Economics Department records
Scope and Contents
The Mount Holyoke College Economics Department records contain correspondence; reports, 1912- 1991; announcements; departmental publications on economic topics and the Mount Holyoke economics program, 1939-1947; news clippings, press releases and brochures; a departmental history; honors papers of students; examinations (1946-1966), course outlines and syllabi; and photographs. The correspondence mainly deals with invitations to guest speakers, prospective faculty appointments, fellowship students and solicitations for funds, such as for the Willard Straight Fund, ca. 1923-1938. The materials also document enrollment statistics and related information; summaries of conversations between junior faculty and departmental chairs; notifications of departmental prizewinners; details of faculty's research projects, publications and career achievements; faculty searches and appointments, etc. Many of the letters and reports are by departmental chairs Amy Hewes, John Lobb and Everett Hawkins. In addition, the materials provide information about academic committee reports, chiefly 1946-1967, regarding economics course offerings, course-related material and correspondence; independent work, including extensive documentation of the research programs followed by honors students; departmental budgets; the Two-Unit Plan; guest lecture series such as the Morrison Endowed Lecture Fund; information on special programs such as Junior Month in Boston and New York; and material related to special events such as Centennial 1937; Housing Conference 1937, The Economic Emergence of Women 1994, etc. Also included are announcements to students which detail information for economics majors, lectures, teas, meetings, etc.
- Creation: 1912-
Conditions Governing Access
Records restricted to use by office/department of origin for 25 years from date of record creation.
Since shortly after it was founded in 1837, Mount Holyoke College has been receptive to the study of social sciences, a field of scholarship that was gradually opening up in academic institutions in the 19th century. Economics and politics, in particular, were introduced to Mount Holyoke Seminary students in 1838 as one of the eleven studies of the senior class. Francis Wayland's "Elements of Political Economy," which would later become a classic academic text, was the required text in that year's catalogue. This is particularly remarkable in view of the fact that until then only the prestigious men's colleges of America had begun instruction in the subject of political economy, and that as a part of moral philosophy. However, a separate course for the subject did not appear to have emerged at these institutions until some years after it had been introduced at Mount Holyoke. Nevertheless, the course of political economy was withdrawn from Mount Holyoke's curriculum during certain years, and reinstated during others, until the college department was established in 1887. Thereafter, a concerted effort was made to provide students with a strong preparation in economics and politics, and, later, in sociology. Since female teachers with economic training were few at that time, several nonresident male lecturers were appointed to teach political economy at Mount Holyoke. Many of them, notably Edward Bemis, John Clark and Franklin Giddings, were distinguished economists and sociologists. In 1891-92, Mary Graham, PhD, was made the first resident faculty in Philosophy and Political Economy. The departmental title underwent a number of changes during the next eighty years. It was briefly known as Economics in 1895-96; Constitutional History and Economics from 1896-98; Political Economy again from 1898-1903; various terms including American History and Political Economy between 1903 and 1908; and Economics and Sociology from 1908-1971. In 1972, the department of Economics separated from that of the newly-created Sociology and Anthropology. Students are currently offered a broad range of required and elective courses which include International Economics and Finance, Development Economics, Econometrics and Industrial Organizations. The emphasis on statistical and mathematical courses for the completion of the major, alongside traditional offerings in economic theory and history, is one which originated in the 1920s under the leadership of departmental chair Amy Hewes. It reflects the pioneering development of statistical courses to support industrial and social research, thereby strengthening the curriculum and preparing students for graduate work.
15.01 Linear Feet (23 full Hollinger, 2 half Hollinger, and 4 record storage boxes)
Language of Materials
The Mount Holyoke College Economics Department records contain correspondence; reports, 1912- 1991; announcements; departmental publications on economic topics and the Mount Holyoke economics program, 1939-1947; news clippings, press releases and brochures; a departmental history; honors papers of students; examinations (1946-1966), course outlines and syllabi; and photographs.
- Economics Department Records
- Finding Aid
- Finding aid prepared by Archives and Special Collections Staff.
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Part of the Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections Repository
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8 Dwight Hall
South Hadley MA 01075-6425 USA