Scope and Contents
The Mount Holyoke College History Department Records consist of photocopied pages from the Llamarada, the College yearbook; articles; lists; memoranda; charts; notes; press releases; brochures; flyers; newspaper clippings; reports; meeting minutes; correspondence; announcements; questionnaires; surveys; financial records; examinations; syllabi; interview abstracts; student papers; posters; and photographs. The records contain articles written by Professors Nelli Neilson and Ellen D. Ellis entitled, "History and Aims of the Department" and "Scope of the Department." A paper entitled "The Teaching of History at Mount Holyoke, 1837-1937" is also included. Lists of student honors theses topics are held in the records as are memoranda and notes regarding suggestions for the department. The records also contain information about the need for students in history during and after World War II in addition to information pertaining to enrollment trends. Advertising materials, including flyers, posters, announcements, and brochures, pertain to the department itself and to special events in the department such as lectures, colloquia, and conferences. The annual reports of the department to the President of the College are also included in the records, and these contain information about department activities, faculty activities and research, enrollment and course registration trends, course and curriculum revisions, changes in personnel, lectures, graduate students, majors, and honor students. Minutes from faculty meetings can also be found in the records, and these contain information regarding student work, needs of the department, curriculum, examinations, faculty work, interdepartmental majors, courses in the department, graduate students, finances, and the department budget. The correspondence contained in the records mainly pertains to daily occurrences in the department but also pertains to special events, such as lectures and the Centennial Celebration (1937). There is also correspondence regarding major and minor students, jobs held by graduates, employment opportunities, course and curriculum changes, graduate work, graduate admissions, faculty positions, reading lists, advanced placement courses and credit, faculty work, and honor students. Correspondence is mainly between faculty members. Major correspondents are Nellie Neilson, Norma Adams, Meribeth E. Cameron, Fred Cramer, and Wilma Pugh. Information regarding the American Culture major and other interdepartmental majors can be found in the records in addition to reviews of curriculum and discussions of reductions in courses in the department. The records also include material relating to fellowships and prizes. Analyses of grades are available in the records along with entrance and comprehensive examinations from Mount Holyoke and other colleges, and examinations and syllabi from various courses. The records also contain student papers and abstracts of interviews conducted by students for a course in the department. Lists of graduate students and history majors are available in the records in addition to lists of MA thesis topics. The photographs contained in the records depict students, faculty, and staff in classroom scenes.
When the Mount Holyoke Female Seminary was founded in 1837, knowledge of American History was required for admission. At this time, in the three year course of study at the Seminary, students were required to take courses in history for two years. First year, or Junior Class students, took a survey of ancient and modern times. Last year, or Senior Class, students, studied ecclesiastical history. In the 1884/1885 Course Bulletin, individual courses of study were first listed. History was among these. The History Department existed from 1884/1885 until the 1895/1896 academic year. During these years, it existed concurrently with the Constitution of the United States, Civil Government, Civic and Political Economy, and Political Economy Departments. In the 1897/1898 academic year, there existed two departments in the field of history, the medieval History Department and the Constitutional History and Political Economy Department. In 1898/1899, there were two separate departments, the History Department and the Political Economy Department. In the 1903/1904 academic year, these two departments merged to form the History and Political Science Department. The following year, the department became the History Department. At this time, the History Department consisted of two distinct areas of study, one being European History and the other being American History, Political Economy, and Sociology. In 1905, a separate Economics Department was formed. Between 1901 and 1911, the department experienced tremendous growth. While the student body grew from 550 to 754 students, the staff of the History Department doubled from 3 to 6 members. The number of courses offered almost doubled, increasing from 11 to 18. This was despite the removal of the study of economics from the department in 1905. In 1916/1917, the department became the History and Political Science Department. At this time, the general aim of the department was to help students gain a love of history for its own sake and the knowledge of great persons, movements, and institutions of history essential to any education. The faculty also sought to teach students to understand that generalizations regarding the course of society, past or present, to be of value must be based on patient study of history and the exercise of disciplined judgment. The History and Political Science Department lasted as a unified department until the 1938/1939 academic year. The following year, the Political Science Department was formed, leaving the History Department as an independent entity. The History Department has remained since the 1939/1940 academic year.
2.92 Linear Feet (5 full Hollinger and 4 half Hollinger boxes. Other Digital Objects included.)