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Cornelia Catlin Coulter papers

Identifier: MS 0722

Scope and Contents

The Cornelia Catlin Coulter papers consist of correspondence, reprints, newspaper clippings, Chamberlain Family Papers, and photographs. The papers document family issues; her experience as a doctoral student at Bryn Mawr between 1908 and 1911; her time abroad in London, Italy, and Germany; and her work at Bryn Mawr and Mount Holyoke College. The Chamberlain family papers document Coulter's relationship with her two sisters and their lives between 1939 and 1960. The collection also documents Coulter's career and scholarship in classics, focusing on Greek and Roman writings, through newspaper clippings and reprints. The photographs consist primarily of portraits of Coulter from ca. 1890-1952. Correspondents include, Shirley Chamberlain and Florence Chamberlain Schneiderwirth.


  • Creation: ca. 1890-1960

Conditions Governing Access


Biographical Note

Cornelia Catlin Coulter was born in 1885 in Ferguson, Missouri. Her father was a Presbyterian minister. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1907 from Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri. She earned her doctorate from Bryn Mawr College in 1911 after spending a year studying at the University of Munich in 1909-1910. Coulter was a teacher and reader of Latin at Bryn Mawr College from 1911-1912, a teacher of Latin and Greek at Saint Agnes School in New York, 1912-1916, and an instructor and associate professor of Latin and Greek at Vassar College from 1916-1925. She arrived at Mount Holyoke College in 1926, where she remained till her retirement in 1951. She was a professor of Latin (Classical Languages and Literature) and chairman of the Department from 1935-1948. After her retirement from Mount Holyoke, she taught for two years at Hiram College, 1951-1953. Coulter returned to Mount Holyoke in 1957 where she taught for one semester prior to teaching at the University of North Carolina in 1959. Coulter served as President of the New England Classical Association, the American Philological Association, and the Western Massachusetts Society of the Archaeological Institute. She died April 27, 1960, at the age of seventy-five in Newport News, Virginia.


0.21 Linear Feet (1 half Hollinger box)

Language of Materials



Coulter, Cornelia Catlin, 1890-1960; college teacher. Mount Holyoke College faculty member 1926-1951. The papers consist of correspondence, writings, biographical information, Chamberlain Family Papers, and photographs. The papers primarily document family relationships and her time at Bryn Mawr and Mount Holyoke.


Arranged in 5 series. Series 1. Correspondence. Series 2. Writings. Series 3. Biographical Information. Series 4. Chamberlain Family Papers. Series 5. Photographs.

Summary of Correspondence

These letters of Cornelia Coulter to her cousins Shirley and Florence Chamberlain were written between April 8, 1908 and February 26, 1960. They are primarily letters of family news and plans. The earliest (1908) was written while she was a graduate student at Bryn Mawr. She was in Germany and Italy in 1908-09 and then was back at Bryn Mawr in February of 1910 at the time of Bryn Mawr's 25th anniversary. In the fall semester of 1911 she was teaching eight hours a week, enjoying it, but finding it required much preparation (December 3, 1911). There is a jump, then, in her letters until 1932 when she was in ltaly. The first letter written from Mount Holyoke was April 15, 1933 although she had been teaching at the College beginning in There are a few letters written in the thirties and early forties. She retired in 1952.

On January 24, 1957 Cornelia wrote from Ferguson, Missouri, her home town, to Elizabeth Green, Head of the News Bureau, about her college reunion at Washington University where 7 of the original class of 34 in the college and school of engineering returned. In the Elizabeth responded with news of the college (August 11, 1958. On September 6, 1959 Cornelia sent out a mineo-ed letter to friends telling them she had been called back to Mount Holyoke in September 1957 to substitute in the Classics Department for someone who was ill. "It was sheer joy" she wrote. She also said she was to go to Chapel Hill in North Carolina as Visiting Professor in January. However, she wrote that her teaching was interrupted in October because of "circulatory difficulties".Her last letter is dated February 26, 1960 and is followed by two letters from her nephew, J. Richard Coulter reporting finally on her death on April 27, 1960. There is also correspondence of Shirley and Florence, her cousins, and letters written from Shirley to Cornelia.

By: CR Ludwig

May 1998

Coulter Papers, ca. 1890-1960.
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Repository Details

Part of the Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections Repository

50 College Street
8 Dwight Hall
South Hadley MA 01075-6425 USA