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Mary W. Chapin Pease papers

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MS 0866

Scope and Contents

Papers of Mary W. Chapin Pease document both her personal life and her work at Mount Holyoke. These materials consist of letters by and to her (1851-1887) which chiefly concern applicants for admission to Mount Holyoke; her notes about the religious life (including revivals) at the school from 1838-1864 and a notice reflecting her work as Secretary of the Memorandum Society (1887); a commonplace book (1852-1865) containing copies of poetry, 1852-1865; announcements (1881-1882) concerning the Elm Knoll Precatory School in Somers, Connecticut of which Pease was Principal; a copy of the printed "Confession of Faith" of the church in Somers (1826) which includes information about church members living at that time; a typed transcript of a diary kept by Noah Chapin of Somers "while in the army at Roxbury," April 18-July 17, 1775 in the American Revolution; typed transcripts of leters by relatives (1863, 1865), memorials about her life (1890), and photographs of her (circa 1850, 1860).


  • 1775-1890

Conditions Governing Access


Conditions Governing Use


Biographical Note

Mary Williams Chapin Pease, educator, was born on June 30, 1820, in Somers, Connecticut, the daughter of Oliver Chapin and Anna Pierce Chapin. She graduated from Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in 1843, where she taught for six years before she was appointed Acting Principal in 1850 and Principal in 1852. Under her direction, the course of study was expanded from three to four years and she initiated a more rigorous physical science curriculum. She also oversaw major additions to the Seminary building. She resigned in 1852 to marry Claudius B. Pearce but continued her association with the Seminary by cataloguing the records of the early alumnae in the "Memorandum Society," of which she was President. She also served as Principal of the Elm Knoll Precatory School in Somers, Connecticut. She died in Savannah, Georgia on May 9, 1889 at the age of sixty-nine. An auditorium in Mary Woolley Hall at Mount Holyoke is named Chapin Hall in her honor.


0.42 Linear Feet (1 full Hollinger box)

Language of Materials



Pease, Mary Williams Chapin, 1820-1889; teacher and principal. Mount Holyoke Female Seminary graduate, 1843, teacher, 1843-1850, Acting Principal, 1850-1852, Principal, 1852-1865. Papers concern both her personal life and her work at Mount Holyoke and consist of correspondence, her writings, a commonplace book, announcements, a copy of the Confession of Faith of the Somers, Connecticut Church, a typed transcript of a diary kept by Noah Chapin while serving in the American Revolution, memorials about Pease published after her death, and photographs of her.

Mary Williams Chapin Records
Finding Aid
Finding aid prepared by ASC.
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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