Skip to main content

Mount Holyoke College war collection

 Record Group
Identifier: RG 30

Scope and Contents

The Mount Holyoke College War Collection documents the impact of various wars on Mount Holyoke students, administrators, faculty, and alumnae. Materials date from 1860 to the present and are arranged in nine series for the following conflicts: the United States Civil War (1861-1865), World War I (1914-1918), the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), World War II (1939-1945), the Korean War (1950-1953), the Vietnam War (1961-1973), the Persian Gulf War (1991), the Afghan War (2001-present); and the Iraq War (2003-present).

United States Civil War Materials consist of copies of newspaper articles (1860, 1864) concerning the elections of Abraham Lincoln as United State President and the patriotism of Mount Holyoke students. There are also recollections (1908, 1912) by two alumnae, Sarah Pomeroy Parsons and Anna C. Edwards, about life at the school during that war.

World War I Materials (1914-1919, 1937, 1942, 1944-1945) consist of reports, correspondence, minutes, articles, notices, course descriptions, certificates, and photographs. These materials describe work done by students on the College Farm; the extra-curricular war emergency courses that provided special training to students; measures undertaken to conserve fuel and food; and campaigns to raise money in support of the war efforts. Some documents concern war relief work done by students under the direction of Romance Languages professor Mary Vance Young. These materials include Young's correspondence with members of the Commission for Relief in Belgium and the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief as well as letters (most in French) to Young or Mount Holyoke students from Belgian soldiers and civilians. There are also letters exchanged by Mount Holyoke's Dean, Florence Purington and representatives of the Intercollegiate Committee on Women's War Work Abroad, which was established to collect and classify information regarding the opportunities for War Service Aboard for women college student and alumnae. These letters chi! efly con cern alumnae who served with the American Red Cross and other organizations in France, England, and the Near East. In addition, the collection contains correspondence, course descriptions, articles, and photographs relating to a training course given at Mount Holyoke during the summer of 1918 for health officers serving women who worked in industrial plants,. Materials dating from 1937, 1942, 1944-1945 consist of reports and articles summarizing activities and programs at the College during World War I.

Spanish Civil War Materials consist of an announcement from 1939 for a mass meeting at Mount Holyoke to discuss reasons why the United States embargo on Loyalist Spain should be lifted. The meeting was sponsored by the American Student Union, the Faculty-Student Committee to Aid Republican Spain, and the International Relations Club.

World War II Materials (1939-1948, 1962-2005) consist of reports, correspondence, minutes, articles, brochures, manuals, course descriptions, newsletters, scrapbooks, lists, notes, certificates, and photographs. Materials dating from before the United States entered the war in December, 1941 primarily concern war preparedness activities at the College and students' support of war relief efforts. There are also documents from December 1940-January 1941 concerning a Federal Bureau of Investigation of four Mount Holyoke faculty members suspected of being Nazi sympathizers. Materials from the war years concern air raid precautions (A.R.P.), changes in the curriculum, farm work done by students, and Red Cross and first aid training. The A.R.P. materials include bulletins, instructions, and other records of the Committee on Public Safety of South Hadley (1941-1944). There are materials relating to special programs held at the College, including an E.S.M.D.T. (Engineering, Science, Management, and Defense Training) summer course in industrial supervision (1942), National Youth Administration Industrial War Training Programs to train young women in the use of meta! l workin g tools (1942, 1943), and an International Service Work Camp through which young women assisted with farm work and child care in local communities (1942). Other correspondence, publications, articles, and photographs concern training programs on the Mount Holyoke campus for WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) and Women Marines from 1942-1944. These materials include issues of Sounding Off, a weekly newspaper edited for the personnel of the Women's Reserve of the Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps in training at the Naval Reserve Midshipmen's School (WR) at Northampton and South Hadley, Massachusetts. Materials dating from during and after the war concern three ships (the U.S.S. Lyon, the S.S. Mary Lyon, and the S.S. Mount Holyoke Victory) used during the war . War-related activities of alumnae are documented by World War II Job Reports (1946) completed by members of the classes of 1879-1946. These questionnaires describe alumnae reactions to their war time jobs and include information about the post-war plans of these women. There are also letters, lists, and articles concerning the Mount Holyoke College group of the Universities Committee on Post-War International Problems, which encouraged faculty members to develop suggestions for dealing with issues such as the nature of the peace settlement and economic reconstruction of countries affected by the war. In addition, notes from 1975 describe cryptology courses given under the strictest confidence by faculty member Roger Holmes during the war.

Materials about the Korean War (1951) consist of correspondence, articles, and press releases. These documents concern discussion of whether the Mount Holyoke would offer a summer session of study for students and the possibility of a volunteer registration program for women to encourage support of work that supported the war effort.

Vietnam War materia! ls (1965 -1972) consist of correspondence, articles, publications, newsletters, announcements, memoranda, and photographs. These materials primarily document opinions about war on the part of students, faculty, administrators, and alumnae. Most of the materials relate to the nationwide students' strike in May, 1970 to protest the war and its extension into Cambodia. These items include copies of Consider These Are The Days, a study prepared by the Five College Research Committee of issues relating to the strike. Other documents concern the Vietnam Moratorium in October, 1969 held to organize community sentiment against the continuation of the war.

Persian Gulf Materials (1991) are comprised of announcements, articles, questionnaires, audio cassettes, and a photograph. These items primarily concern students' reactions to the war and include questionnaires completed by participants in a Gulf Crisis Survey conducted by the Student Government Association. Some materials relate to various Five College programs concerning the conflict, including a Teach-In on the Gulf Crisis held on February 14, 1991. The photograph is of students who were part of a protest march against the war.

Materials relating to the Afghan War (2001-present) and Iraq War (2003-present) consist of newspaper articles discussing responses to those conflicts by members of the Mount Holyoke Community. Many of these articles concern anti-war protests.

Material from this collection is available in an online digital format.


  • 1960

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.)

Historical Note

The Mount Holyoke College War Collection brings together a wide range of materials that show how students, faculty, administrators, and alumnae of the College responded to various wars from the United States Civil War (1861-1865) to the Iraq War (2003-present). Most of the collection consists of records created by College departments, offices, and committees, including the Office of the President, the Appointment Bureau, the News Bureau, the Public Relations Office, and the Alumnae Association. The collection also includes newspaper articles, records of local, national, and international war-related committees, and materials received from alumnae and other donors.


6.11 Linear Feet (9 full Hollinger, 5 half Hollinger, and 1 specialty boxes)

Language of Materials



Consists of reports, correspondence, minutes, course descriptions, articles, brochures, manuals, booklets, scrapbooks, newsletters, questionnaires, recollections, announcements, certificates, lists, audio cassettes, and photographs documenting the impact of various wars in the United States, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East on students, faculty, administrators, and alumnae of Mount Holyoke College. Most materials concern World War I (1914-1918), World War II (1939-1945), and the Vietnam War (1961-1975).

Processing Information

Processed by Patricia J. Albright, 1991, 2008

Mount Holyoke College War Collection, 1860-present
Finding Aid
Finding aid prepared by Patricia J. Albright.
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