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Chemistry Department records

 Series
Identifier: RG 18-09

Scope and Contents

The Mount Holyoke College Chemistry Department Records date from 1890 to the present and document the history of the Department, the work of students in undergraduate and graduate chemistry classes, and the activities of chemistry faculty. Records are arranged in the following three series primarily reflecting the order in which these materials were received and processed by Archives and Special Collections: Historical Sketches, Articles, Announcements, Brochures, and Lists, Reports, Correspondence, Research Records, Course Records, Special Events Materials, and Photographs; Reports, Subject Files, Department Meeting Records, Research Records, Course Records, Women in Science Program Records, Seminars and Lectures Materials, Faculty Publications, Student Work Materials, Graduate Studies Materials, Majors Materials, Films, and Photographs; and Course Records and Materials Concerning Seminars, Lectures, and Summer Research Programs.

Historical Sketches, Articles, Announcements, Brochures, and Lists, Reports, Correspondence, Research Records, Course Records, Special Events Materials, and Photographs date from 1890 to the present. These materials include annual reports documenting the activities and accomplishments of the Department from 1927-2005 and letters (1920-1980) by and to Emma Perry Carr and other distinguished chemistry faculty. There is an extensive collection of laboratory notebooks (1926-1961) concerning vacuum spectroscopy research by Department members. Other records include articles about the history of the teaching of chemistry at Mount Holyoke, examinations and problem sets from the 1920s, published abstracts (1974-2005) of student papers and projects presented at the College's annual Senior Science Symposium, and formal or informal photographs (1900-present) of students and faculty in the chemistry laboratories and class rooms.

Reports, Subject Files, Department Meeting Records, Research Records, Course Records, Women in Science Program Records, Seminars and Lectures Materials, Faculty Publications, Student Work Materials, Graduate Studies Materials, Majors Materials, Films, and Photographs date from 1900-2001 and comprise the most extensive series in the collection. Of note are Subject Files (circa 1920s-2001, n.d.) containing correspondence, reports, publications, and building plans that chiefly concern the activities and administration of the Department and its relationship to the rest of the College. These materials include information about awards and prizes awarded to students by the Department from 1955-2001, the summer research activities of students from 1961-1995, and the design, construction and furnishing of Carr Laboratory and Newcomb Cleveland Hall (completed in 1955). Course Records (1930-1999, n.d.), Student Work Materials (1950-circa 1980s), Graduate Studies Materials (1940-1998), Majors Materials (1900-1979), and Films (circa 1960) concern the Department's curriculum. These materials include laboratory notebooks and research reports, documents reflecting support of Mount Holyoke's chemistry curriculum by the National Science Foundation, syllabi, experiments, handouts, examinations, laboratory notebooks, reports, recommendations, correspondence, applications, and lists. Faculty members represented by these materials include Sheila E. Browne, William Donald Cotter, Sean Decatur, Mary K. Campbell, Edwin S. Weaver, and Kenneth Williamson. The administration and activities of the Department are further documented by agenda, minutes, reports, proposals, correspondence, memoranda, and lists for Department meetings (1978-1998) and reports (1979-1993) prepared for submission to the American Chemical Society Committee on Professional Training. Special chemistry-related programs at the College are documented by Seminar and Lectures Materials (1964-1998) and records (1973-1993) relating to Mount Holyoke’s Women in Science Program (1973-1993) that provided chemistry apparatus training to women who had earned their undergraduate degree in chemistry but were not currently working in the field. Documents relating to these programs include correspondence, reports, proposals, programs, questionnaires, and evaluations. Research Records (circa 1920s-1970s) and Faculty Publications (1925-1954, 1973, n.d.) contain drafts, articles, graphs, notebooks, notes, lantern slides, glass slides, and other materials reflecting the research interests of Emma P.Carr, Mary L. Sherrill, Lucy W. Pickett, and other chemistry faculty. Rounding out this series are Photographs (circa 1920s-1994) that include images of students, professors Emma Carr, Mary L. Sherrill, Lucy W. Pickett, and Anna J. Harrison, and participants (1978-1985) in the Women in Science Program at Mount Holyoke.

Course Records and Materials Concerning Seminars, Lectures, and Summer Research Programs (1995-2002) primarily consist of examinations, quizzes, experiments, and handouts for chemistry courses (2000-2002). Faculty members represented by these records include Sheila E. Browne and William Donald Cotter. There are also materials concerning the Department's Lucy Pickett lectures and Summer Research Program.

Dates

  • 1882
  • Majority of material found within 1940 - 1990

Conditions Governing Access

Reports in Series 1, all materials except Photographs in Series 2, and all materials in Series 3 are restricted to use by the office/department of origin for 25 years from the date of record creation.

Conditions Governing Use

Use of this collection is governed by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S.C.)

Historical Note

Courses in chemistry have been taught at Mount Holyoke since the school opened in 1837. Mary Lyon, Mount Holyoke's founder, was the first chemistry teacher. She also invited faculty from other colleges and universities to give lectures on the subject and sought to provide students with laboratory experience. Botany teacher Lydia W. Shattuck (Class of 1851) also taught chemistry classes and solicited funds for a new chemistry and physics building constructed in 1892 and named in her honor. In 1932, the original Shattuck Hall was replaced by a new building of the same name. Other facilities used for the study and teaching of chemistry are Newcomb Cleveland Hall (1955), Carr Laboratory (1955), and Kendade Hall (2003).

In 1907, a four-year course of study in chemistry was established, allowing students to major in chemistry. At this time the chemistry program became a formal department. In 1918, the College's focus in the study of chemistry shifted from general chemistry to organic and physical chemistry. In 1929, the emphasis shifted again to four areas: general inorganic chemistry, analytical chemistry, organic chemistry, and physical chemistry. This change generated a significant expansion in the courses offered by the Department. The goals of the Department were “to instill a thorough knowledge of the fundamental principles of chemistry, to encourage the habits of clear thinking and careful deductions from experimental observations, and to kindle interest in the challenge of scientific research.” Notable chemistry professors at Mount Holyoke include Emma Perry Carr, Lucy W. Pickett, Mary L. Sherrill, Anna J. Harrison, Edwin S. Weaver, Kenneth L. Williamson, and Mary K. Campbell.

Extent

41.69 Linear Feet (22 full Hollinger, 10 half Hollinger, 15 specialty, and 17 record storage boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

Consist of reports, correspondence, minutes and agenda, course records, research records, subject files, questionnaires, records concerning programs and events, historical sketches, brochures, announcements, lists, films, lantern slides, glass slides, and photographs documenting the Department's history, administration and activities from 1890 to the present.

Arrangement

This collection is organized into three series:
  1. Historical Sketches, Articles, Announcements, Brochures, and Lists, Reports, Correspondence, Research Records, Course Records, Special Events Materials, Photographs (1890-present)
  2. Reports, Subject Files, Department Meeting Records, Research Records, Course Records, Women in Science Program Records, Seminars and Lectures Materials, Faculty Publications, Student Work Materials, Graduate Studies Materials, Majors Materials, Films, and Photographs (1900-2001)
  3. Course Records and Materials Concerning Seminars, Lectures, and Summer Research Programs (1995-2002)

Arrangement

The shelf location number of records in Series 2 and Series 3 is Range W W 1. For the most part, records in these series have not been refoldered.

Processing Information

Processed by Patricia J. Albright, Kirsten Hansen, Jennifer L. Hawkes, and Julie A. Singley, 1996-2009.
Title
Chemistry Department Records, 1890-present
Subtitle
Finding Aid
Author
Finding aid prepared by Patricia J. Albright, Kirsten Hansen, Jennifer L. Hawkes, and Julie A. Singley.
Date
© 2009
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections Repository

Contact:
50 College Street
8 Dwight Hall
South Hadley MA 01075-6425 USA
413-538-3079