Skip to main content

MacLaren papers

Identifier: MS 0827

Scope and Contents

The Katharine H. MacLaren Papers consist of correspondence, diaries, a scrapbook, memorabilia, an obituary, and photographs. This material chiefly reflects her experiences and activities as a student at Mount Holyoke College from 1922-1926. In letters to her parents she discusses friendships and dates, parties and dances, sports events (such as the first horse show at Mount Holyoke held in May, 1923), traditions such as Mountain Day and Junior Show, clothing, her expenses, and room choosing. She describes her service on various College committees, including the judicial board of the student government association, and mentions social and political interests of students. She also refers to students bobbing their hair and breaking regulations such as a ban on smoking. Her letters from January, 1923, refer to the fire that destroyed Rockfeller Dormitory. In addition, she frequently discusses her studies, particularly in economics and English, and often mentions faculty members Margaret Ball, Jeannette Augustus Marks, Amy Hewes, Ethel Barbara Dietrich, Alzada Comstock, Leslie Gale Burgevin, and Sarah Lois Staples, a dormitory head. Included is her correspondence with friends and family during her post-graduation European Tour entitled "Around the Baltic," and arranged by the International Confederation of Students. She visited Sweden, France, Germany, Switzerland, Finland, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. Her diary dates from 1922-1926 and contains brief descriptions of her activities and references to her health. She also mentions "crushes and mashes" and discussions about sex among students, offers more details about her relationships with men than her letters provide, and refers to the decline of religious life at the College. Her travel diary depicts a student tour of Europe in the mid 1920s written by a buoyant and enterprising college student. Her scrapbook dates from 1922-1928 and contains a chart of her body measurements from freshman year as well as programs and notes reflecting her social and academic activities. Other material in the collection consists of her letters to her family from Pine Tree Camp in Pocono Pines, Pennsylvania where she stayed in July 1919. The collection also includes letters and original poems and drawings sent to MacLaren by a boyfriend named Samuel H. Bryant, as well as letters from her parents, her husband, Allan B. MacLaren, and several Mount Holyoke classmates, particularly Josephine Fellows, Helen Wismer Thurber, Anne A. Noble McKeachie, M. Adelaide Lehan, Mary Elizabeth Steinmetz, and Margaret B. Ream. Of note is Ream's letter from July 12, 1924 in which she explains that she wanted to keep at a distance to avoid a "possible crush" between the two women. Rounding out the collection are programs and other memorabilia ca. 1922-1938, and photographs of MacLaren alone, with friends and relatives, and from her European trip, ca. 1922-1926, 1994.


  • Creation: 1919 - 2002
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1919 - 1935

Conditions Governing Access


Conditions Governing Use


Biographical Note

Katharine Yoder Hook, a 1926 Mount Holyoke College alumna and a registered nurse, was born on June 27, 1905 in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. She was the daughter of Harry E. Hook, an assistant manager at the A. Wilhelm Company, and Hannah Yoder Hook. She went to the High School for Girls in Reading, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1926 and majored in economics and sociology. In 1926 she received secretarial training at Canton Actual Business College, Canton, OH. In 1932 she received her R.N. degree from the Francis Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University. In 1933 she received a certificate in Physiotherapy from Harvard Medical School. On June 9, 1934 she married Allan Booth MacLaren and they had 3 children. She worked as a registered nurse. She died at ninety-seven on September 21, 2002 in McKinleyville, California.


7 boxes (Class of 1926?)

Language of Materials



MacLaren, Katharine Yoder Hook, 1905-2002; Nurse. Mount Holyoke College graduate, 1926. Papers consist of correspondence, diaries, a scrapbook, memorabilia, an obituary and photographs. Primarily documenting her life as a student at Mount Holyoke College, 1922-1926, and the first few years after graduation. Included are her letters from summer camp in 1919, her correspondence and memorabilia from a 1926 European trip, and letters from her husband, Allan Booth MacLaren.

MacLaren Papers, 1919-2002 (bulk 1919-1935)
Edited Full Draft
Finding aid prepared by Ralitsa Donkova.
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