Skip to main content

Sarah Packard Holden papers

Identifier: MS 0715

Scope and Contents

The Sarah Daniels Packard Holden Papers consist of journals, correspondence, notebooks, compositions, biographical information, a diploma, and a photograph. Most of this material relates to her years as a student at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, 1844-1846. The Mount Holyoke-related items include a letter written by Holden on March 22, 1844, and journals compiled in 1844 and 1845. In these documents Holden discusses her course work, schedule, roommates, religious life, the school's interest in the financial support of missionaries, the daily walking requirement, a Mountain Day excursion in 1845, Mary Lyon, her room in the Seminary Building, and caring for ill students. Three compositions dating from 1845-1846 concern the story of Pocahontas, the life and death of one of Holden's friends, and the power of memory and remembrance. Three notebooks contain calisthenic exercises, lists of plants that were probably collected for a botany class, and several original poems and songs written by Mount Holyoke students, ca. 1840-1846, that are examples of what has come to be known as Seminary Literature. The notebook of these writings also includes poems and songs dating from 1838-ca. 1843 and written by students in the "High school" in Medway, Massachusetts, that Holden attended before coming to Mount Holyoke. This collection also includes twelve letters dating from 1847-1866. One of these letters was written by Holden to her mother in 1847; the others were written to Holden by her parents, a cousin, and friends, including a Mount Holyoke classmate, Mary Susan Rice. These letters chiefly discuss news of family and friends, child care, death, national events, and religion. Of particular note is a letter from Rice dated August 13, 1866, in which she describes her work as a teacher and missionary at the Fiske Seminary in Orumiyeh, Persia (now Iran). Other items in the collection consist of Holden's Mount Holyoke diploma from 1846, a biographical note about her, ca. 1907, and a formal photograph of her dating from about 1860.


  • Creation: 1838-1907
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1844 - 1864

Conditions Governing Access


Biographical Note

Sarah Daniels Packard was born on October 29, 1827 to Congregational minister Levi Packard and Clarissa Sanford Packard in Spencer, Massachusetts. She attended school in Medway, Massachusetts before entering Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in 1844. After graduating in 1846, she returned to Spencer to teach. She married hardware store owner James Cotton Holden in 1850 and lived in New York City. They had three children and in 1861 moved to Madison, New Jersey. She died in Madison on January 13, 1907, at the age of seventy-nine.


1 boxes (1846 Packard)

Language of Materials



Holden, Sarah Daniels Packard, 1827-1907; Student. Mount Holyoke Female Seminary graduate, 1846. Papers contain journals, correspondence, notebooks, biographical information, a diploma, and photographs. Primarily pertaining to her daily activities and social events at Mount Holyoke.


Arranged in 7 series. Series 1. Journals. Series 2. Correspondence. Series 3. Notebooks. Series 4. Compositions. Series 5. Biographical Information. Series 6. Diploma. Series 7. Photograph.

Holden papers, 1838-1907 (bulk 1844-1864)
Edited Full Draft
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

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