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Dakin papers

 Collection
Identifier: MS 0674

Scope and Contents

The Janet Frances Wilder Dakin Papers consist of course records, writings, Christianna Smith Retirement Gift Fund Records, Parliamentarian's Records for the Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College, Mount Holyoke College Equestrian Center Steering Committee Records, biographical information, and photographs. The course records reflect Dakin's course work as an undergraduate at Mount Holyoke College. They are for courses in art and zoology, taken 1931-1932, and they consist of studio work, notes, and laboratory drawings. The course records from the University of Chicago date from 1936-ca. 1939 and include a paper written by Dakin and a notebook filled with data, charts, and graphs from Dakin's research on elodea and yeast. Dakin's writings include several published papers reflecting her studies of insect life, 1936-1940. Her writings also include a book review, 1938, an autobiographical sketch, ca. 1976, and a class letter written for the fiftieth reunion of her Class of 1933 at Mount Holyoke College in 1983. The Christianna Smith Retirement Gift Fund Records contain financial records listing contributors' names, their donations, and expenses and deposits for the fund, which was set up to honor a member of the Mount Holyoke College faculty. The Parliamentarian's Records reflect Dakin's work as Parliamentarian for the Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College, 1967-1976, and include her reviews of various Alumnae Association documents as well as a job description of Alumnae Association Parliamentarian, probably written by Dakin. The Mount Holyoke College Equestrian Center Steering Committee Records consist of plans, progress reports, agenda, drafts, and correspondence relating to the planning for and construction of an equestrian center at Mount Holyoke College, 1983-1986. The biographical information dates from 1933-1995 and chiefly consists of newspaper clippings concerning Dakin's engagement, marriage, environmental work, awards, donation of property to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, her book, "Jeffy's Journal," and her death. The photographs consist of two copies of her senior photograph taken at Mount Holyoke College, 1933, and a formal photograph taken in about 1975.

Dates

  • 1931-1995

Conditions Governing Access

Unrestricted

Biographical Note

Janet Frances Wilder was born on June 3, 1910, in Berkeley, California to Amos Parker Wilder and Isabella Niven Wilder. Her father was a consul general in China and then the editor of the New Haven "Journal Courier." She attended high school in New Haven, Connecticut. She then went to Mount Holyoke College from 1929-1933, graduating magna cum laude with a degree in zoology. She earned her M.A. in zoology from Mount Holyoke College in 1935 and her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1939. After graduating from the University of Chicago, she returned to Mount Holyoke College as an instructor of zoology. She retired from teaching in 1941 after marrying Winthrop S. Dakin, a lawyer and later a trustee of Hampshire College. She was very active in civic and alumnae organizations. Dakin pushed for state and federal legislative action for the preservation of open land for wildlife, and for recreational and educational purposes. She was the first chairperson of the Blue Start Highway, a beautification project for Route 1 in Massachusetts. Dakin became interested in parliamentary process through her work with the League of Women Voters and became a Certified Professional Parliamentarian of the American Institute of Parliamentarians. She served as parliamentarian for conventions of the League of Women Voters and for the Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College. She also served on the Mount Holyoke College Equestrian Center Steering Committee. Dakin was a charter member of the Amherst Conservation Commission from 1962-1974, which worked to preserve the Holyoke Range. In 1970, she founded and served as Executive Director of the Kestrel Trust, a private land trust which acquired land in neighboring communities for conservation purposes as a part of the Conservation Commission. Dakin also raised and rode horses, and in the 1950s she wrote a series of articles for "Morgan Horse Magazine" in which she described her experiences raising a Morgan horse. These articles were published in 1990 as a book called "Jeffy's Journal." In 1979 she raised $250,000 from private funds for the Equine Center Project at the University of Massachusetts. The Dakins later donated their Amherst home and the surrounding land to the University of Massachusetts. In 1982 she founded Friends of Amherst's Stray Animals. Dakin received many awards for her work, including the Volunteer Achievement Award from the Mount Holyoke Alumnae Association in 1975 and the Conservation Award from The Trustees of Reservations in 1978. She died on October 7, 1994 in Amherst, Massachusetts, at the age of eighty-four.

Extent

1 boxes (Faculty/Staff Wilder)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

Dakin, Janet Frances Wilder, 1910-1994; conservationist and environmentalist. Mount Holyoke College graduate, 1933 and M.A., 1935. Papers consist of course records, writings, Christianna Smith Retirement Gift Fund records, Parliamentarian's record for the Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke, Mount Holyoke College Equestrian Center Steering Committee records, biographical information, and photographs primarily documenting her academic work in zoology, her career as an environmentalist and her participation in the Mount Holyoke community.

Arrangement

Arranged in eight series. Series 1. Course Records: Mount Holyoke College. Series 2. Course Records: University of Chicago. Series 3. Writings. Series 4. Christianna Smith Retirement Gift Fund Records. Series 5. Parliamentarian's Records: Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College. Series 6. Mount Holyoke College Equestrian Center Steering Committee Records. Series 7. Biographical Information. Series 8. Photographs.
Title
Dakin papers, 1931-1995.
Status
Edited Full Draft
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections Repository

Contact:
50 College Street
8 Dwight Hall
South Hadley MA 01075-6425 USA
413-538-3079