Elsie moved to Peterborough and became a parishioner at the All Saints’ Church.  She was a dedicated supporter and member of the Peterborough Players.  An avid conservationist and political activist, she also served on the board of the Union of Concerned Scientists.  

Elsie was predeceased by her son, Charles Thorburn van Buren Davisson, who died in 1986; her brothers, Harold Sheffield van Buren, III, and Paul Matthews van Buren; and her children’s father, William Henry Porter Davisson, Sr.

Elsie is survived by her son William Henry Porter Davisson, Jr., of Haiku, Maui, HI; her late son Charles’s daughters, Catherine Davisson Bye (Philip Bye) of Washington, D.C., and Ariane Davisson (Jess Torres) of Somerville, MA; her step-grandson, Benjamin Boult, of Brooklyn, NY; her great-grandchildren Jackson, William, and Elisabeth Bye (Catherine) and Naomi Davisson Torres (Ariane); her daughter-in-law, Lisa Bob, of Lexington, MA; her honorary New Hampshire family, Judy and Gregory Blake, and their children, Isaac and Grayson, of Peterborough; and many nieces and nephews.

Services will be announced at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Elsie’s memory to The League of Conservation Voters, 740 15th Street NW, 7th Floor, Washington, DC 20005,, or Home Healthcare, Hospice and Community Services, PO Box 654, Keene, NH 03431,


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