David Thompson Watson McCord was born on December 15, 1897, in New York. A poet and fundraiser, McCord grew up in Portland, Oregon. He received both a BA and MA from Harvard University and briefly served in the military at the end of World War I. In 1922, McCord became associate editor for the Harvard Alumni Bulletin, where he served as editor from 1940 to 1946. He was also executive director of the Harvard College Fund for thirty-eight years.
McCord, who has been widely recognized for his children's poetry, wrote and edited over fifty works of poetry and prose. He was the recipient of Harvard University's first honorary doctorate of humane letters, the first NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a National Institute of Arts and Letters grant. He died on April 13, 1997, in Boston, Massachusetts.