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Hall papers

Identifier: MS 0619

Scope and Contents

The Ruth Tenny Hall papers consist of correspondence written to and from Hall, diaries, a scrapbook, writings, memorabilia, biographical information and photographs. The bulk of the material relates to Hall's undergraduate years at Mount Holyoke College, 1925-1929, and documents her social and academic life. In letters to family members Hall discusses her studies, mentioning lectures, faculty, grades and examinations. Her letters include references to racial matters, such as a letter from October 11, 1925 describing a discussion of race problems at the Cosmopolitan Club; a letter from November 1, 1925 describing a performance in blackface; and her September 23, 1928 letter mentioning her "little colored sister." She also describes her social activities, including references to clubs and sporting teams she belonged to such as field hockey. Hall describes events on campus including Junior Show, Mountain Day, and Junior Prom, as well as the numerous outings she and her "gang" of eleven friends went on including movies. Other campus issues mentioned are hazing, policies concerning smoking in the fall of 1925 (Hall was a member of the Representative Council of the Mount Holyoke College Community and was assigned to the committee looking at the smoking problem), and an influenza epidemic in 1928. Among the friends frequently mentioned are her roommate for three years Rhoda "Pat" Gilpatric Ketchum, Lorraine Keck, and Sarah "Sally" Steckel Skinner. The scrapbook and memorabilia contain programs for events on campus, as well as Valentine's Day and Christmas cards, dance cards and programs from debates in which she participated. Hall's diaries provide descriptions of events on campus and detail her daily routine, including mention of the weather, homework, grades, outings with friends, and visits from family members and her future husband, Frederick R. Hall. Letters to him document their early relationship and courtship as well as preparations for their 1932 wedding. Letters written to Hall from her father Charles Tenny, a Baptist missionary in Japan, describe the 1923 earthquake which occurred in Tokyo and Yokohama, Japan and caused an estimated 130,000 deaths. Correspondents include Frederick R. Hall; Charles Tenny; Rhoda Gilpatric Ketchum, Mount Holyoke College Class of 1929; and Helene Pope Whitman, Mount Holyoke College Class of 1904.


  • Creation: 1909-1998
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1925 - 1929

Conditions Governing Access


Biographical Note

Ruth Hana Tenny was born on June 23, 1907 in Kyoto, Japan to Charles and Grace Webb Tenny (Mount Holyoke Class of 1904). She was the 1904 "class baby", (the first girl born to a member of the class). Charles Tenny was a Baptist missionary in Japan. Grace Tenny died in childbirth in 1910, and Hall lived in Japan with her father and stepmother Elizabeth Pettee Tenny (Mount Holyoke Class of 1905) until 1923. She then lived with her maternal grandparents Henry and Ella Webb in Rochester, New York, where she graduated from high school in 1925. Hall entered Mount Holyoke College in 1925 and received her B.A. in 1929. She spent one year teaching at the American School in Yokohama, Japan and returned to the United States to study at the Rochester Business Institute. In 1931 she became the Home Lighting Specialist for the Brooklyn Edison Company in New York and was appointed lecturer-in-charge for the same company in 1936. In June 1932 she married Frederick R. Hall, a 1931 graduate of Yale College, and they had one child. Hall began to teach in the New Jersey Public School system in 1944 and received her Secondary Teaching Certificate from the College of St. Elizabeth in New Jersey in 1948. She became a lecturer in education at the College of St. Elizabeth in 1969 and retired in 1970. She died at the age of ninety on September 27, 1997 in Alexandria, Virginia.


3 boxes (1929 Tenny)

Language of Materials



Hall, Ruth Hana Tenny, 1907-1997; student. Mount Holyoke College graduate, 1929. Papers contain correspondence, diaries, a scrapbook, writings, memorabilia, biographical information and photographs; primarily documents her daily activities and her experiences during her undergraduate years at Mount Holyoke, also including letters from her father, Charles B. Tenny, discussing the 1923 earthquake in Japan.

Hall papers, 1923-1997 (bulk 1925-1929)
Finding Aid
Edited Full Draft
© 2003
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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