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Principals and presidents reports

 Series — Box: 1
Identifier: RG 04-01

Scope and Contents

Reports of the Principals and Presidents date from 1867-1985 (no reports are on file for 1888-1890, 1899, 1900/1901-1901/1902). Manuscript or typescript reports from the nineteenth century were written for the Board of Trustees and discuss such topics as changes in the curriculum, visiting lecturers, student behavior, the health of students and teachers, the domestic work system, religious life at the school, the salaries of teachers, donations and gifts, and improvements to the campus. President Mead's reports for 1896/1897 and 1897/1898 also discusses the fire that destroyed the Seminary Building where students and teachers had lived and worked and plans for the construction of several new dormitories. Most reports for the twentieth century were issued as publications and begin with President Woolley's first report of 1902/1903 (there are typescript reports only for 1909/1910, 1910/1911, 1917/1918, and 1918/1919). Reports were usually issued annually through 1956/1957. Subsequent reports wee issued on an irregular basis through the last one that covers the years 1978-1985. They discuss a wide range of academic and administrative issues as well as activities of faculty and students and improvements to College facilities. Those published through 1936/1937 often contain reports of other College administrators, including the Treasurer, Comptroller, Librarian, Registrar, Academic Dean, and Dean of Residence.


  • Creation: 1867-1985

Conditions Governing Access


Conditions Governing Use

Researchers should use photocopies of unpublished reports that are part of these materials. Use of the collection is governed by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S.C.).

Historical Note

Mary Lyon, the founder of Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, was Principal of the school from 1837 until her death in 1849. Her successors as Principal were Mary C. Whitman (1849-1850), Mary W. Chapin (1850-1865), Sophia D. Stoddard (Acting Principal, 1865-1867), and Helen M. French (1867-1872). In 1888, Elizabeth Blanchard, who had served as Principal since 1883, was named Acting President when Mount Holyoke's charter was changed to allow the school to grant degrees. Mary A. Brigham was elected President in 1889, but died in a railway accident on the way to assume her duties. Louise F. Cowles was Acting President until Elizabeth Storrs Mead became the first non-alumna President of the College in 1890. Her successor, Mary Emma Woolley, was elected President in 1900, took office in 1901, and served until 1937. In a controversial appointment, Roswell Gray Ham then became Mount Holyoke's first male President. His successor, Richard Glenn Gettell, was President until his resignation in 1968. Academic Dean and history professor Meribeth E. Cameron, who had served as Acting President when Presidents Ham and Gettell were on leave in 1954 and 1966, filled that office once again until David B. Truman became President in 1978. His successors as President have been Elizabeth T. Kennan (1978-1995) and Joanne V. Creighton (1996-present). History professor Joseph J. Ellis was Acting President for the spring semester in 1984 when President Kennan was on sabbatical, English professor Peter Berek served as Interim President from June-December 1985, and psychology and education professor Beverly D. Tatum was Acting President for the spring semester in 2002 when President Creighton was on sabbatical.


2.06 Linear Feet (2 boxes, 14 volumes)

Language of Materials



Mount Holyoke College Principals and Presidents Reports, 1867-1985, containing information about academic and administrative matters, the activities of faculty and students, and improvements to facilities and the campus.

Processing Information

Processed by Patricia J. Albright, 2007. Peter Carini assisted with the arrangement and description of these reports from 1997-1999.

Principals and Presidents Reports, 1867-1985
Finding Aid
Finding aid prepared by Patricia J. Albright.
© 2007
Language of description
Script of description
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Language of description note

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