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Collins papers

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MS 0780

Scope and Contents

The Mary Jane Collins Papers consist of correspondence, a notebook, a memorial sermon, a photograph, and a portrait. Most of this material relates to her years as a student at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, 1856-1858. In four letters to her parents, 1857-1858, she describes her clothing, expenses, and study of music, which included piano lessons. She also describes her poor health, including throat ailments, neuralgia, and problems with her teeth, and asks for food from home. The notebook dates from 1857-1858 and includes original poetry by Mount Holyoke Female Seminary students that were part of writings at the school known as "Seminary Literature." The notebook includes poetry about a child of Paul A. Chadbourne, a popular visiting lecturer at Mount Holyoke. The memorial sermon by the Reverend George Oviatt, delivered on September 18, 1859 and published in 1860, describes Collin's childhood, her personality, her religious faith, her studies at Mount Holyoke, and her declining health and death. The collection also includes a photograph of Collins and a framed oil on paperboard color portrait of her (29 x 39 inches) by an unidentified artist.


  • Creation: 1856-1859

Conditions Governing Access


Biographical Note

Mary Jane Collins was born on February 16, 1840 in Somers, Connecticut to Noah Chapin Collins and Elvira Billings Collins. She attended Mount Holyoke Female Seminary from 1856-1858, but suspended her studies when she contracted typhoid fever in the summer of 1857. She developed "lung fever" (probably tuberculosis) in January 1859 and died on September 18, 1859 at the age of nineteen in Somers, Connecticut.


0.21 Linear Feet (1 half Hollinger box)

Language of Materials



Collins, Mary Jane, 1840-1859; student. Attended Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, 1856-1858. Papers contain correspondence, a notebook, a memorial sermon, a photograph, and a portrait concerning primarily her life as a Mount Holyoke student. Includes references to her health, expenses, clothing, and study of music.

Collins papers, 1856-1859.
Finding Aid
Edited Full Draft
© 2003
Language of description
Script of description
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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