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Eleanor Bird Light papers

Identifier: MS 0835

Scope and Contents

The Eleanor Bird Light Papers consist of correspondence, a scrapbook, and a photograph. This material chiefly concern her years as a student at Mount Holyoke College, 1965-1969, particularly her junior year abroad at the Womens Christian College (W.C.C.) in Madras, India in 1967-1968. While abroad in India, Light wrote to her parents at least once a week. Her letters describe the extreme poverty she encountered in India as well as the intense heat that was immediately apparent upon her arrival in Bombay. Other topics discussed include the W.C.C. curriculum, Indian food, her stay in an Indian hospital because of a gastro-intestinal illness, and her African-American friend, Jackie, whom Light felt had a particularly difficult time being accepted by the Indian students. She also describes her travel experiences while in India, including her explorations to Hindu temples and her stays in Indian households. Her travels took her to Hyderabad, Kerala, Benares, Bangalore, Mysore, New and Old Delhi, Calcutta, Bombay and the Tagore Community. Her scrapbook consists primarily of color snapshots of the W.C.C., including buildings and students. There are also photographs of Kancheevaram, the City of Temples and Silk Mills, and the Cooum River. The photograph is her Mount Holyoke College senior class portrait from 1969.


  • Creation: 1967-1969

Conditions Governing Access


Conditions Governing Use

Use of the collection is governed by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S.C.).

Biographical Note

Eleanor Bird Light, a newspaper copy editor and graduate of Mount Holyoke College, was born on March 6, 1947 in Glee Ridge, New Jersey to William Underhill Light, a marine insurance adjustor, and his wife Eleanor Bird McElrath, a 1932 graduate of Mount Holyoke College and an elementary school librarian. Light attended the River Dell Regional High School until her entrance to Mount Holyoke College in September of 1965. She majored in religion and graduated in 1969. She then obtained a Master of Arts in Teaching from Reed College in Portland, Oregon. In 1976, Light worked as an Associate Editor for Prentice- Hall, Inc. and then re-located to Memphis, Tennessee where she worked as a newspaper copy editor for the Commercial Appeal.


1 boxes (Class of 1969)

Language of Materials



Light, Eleanor Bird, 1947-; student, newspaper copy editor. Mount Holyoke College graduate, 1969. Papers consist of correspondence, a scrapbook, and a photograph primarily documenting her junior year abroad at the Women's Christian College in Madras, India.


The correspondence, scrapbook and photograph are arranged chronologically.

Processing Information

These papers were processed by Charlene van Dijk, 2005.

Eleanor Bird Light Papers
Finding aid prepared by Charlene van Dijk.
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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