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Hall papers, 1923-1997 (Bulk: 1925-1929)
3 boxes (2 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 0619 (LD 7096.6 1929 Tenny)

Abstract:
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.

Terms of Access and Use:

Unrestricted

Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections
South Hadley, MA

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.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

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.


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

Unrestricted

Preferred Citation

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

Ruth Tenny Hall 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: http://www.mtholyoke.edu/lits/library/arch/forms/areq.htm
URL: http://www.mtholyoke.edu/lits/library/arch/
Language
English.
Sponsor
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Contents List
Correspondence,
1923-1927

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

The correspondence consists of letters written to and from Hall, 1923-1927. The bulk of Hall's correspondence dates from her years as a student at Mount Holyoke College, 1925-1929. There are over one hundred letters written to her maternal grandparents, Henry and Ella Webb, as well as letters addressed to her father and stepmother, Charles and Betty Tenny. Hall's letters to her family were written regularly, almost weekly, throughout her entire four years at Mount Holyoke. They describe her academic activities, noting her selection for a first-year tutorial, her high examination results, and her election to the Phi Beta Kappa society in her junior year. The letters also closely track the social activities of Hall and her "gang" of eleven friends, including her roommate for three years, Rhoda "Pat" Gilpatric. Details of her friends can be found in a letter of January 23, 1927. The correspondence also includes two letters written by Gilpatric to Ella Webb, thanking her for hospitality during her visits. Hall describes food, race relations, faculty, clothes, clubs, hazing, smoking, examinations, church and chapel, traveling by car, movies in nearby Holyoke, Junior Prom, Mountain Day, waiting tables, Junior Show, the yearbook Llamarada, and the May Day pageant. She includes sketches of dorm room floor plans and her semester schedules. Hall's letters provide a close documentation of an undergraduate experience in the 1920s. A few letters during these years were written to Hall by Helene Pope Whitman, Class of 1904, a classmate of Hall's mother. Hall's correspondence also includes letters to her future husband, Frederick Hall. These letters document their early relationship and courtship, as well as preparations for their wedding in 1932. Of note is the letter in which she describes the Northfield conference where she first met Frederick R. Hall, and notes, "I got to know one Freshman (Yale) quite well . . . I'm hoping I shall hear from him as he was both nice and interesting." The correspondence also includes several lettesr written by Frederick R. Hall: five written to his mother, 1928-1929, which often describe activities he attended with Ruth, and two letters written to Ella Webb. The earliest letters in the collection are several letters written to Hall by her father, Charles Tenny, a Baptist missionary in Japan. These letters describe the 1923 earthquake, which damaged the Tenny's house in Ushigome, a suburb of Tokyo. Tenny did not provide detailed description of the damage done by the earthquake, but wrote that "the press is doing that for you ... you will read no description of the situation that gives it too bad ... If you want pictures, go to your copy of Dante's Inferno." The last letter in the collection dates from 1937, and describes the centenary celebration at Mount Holyoke.

Correspondence,
1923

Box 1: folder 1
Correspondence,
Sept.-Dec. 1925

Box 1: folder 2
Correspondence,
Jan.-May 1926

Box 1: folder 3
Correspondence,
Sept.-Dec. 1926

Box 1: folder 4
Correspondence,
Jan.-June 1927

Box 1: folder 5
Correspondence,
Sept. 1927- March 1928

Box 1: folder 6
Correspondence,
April-August 1928

Box 1: folder 7
Correspondence,
Sept.-Dec. 1928

Box 1: folder 8
Correspondence,
Jan.-June 1929

Box 1: folder 9
Correspondence,
1930-1937

Box 1: folder 10
Diaries,
1925-1930

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

The first diary encompasses April 1925 through May 1929, and the second overlaps the first, covering January 1929-1930. Each diary has room to record 'a line a day' for five years. Although the entries are rarely extensive, they provide documentation of Hall's daily activities, both academic and social, throughout her undergraduate years at Mount Holyoke College. She frequently mentions homework, classes, quizzes and examinations, outings with friends includings shows and shopping, vacations at home and with Helene Pope Whitman, Mount Holyoke College Class of 1904, visits from family members and Frederick R. Hall, as well as events of the teams she was on, including debate, field hockey and basketball. While the entries are brief, and diminish in frequency during her final years, the diaries provide evidence of the daily routine of Hall's undergraduate years.

Scrapbook,
1925-1929
1 box

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

The scrapbook compiled by Hall is entitled "Mt. Holyoke Days" and documents her undergraduate years at Mount Holyoke College, 1925-1929. Carefully assembled in chronological order, the scrapbook contains evidence of her academic and social activities on campus: programs for Field Day, Founder's Day, Junior Prom, Junior Show, Faculty Show and Commencement, dance cards, Christmas and Valentine's Day cards and newspaper clippings, as well as grade records, programs from debates she participated in and an occasional photograph. The scrapbook also contains newspaper clippings regarding her family, congratulatory telegrams sent to her, and a brochure from the summer camp in Maine at which she taught tennis. There are frequent notes in Hall's handwriting. Of note is the format of the scrapbook: for her first year, Hall set up the pages as though for a script for a play, with breaks and semesters composing the scenes and acts. The first tragic element was introduced in January 1926 in the form of exams.

Scrapbook,
1925-1929

Folio
Writings,
1929, 1954

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

Hall's writings consist of a handwritten copy of the Ivy Oration she was elected to give at the Precommencement Excercises in 1929, and a copy of the speech on teaching she gave at the class's twenty-fifth reunion in 1954.

Writings,
1929, 1954

Box 2: folder 3
Memorabilia,
1925-1929

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

The memorabilia contains mementos of her undergraduate years at Mount Holyoke College, 1925-1929. Included are sketches of dorm room floor plans, dance cards, Valentines, poems, commencement invitations and programs, a brochure from the Mt. Holyoke Inn, concert programs, and a baccalaureate service program. The memorabilia material is very similiar to the items found in the scrapbook.

Memorabilia,
1925-1929

Box 2: folder 4
Biographical Information,
1925-1991

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

The biographical information contains press clippings about Hall and family members, including an obituary for Hall.

Biographical Information,
1925-1998

Box 2: folder 5
Photographs,
1909-1929

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

There are seven photographs. They include a photographic postcard from the Fifth Year Reunion of Mount Holyoke College Class of 1904 in 1909 featuring Ruth Hana Tenny, the 1904 "class baby" and her mother, Grace Webb Tenny, Mount Holyoke College Class of 1904. The collection includes two photographs from Tenny's sophomore year at Mount Holyoke, 1926-1927, one featuring Hall and the other featuring two of her friends, Lorraine Keck and Sarah "Sally" Steckel Skinner. There is also a photograph of Hall and twelve of her friends in academic regalia, circa 1929. There are also three copies of a formal portrait taken of Hall in 1929.

Photographs,
1909-1927

Box 2: folder 6

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.

Subjects
  • Hall, Ruth Tenny, 1907-1997.
  • Ketchum, Rhoda Gilpatric, 1906-1997.
  • Tenny, Grace Webb, 1883-1910.
  • African-American college students - Massachusetts.
  • College students - Massachusetts.
  • Courtship.
  • Earthquakes - Japan.
  • Epidemics - United States - History.
  • Grading and marking (Students).
  • Hazing - Massachusetts.
  • Influenza - United States - History.
  • Japan - History - 1912-1945.
  • Missionaries - Japan.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Field Hockey.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Regulations.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Sports.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Student life - 1925-1929.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Students.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Traditions.
  • Smoking.
  • Women college students - Massachusetts.

Contributors
  • Hall, Frederick R., d. 1991.
  • Ketchum, Rhoda Gilpatric, 1906-1997.
  • Whitman, Helene Pope, 1881-1962.

Genre terms
  • Christmas cards.
  • Diaries.
  • Letters.
  • Photographs.
  • Scrapbooks.
  • Valentines.


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