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Elizabeth Storrs Mead papers

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MS 0871

Scope and Contents

The papers of Elizabeth Storrs Mead date from circa 1860-1917 and consist of correspondence, writings, memorabilia, biographical information, and photographs. Correspondence (1893-1912, undated) includes letters to and from trustees and alumnae and a long letter (March 19, 1900) in which she expresses her appreciation to the faculty for their support during her administration. Writings consist of a book by her entitled "Responsive Readings for Public and Social Worship" (1883) and a copy of her tribute to former Mount Holyoke Principal Sophia D. Hazen Stoddard which was published in "Fifteen Years of the Hampshire County Branch of the Woman's Board of Missions, 1876-1891, with Memorial Addresses." Memorabilia (1898, undated) consists of a verse written on a watercolor sketch by Mead of the Stone Arch bridge on campus, one of her calling cards, and a memorial sermon about her cousin, Mary Elwell Storrs. Biographical Information (1890-1917) is comprised of newspaper articles about Mead. Photographs (circa 1860-1901) consist of formal portraits of her as well photographs of her husband and children.


  • Creation: circa 1860-1917

Conditions Governing Access


Conditions Governing Use


Biographical Note

Elizabeth Storrs Billings Mead was born on May 21, 1832 in Conway, Massachusetts to Charles Eugene Billings and Sally Williston Storrs Billings. Around 1837 the family moved to Trenton, New York, then to Andover, Massachusetts. She attended Ipswich Female Seminary, taught for a year in the Northampton (Massachusetts) High School, then with her sister Jerusha Billings Edwards conducted a girls' school in Andover. She married The Reverend Hiram Mead in 1858 and accompanied him to South Hadley, Massachusetts where he was pastor of the Congregational church and a trustee of Mount Holyoke Female Seminary. After a brief stay in Nashua, New Hampshire the family moved to Oberlin (Ohio) College, where Hiram Mead was a professor from 1869 until his death in 1881. At Oberlin, Mrs. Mead served on the Women's Board of Managers and taught on occasion. After her husband's death she remained at Oberlin as an instructor of English until she accepted a position as associate principal of Abbot Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. She was selected as the first non-alumna President of Mount Holyoke Seminary and College (now Mount Holyoke College) in 1890 and served in that office until 1901. During her tenure she directed the expansion of the curriculum, encouraged teachers to pursue advanced degrees and allowed students a measure of self-government. When the Seminary building was destroyed by a fire in 1896, Mead initiated an extensive building project (including the erection of Mary Lyon Hall in 1897) which became the foundation for the modern College. In 1901, a dormitory was named Mead Hall in her honor. She died in Coconut Grove, Florida on March 25, 1917 at the age of eighty-four.


0.21 Linear Feet (1 half Hollinger box)

Language of Materials



Mead, Elizabeth Storrs, 1832-1917; teacher and academy and college administrator. President of Mount Holyoke College, 1890-1900. Papers consist of Personal and professional information in the records of Elizabeth S. Mead includes correspondence from 1893-1912; biographical materials which consist of a genealogy, profiles, news clippings, tributes and obituaries; publications, including a bound volume of religious writings and a memorial address delivered by Mead; and photographs.

Elizabeth Storrs Billings Mead Records, 1893-1912
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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