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Faculty and staff biographical files

 Record Group — Box: 1
Identifier: RG 19

Scope and Contents

The Mount Holyoke Faculty and Staff Biographical Files date from circa 1837 to the present and contain a wide range of materials relating to individuals (including alumnae and graduate students) who have worked at the College. The materials are arranged in three series: Articles, Directories, Press Releases, Lists, and Announcements; Group Photographs; and Files for Individual Faculty or Staff Members. The materials primarily consist of personnel records, articles, press releases, biographical forms, sketches, and notes, recollections, obituaries and tributes, and photographs. Some files contain copies or audiocassettes of lectures, speeches, panel discussions, and oral history interviews. There are also several films and DVDs concerning faculty members, among them Leonard Delonga (studio art) and Peter Viereck (history).

Of particular note in Series 1 are collections of faculty and staff profiles published in 1936/37 and 1959/60 and picture books of faculty and staff published in 1971/72, 1972/73 and 1974/75. There are also collections of Data Concerning the Faculty from 1913, 1914, and 1916 and brochures containing profiles of selected faculty in 1984 and 1988. Lists and invitations dating from 1990 to the present document an annual celebration of faculty achievements in teaching and research.

Series 2 consists of photographs of groups of faculty and staff members. The earliest image is a formal portrait of five Mount Holyoke Female Seminary teachers from 1861. There are three copies of a photograph album containing portraits of teachers in 1889. Most of the photographs fare formal, but these images also include snapshots and other informal photographs. Many of them show robed faculty in procession during College ceremonies at Commencement or Founder's Day.

Most of the materials in Series 3 consist of articles, press releases, biographical forms, sketches, and notes, obituaries and tributes, and photographs concerning faculty and staff members. Some files also contain primary sources such as letters, diaries, notebooks, drawings and other documents created by these individuals. These sources include materials reflecting the undergraduate activities of Mount Holyoke alumnae who worked for the College. The following list identifies some of these items (the class affiliation of alumnae is given in parentheses after each person's name:

Agard, Sarah Jane (1880; curator of the Botanical Museum 1900-1928). Notebooks, 1910, 1916-1918 used in botany course at the College. Contain drawings and descriptions taken from textbooks by Asa Gray. 4 volumes

Ainsworth, Lucy M. (1849; teacher 1849-1851). Composition, 1849 entitled My Teacher's last Instruction describing Mary Lyon's final illness and death. 8 pages

Allen, Mary P. (1889; botany instructor 1904-1906). Correspondence, 1883-1888 describing her student activities at the College, including her classes (especially in botany), examinations, teachers, friendships and mashes, and a Christmas spent at the school. 5 items

Bailey, Hannah O. (1839; teacher 1844-1845). Correspondence, 1837-1838 discussing her support of Mary Lyon's plans for Mount Holyoke, the problems of raising funds for the school, and her domestic work and other activities as a student. 2 items

Bliss, Seraph A. (1895; physics instructor 1895-1900). Letter, 1897 October 1 describing her activities, expenses, and events at the College.

Chisholm, Shirley (Purington Professor 1982-1983, 1986-1987). Audiocassettes with recordings of speech entitled Humanism for Blacks and Whites on 1983 February 14 and an address to the Mount Holyoke Alumnae Association on 1986 May 24. 3 items

Curtis, Lucy M. (1844; teacher 1844-1849). Correspondence, 1849 February 24-March 5 to Mrs. Andrew Porter, teacher at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary describing the illnesses of several students and teachers, the death of Sarah Wingate (1849), and Mary Lyon's final illness and a commonplace book, circa 1849 containing Original Compositions and Selected Articles written or copied by Mount Holyoke students between 1838-1849. Also includes autographs. 7 items

Eltinge, Ethel (botany professor 1928-1964). Audiocassette, fall 1986 describing the history of the Biological Sciences Department at Mount Holyoke College as recorded in an oral history interview by Kathleen Holt and Diana B. Stein. 1 audiocassette.

Emmons, Sarah Abby (1853; teacher 1855-1856). Composition, 1852 July 5 entitled Translation of Cato's Oration, written as a student at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary. 4 pages

Fiske, Rebecca W. (1846; 1846-1849). Correspondence, 1847-1849 to her cousin, Fidelia Fiske, Zilpah P. Grant Banister, and dear friends written as a teacher at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary. Discusses Fidelia's reports of her work as a missionary in Persia, students at Mount Holyoke, family news, and Mary Lyon's final illness and death. 5 items

Foote, Nancy A. (1844; teacher 1844-1845). Letter, 1844 December 28, South Hadley, Mass., to Martha Grant, Millbrook, Conn., describing her work as a teacher at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, other faculty members, and the state of religion at the school; student notebook, 1844 with notes for the study of Milton's Paradise Lost and includes a Parody sung at Commencement, 1844, and a Soliloquy of a young lady at Holyoke on Composition Evening, 1844, both by Jerusha Babcock, x-1845 2 items

Fuller, Helen G. (1915; Head Resident of House 1953-1961). Student notebook, 1913-1914 containing notes for zoology course. 1 manuscript, 79 pages

Gault, Bertha H. (Library 1905-1933). Letter, 1919 May 7 from President Warren G. Harding discussing his views on the League of Nations proposal. 1 page

Goldthwait, Martha C. (1884; teacher 1889-1890). Drawings, 1882-1895 pencil sketches of buildings and scenes at Mount Holyoke College, including several interior and exterior views of the Seminary Building. 14 items

Graves, Mary Esther (1844; teacher 1845-1846). Letters, 1843 October 18, South Hadley, Mass., to Mrs. Polly Graves, Hatfield, Mass., telling her mother that she is too dull to write a letter, then turns her pen over to her sister, Fanny Graves (x-1845), who describes her homesickness, domestic work, the Seminary Building, rules, dislike of South Hadley, and Mary Lyon's daily talks (she says the same thing over half a dozen times.); 1846 January 14, South Hadley, Mass., to Fidelia Fiske (1842), Persia, describing how she has returned to teach at Mount Holyoke because God is here more than anywhere else, commenting on the work of missionaries, her teaching duties, and Mary Lyon's religious remarks. 2 items

Haywood, Charlotte (1919; physiology professor 1921-1962). Student notebook, 1918 prepared for a zoology course on the Elements of Histology and Microscopal Technique taught by A. Elizabeth Adams. 1 manuscript, 25 pages

Hegarty, Inez E. (1941; speech professor 1941-1959). Observational study of verbal play, 1942 May 20, an independent study paper written for Psychology 402 while Hegarty was a graduate student at Mount Holyoke College. 135 pages

Hoeflich, Nancy J. (chemistry professor 1946-1948). Research notebooks, 1947-1948 for work towards an M.A. in chemistry and duties as a graduate assistant at Mount Holyoke College. 2 volumes

Hupp, Sharon W. (1970; library 1970-1974). Course notebooks, 1967-1968 for the first and second semesters of History 261. 2 spiral notebooks

Jahncke, Helga M. (1961). Paper, 1960 a foreign student at Mount Holyoke College comments on her experiences and impressions during a tour of the United States in the summer of 1960. 3 pages

Jennings, Sabrina (1843; teacher 1847-1848). Letter, 1879 March 10, Brookfield, Mass., to Sarah A. Bonney Nichols describing Mary Lyon's religious views, sense of humor, relationship with the students, and interest in music. Also discusses Lucy Lyon and Fidelia Fiske. 8 pages

Johnson, Harriet (1846; teacher 1848-1852). Letter, 1850 July 12, South Hadley, Mass., to Mrs. Hannah Kingsbury Porter, Monson, Mass., as a teacher at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, she discusses Mary Whitman's departure from the school, the large number of applicants, and other events, including the dismissal of several students. 3 pages

Kimball, Mary A. (1853; teacher 1855-1856). Correspondence, 1856 excerpts from letters in which Annie tells relatives and friends about her experiences as a teacher at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, including mention of sermons by local ministers, visitors to the school, and an Independence Day celebration; notebook, 1855-1856 Section Book, Junior Class, kept as a teacher at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary including lists of rules and records of exceptions for students, as well as spelling lessons 4 items

Komito, Holly (International Student Intern 1978-1979, Head Resident of House 1979-1980). Journal, 1978 September 13-October 11 describing her experiences as an international student at Mount Holyoke College, including discussions of foreign students and the International Club at Mount Holyoke and plans to turn Ham Hall into an "International House." 7 pages

Komito, Holly (International Student Intern 1978-1979, Head Resident of House 1979-1980). Report, 1979 April discussing orientation the program for international students at Mount Holyoke College and makes suggestions for improving the procedure. 4 pages

Matthews, Drue E. (1935; Appointment Bureau 1958-1980). Financial records, 1931 October documenting accounts to expenses during the first month of freshman year at Mount Holyoke College. 1 manuscript with explanatory note, 8 pages

Milosz, Czeslaw (Purington Professor 1985). Audiocassettes: 1985 October 10, 16, 24 of a poetry reading, lecture, and discussion by Milosz at Mount Holyoke College; 1985 October 16 panel discussion at Mount Holyoke College on the nature of history with participants Joseph Brodsky, Czeslaw Milosz, and Peter Viereck. 4 items

Pickett, Lucy (1925; chemistry professor 1930-1968). Audiocassette, 1990 May 27 of an interview with Carole Bernstein Shmurack (1965) with Pickett's oral release at the end. 1 item

Pyle, Christopher H. (political science and complex organizations professor 1976-2001). Signed letter, 1983 April 22 to Edward P. Boland and Silvio O. Conte, Representatives in the U.S. Congress, concerning U.S. foreign policy in Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador, including 17 unnumbered sheets of signatures of Mount Holyoke faculty, 2 to 11 names per sheet.

Quadri, Silvana (GS 1959/60). Paper, 1960 a foreign student at Mount Holyoke College comments on her experiences and impressions during a tour of the United States in the summer of 1960. 2 pages

Randolph, Louise Fitz (1872; archaeology and art history professor emeritus 1892-1912). Letter, 1882 November 16, Rome, Italy, to Anna C. Edwards, South Hadley, Mass., recalling the places and persons visited during a trip in Europe. 14 pages

Richards, Ruth (1918; biblical history and literature reader 1918-1919). A college medley, 1914 December 18 a short story about college life written for English I. 1 manuscript, 8 pages

Savage, Helen M. (1868; teacher 1868-1870). Notebook, circa 1864-1868 containing lists of rule, schedule of bells, copy of the Blue Laws and an order of calisthenic exercises, and a list of composition subjects, probably compiled by Savage as a student at Mount Holyoke. 1 manuscript, 21 pages

Scott, Martha C. (1845; teacher 1845-1855). Recollection, circa 1848 describing the final illness and death of Emma G. Washburn, a student at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary who suffered from "the lung fever." 10 pages

Sykes, Gertrude (1853; teacher 1853-1858). Student notebook, 1852 reflecting her study of botany at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary. 1 manuscript, 67 pages

Thurston, Persis G. (1845; teacher 1845-1847). Correspondence, 1841-1845 written to her sister and brother while a student at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary discussing Mary Lyon's views on honoring one's mother and being punctual, mentioning a day of fasting and prayer for missionaries, illnesses among students, and her cold room, comparing winter in South Hadley and in her native Hawaii, and listing conundrums popular at the school. 1845 letter is written in columns in the form of a newspaper called New Year's Gift. 2 items

Tolman, Jane C. (1851; teacher 1858-1864). Correspondence, 1861, 1863 to Jessie Usher discussing her work as a teacher and conditions at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, mentioning the textbooks used to teach logic, the large enrollment and shortage of teachers at the school, and the patriotism and war work of the students. 2 items

Waterman, Nancy M. (1946; geology and geography professor 1954-1955). Letter, 1945 April 16, South Hadley, Mass., to Mr. and Mrs. W. N. Waterman, Hanover, N.H., describing reaction of Mount Holyoke College students and faculty, especially professors Barnes and Rox, to death of Roosevelt. 4 pages

Wilson, Faith E. (1943; zoology professor 1944-1945). Student paper, 1944 for a graduate course in zoology taught by Christianna Smith. 32 pages


  • Creation: 1837 - 2019

Language of Materials noe

Some files may contain items in languages other than English.

Conditions Governing Access

Unrestricted except for evaluations and letters of recommendations for faculty or staff and confidential student records in files for alumnae who have worked at Mount Holyoke College.

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 first administrator and teacher at Mount Holyoke was Mary Lyon, the founder of the school who was Principal from 1837 until her death in 1849 as well as a teacher in chemistry classes. Initially, she hired Eunice Caldwell as Associate Principal with Amanda A. Hodgman and Mary W. Smith as additional teachers. Lyon also relied on founding members of Mount Holyoke's Board of Trustees to assist her with managing the institution's finances and supervising the construction, furnishing, and maintenance of the Seminary Building where students and teachers lived and worked. She soon began hiring Mount Holyoke graduates as teachers at the school, a practice that continued for much of the nineteenth century. Teachers usually taught a variety of subjects and often supervised the domestic work system Lyon established whereby students did most of the cooking, cleaning, and laundry at the school (thus keeping the tuition rate low by eliminating the need for a paid staff). Men were hired to perform heavy manual labor and a Steward was responsible for the overall maintenance and upkeep of buildings and grounds. Trustees continued to act as Treasurers of Mount Holyoke until the early twentieth century. Other early staff members included a librarian (Mary O. Nutting, Class of 1852) and the Director of the Observatory (Elisabeth Bardwell, Class of 1866).

Teachers began specializing in particular subjects in the late 1880s. Elizabeth Mead, President of Mount Holyoke from 1890-1900, required teachers to earn a Ph.D. in their respective fields and by 1896 faculty were organized into a formal group which held regular meetings and actively shaped the College's curriculum. The first male teachers, Asa Kinney (botany) and William Churchill Hammond (music), were hired in 1899. When Mount Holyoke began a graduate program in the 1890s, graduate students (including those from countries other than the United States) began working as teaching or laboratory assistants at the College. The first paid sabbaticals were granted to faculty in 1925. Mount Holyoke's faculty has steadily become increasingly diverse in response to changes in the curriculum and the College's affirmative action initiatives.

The College has created many staff positions to meet the growth and changing needs of the school. For example, the first Registrar, Caroline Boardman Greene (Class of 1889) was appointed in 1893 and Florence Purington (Class of 1886) became the first Dean of the College in 1907. When students began living in separate dormitories after the destruction of the Seminary Building by fire in 1896, house mothers were hired to oversee students' activities in each residence. Maids and other staff were hired in increasing numbers after the domestic work system ended in 1914. Other staff members have been appointed as needed, such as those who support the technological needs of faculty and staff as employees of Library, Information, and Technology Services.

Born Digital Materials

Alumnae Biographical Files records for Pauline M. Twining, Class of 1854:


1374 items (1,359 boxes, folders, and volumes, 15 oversize folders)


Mount Holyoke College Faculty and Staff Biographical Files, circa 1837-, contain correspondence, press releases, directories, lists, writings, notebooks, school papers, drawings, audiocassettes, DVDs, and photographs relating to individuals who have served as faculty or staff members of the College.


This collection is organized into three series:

  1. Articles, Directories, Press Releases, Lists, and Announcements (1865-)
  2. Group Photographs (circa 1860-)
  3. Files for Individual Faculty or Staff Members (1837-)

Series 1 and Series 2 are arranged by form of material, then chronologically. Series 3 is alphabetically arranged by the last name, first name, and middle initial(s) (if any) of each person. Folders containing confidential material are marked with a blue plastic clip.

Processing Information

Processed by Patricia J. Albright and Alicia Couch-Edwards, 2009

Genre / Form


Faculty and Staff Biographical Files, circa 1837-
Finding Aid
Finding aid prepared by Patricia J. Albright and Alicia Couch-Edwards.
Language of description
Script of description
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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