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Ruth S. Rafferty papers

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MS 0824

Scope and Contents

The Ruth S. Rafferty Papers consist of correspondence, a journal, essays and other writings, a scrapbook, memorabilia, a biographical note, obituaries, and photographs. The material in the collection primarily documents her social and academic life as a high school and Mount Holyoke College student and her subsequent work as a summer camp counselor and teacher. In five detailed letters written to her mother during her freshman year at Mount Holyoke, 1911-1912, she discusses parties, faculty members, campus food, a basketball game, a Mountain Day excursion, and her grades. Letters written during the summer of 1915 after her graduation from Mount Holyoke describe her activities as a counselor at a summer camp in Maine. The remaining eighteen letters in the collection reflect her life as a high school teacher in Hudson, New York. She discusses the size of the classroom, her students and colleagues, her workload, the lack of experienced teachers, and her living expenses. She also discusses her social life. Other documents in the collection include a journal in which she describes a high school trip to Washington D.C. in about 1909 with stops at Boston, Philadelphia, and New York City. The journal includes an account of her expenses during the trip. Among her writings is a short parody of Edward Lear's works entitled Lear's Catalog that contains illustrations of plant species such as the Armcharia Comfortabilis,Smalltoothcombia Domestica, and Manypeeplia Upsidonia. The scrapbook dating from circa 1911-1926 contains newspaper clippings that mention her activities in high school and at Mount Holyoke, as well as several snapshots of Rafferty and her friends. Rounding out the collection are several programs, certificates, and greeting cards, her grammar school and high school diplomas, biographical notes and obituaries from 1921-1926, and more photographs of Rafferty and others.


  • Creation: ca. 1905-1926
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1911 - 1926

Conditions Governing Access


Conditions Governing Use


Biographical Note

Ruth Sherburne Rafferty was born in San Francisco, California on September 5, 1892 to Thomas E. Rafferty, an interior decorator, and Florence A. Rafferty. Her family moved to Methuen, Massachusetts in 1896 and she graduated from Methuen High School. She attended Mount Holyoke College from 1911-1915 and received her B.A. in 1915, graduating with a major in English. In the summer of 1915 she worked as a camp counselor in Maine and in the fall of 1915 she became an English teacher at Hudson (New York) High School. She was a student of journalism at Columbia University between 1917-1918. In 1918 she became secretary and editor of the Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly. She taught English at the Thurston Preparatory School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the Buckingham School in Cambridge, Massachusetts between 1921-1925. She died in Methuen on July 9, 1926 at the age of thirty-three.


0.42 Linear Feet (1 full Hollinger box)

Language of Materials



Rafferty, Ruth Sherburne, 1892-1926; Student, summer camp counselor and secondary school English teacher. Mount Holyoke College graduate, 1915. Papers contain correspondence, a journal, essays and other writings (including her illustrated parody of Edward Lear's works), a scrapbook, memorabilia, a biographical note, obituaries, and photographs. Primarily concerning a high school trip to Washington, D.C. in 1909, her academic and social activities as a Mount Holyoke student, and her work as a summer camp counselor and secondary school English teacher in 1915.


Arranged in seven series. Series 1. Correspondence. Series 2. Journal. Series 3. Writings. Series 4. Scrapbook. Series 5. Memorabilia. Series 6. Biographical Information. Series 7. Photographs.

Ruth S. Rafferty papers, circa 1905-1926
Finding Aid
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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