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Linda Thayer Guilford papers

Identifier: MS 0756

Scope and Contents

The L. T. Guilford Papers consist of correspondence, writings, an autograph album, memorabilia, and biographical information. Most of the material consists of letters written by Guilford during her time as a student at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, correspondence and writings relating to the writing and publication of her book "The Use of a Life," and copies of books and articles written by Guilford. Her letters written while at Mount Holyoke, 1845-1847, contain detailed accounts of her life at the school. She describes her coursework and examinations, domestic work, daily schedule, room, expenses, sickness among students, rules, going to see a famous "Native American," and a picnic with Amherst College students. She also writes of traveling to Mount Holyoke and meeting the principal, Mary Lyon, a teacher, Abigail Moore Burgess, and her roommate, Alzina V. Pixley Rood. She discusses the marriage of a teacher, Susan Reed, to William Howard, missionary meetings, and the authors Catharine Esther Beecher and Lydia Howland Sigourney. The letters include quotations from Mary Lyon's talks and a poem. The collection contains a sketch and article by Guilford about her benefactor and teacher Frances L. Greene (later Mrs. Henry Bagg). There are also several unpublished writings relating to "The Use of a Life" (her biography of Zilpah P. Grant Banister), a short speech regarding Guilford's experience at Mount Holyoke and a copy of "The Story of a Cleveland School," her 1890 acount of her work as a teacher in Ohio. The collection also includes an autograph album with signatures from her Mount Holyoke classmates and notes about their deaths, a memorial sketch about Guilford published in 1912 by several of her classmates, an obituary, a formal photograph dated circa 1847, and a slide of the photograph.


  • Creation: 1845-1912

Conditions Governing Access


Biographical Note

Lucinda Thayer Guilford was born on November 22, 1823. Her father was a shoemaker in Lanesboro, Massachusetts who suffered from mental illness. Her mother died at a young age. In 1838 Frances L. Greene, principal of a newly opened private school for girls in Lanesboro, hired Guilford as an assistant. At age sixteen, Guilford also began working at the Crane Paper Mill in Dalton, Massachusetts. With the support of Greene, Guildford entered the middle class of Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in 1845 and graduated in 1847. Guilford taught in Watertown, New York, and then went to Cleveland, Ohio in 1848 to be the principal of a new female seminary. At this time she changed her first name to Linda, the nickname that her brothers had given her. Guilford remained in Cleveland for the next thirty years, teaching at the Cleveland Female Seminary and then at the Cleveland Academy, which she founded in 1860. She was also president of the Ohio Women's Press Club for a number of years and was active in the temperance movement, writing a number of temperance articles and a book entitled "Margaret's Plighted Troth." Guilford also wrote the books "The Story of Cleveland School," 1890, and "The Use of a Life," 1885, a biography of Zilpah P. Grant Banister. On March 1, 1911 Guilford died at the age of eighty-seven in Cleveland.


2 boxes (1847)

Language of Materials



Guilford, Linda (b. Lucinda) Thayer, 1823-1911; Teacher. Founder of Cleveland Academy, 1860. Mount Holyoke Female Seminary graduate, 1847. Papers contain correspondence, writings, an autograph album, memorabilia, biographical information, and photographs. Primarily concerning her academic and social activities as a Mount Holyoke student and her work as a teacher.


Arranged in 6 series: Series 1. Correspondence. Series 2. Writings. Series 3. Autograph Album. Series 4. Memorabilia. Series 5. Biographical Information. Series 6. Photographs

Guilford papers, 1845-1912.
Finding Aid
Edited Full Draft
#169; 2003
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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