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Brown papers, the autobiography of a country girl : typescript, [ca. 1940] / by Mary Ella Brown., 1872-1946.
1 box (5 linear in.)
Collection number: MS 0510 (LD 7092.8 Spooner)

Brown, Mary Ella Spooner, 1851-1946; College teacher. Mount Holyoke Female Seminary graduate, 1872. Mount Holyoke Female Seminary teacher, 1872-1884. Papers consist of correspondence, writings, biographical information, and photographs. Primarily containing her autobiography and also containing letters from Mary E.Woolley and original songs and poems.

Terms of Access and Use:


Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections
South Hadley, MA

Biographical Note

Mary Ella Spooner was born in Oakham, Massachusetts on October 14, 1851 to Andrew Spooner, Jr. and Mary Brown. As a child she attended Oakham public schools. She graduated from Mount Holyoke Seminary in July of 1872 and from the University of California at Berkeley in 1893. She married Julius Waverly Brown in 1894. She taught Latin and German at Mount Holyoke from 1872 until 1884, and at Oahu College, in Honolulu, Hawaii from 1884 until 1891. She had three foster children from Kentucky. She wrote a book of poems as well as an autobiography and many educational pamphlets. She died on January 21, 1946 in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Mary Ella Brown papers consist of correspondence, writings, biographical material and photographs. The correspondence, dated 1889-1942, includes one letter from Mary Woolley as well as letters to friends and to the Secretary of the Mount Holyoke Alumnae Association; The writings consist of the manuscript of an autobiography written circa 1935-1940 and entitled "Fourscore Plus;" poems and songs written between circa 1874-1933; and essays and stories written circa 1908-1944. The biographical material is mostly made up of news clippings and includes an obituary. The photographs, circa 1872-1946, are of Brown and her family and also include two photographs of Chinatown in Honolulu.

Material from this collection is available in an online digital format.

This collection is organized into four series:

  • Correspondence (1889-1942)
  • Writings (1874-1944)
  • Biographical Material (1882-1946)
  • Photographs (1872-1946)

Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:


Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

Mary Ella Brown Papers, Mount Holyoke College, Archives and Special Collections, South Hadley, Massachusetts

History of the Collection

Additional Information
Contact Information
Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections
8 Dwight Hall
50 College St.
South Hadley, MA 01075

Phone: (413) 538-2013
Fax: (413) 538-2370

Email Reference Form:
Encoding funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

  • Brown, Julius W., 1851-1923.
  • Brown, Mary Ella, 1851-1946.
  • College teachers - United States - Biography.
  • Death.
  • Disease.
  • Family - United States - History - Sources.
  • Hawaii - Description and travel.
  • Kentucky - Description and travel.
  • Marriage - United States - History - Sources.
  • Massachusetts - Social life and customs - 19th century.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Curricula - 1868-1884.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Domestic work.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Faculty.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Religion - 1868-1884.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Rules and regulations.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Student life - 1868-1884.
  • Mount Holyoke Female Seminary - History - Sources.
  • Oahu (Hawaii) - Description and travel.
  • Oakham (Mass.) - Description and travel.
  • Punahou School.
  • Religion.
  • South Hadley (Mass. : Town)
  • Southern States - Description and travel.
  • Teachers - United States - Biography.
  • Transportation and travel.
  • United States - Description and travel.
  • United States - History - Civil War, 1861-1865 - Personal narratives.
  • Women - Education - United States - History - Sources.
  • Women - Health and hygiene - United States - History - Sources.
  • Women - United States - Economic conditions.
  • Women college teachers - United States - Biography.
  • Women teachers - United States - Biography.

Questions about this collection? Contact the archives
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