Five College Archives and Manuscript Collections
Mount Holyoke College seal
Dakin papers, 1931-1995.
1 box (5 linear in.)
Collection number: MS 0674 (LD 7092.8 Wilder)

Abstract:
Dakin, Janet Frances Wilder, 1910-1994; conservationist and environmentalist. Mount Holyoke College graduate, 1933 and M.A., 1935. Papers consist of course records, writings, Christianna Smith Retirement Gift Fund records, Parliamentarian's record for the Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke, Mount Holyoke College Equestrian Center Steering Committee records, biographical information, and photographs primarily documenting her academic work in zoology, her career as an environmentalist and her participation in the Mount Holyoke community.

Terms of Access and Use:

Unrestricted

Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections
South Hadley, MA

Biographical Note

Janet Frances Wilder was born on June 3, 1910, in Berkeley, California to Amos Parker Wilder and Isabella Niven Wilder. Her father was a consul general in China and then the editor of the New Haven "Journal Courier." She attended high school in New Haven, Connecticut. She then went to Mount Holyoke College from 1929-1933, graduating magna cum laude with a degree in zoology. She earned her M.A. in zoology from Mount Holyoke College in 1935 and her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1939. After graduating from the University of Chicago, she returned to Mount Holyoke College as an instructor of zoology. She retired from teaching in 1941 after marrying Winthrop S. Dakin, a lawyer and later a trustee of Hampshire College. She was very active in civic and alumnae organizations. Dakin pushed for state and federal legislative action for the preservation of open land for wildlife, and for recreational and educational purposes. She was the first chairperson of the Blue Start Highway, a beautification project for Route 1 in Massachusetts. Dakin became interested in parliamentary process through her work with the League of Women Voters and became a Certified Professional Parliamentarian of the American Institute of Parliamentarians. She served as parliamentarian for conventions of the League of Women Voters and for the Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College. She also served on the Mount Holyoke College Equestrian Center Steering Committee. Dakin was a charter member of the Amherst Conservation Commission from 1962-1974, which worked to preserve the Holyoke Range. In 1970, she founded and served as Executive Director of the Kestrel Trust, a private land trust which acquired land in neighboring communities for conservation purposes as a part of the Conservation Commission. Dakin also raised and rode horses, and in the 1950s she wrote a series of articles for "Morgan Horse Magazine" in which she described her experiences raising a Morgan horse. These articles were published in 1990 as a book called "Jeffy's Journal." In 1979 she raised $250,000 from private funds for the Equine Center Project at the University of Massachusetts. The Dakins later donated their Amherst home and the surrounding land to the University of Massachusetts. In 1982 she founded Friends of Amherst's Stray Animals. Dakin received many awards for her work, including the Volunteer Achievement Award from the Mount Holyoke Alumnae Association in 1975 and the Conservation Award from The Trustees of Reservations in 1978. She died on October 7, 1994 in Amherst, Massachusetts, at the age of eighty-four.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Janet Frances Wilder Dakin Papers consist of course records, writings, Christianna Smith Retirement Gift Fund Records, Parliamentarian's Records for the Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College, Mount Holyoke College Equestrian Center Steering Committee Records, biographical information, and photographs. The course records reflect Dakin's course work as an undergraduate at Mount Holyoke College. They are for courses in art and zoology, taken 1931-1932, and they consist of studio work, notes, and laboratory drawings. The course records from the University of Chicago date from 1936-circa 1939 and include a paper written by Dakin and a notebook filled with data, charts, and graphs from Dakin's research on elodea and yeast. Dakin's writings include several published papers reflecting her studies of insect life, 1936-1940. Her writings also include a book review, 1938, an autobiographical sketch, circa 1976, and a class letter written for the fiftieth reunion of her Class of 1933 at Mount Holyoke College in 1983. The Christianna Smith Retirement Gift Fund Records contain financial records listing contributors' names, their donations, and expenses and deposits for the fund, which was set up to honor a member of the Mount Holyoke College faculty. The Parliamentarian's Records reflect Dakin's work as Parliamentarian for the Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College, 1967-1976, and include her reviews of various Alumnae Association documents as well as a job description of Alumnae Association Parliamentarian, probably written by Dakin. The Mount Holyoke College Equestrian Center Steering Committee Records consist of plans, progress reports, agenda, drafts, and correspondence relating to the planning for and construction of an equestrian center at Mount Holyoke College, 1983-1986. The biographical information dates from 1933-1995 and chiefly consists of newspaper clippings concerning Dakin's engagement, marriage, environmental work, awards, donation of property to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, her book, "Jeffy's Journal," and her death. The photographs consist of two copies of her senior photograph taken at Mount Holyoke.


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:

Janet Wilder Dakin Papers, Mount Holyoke College, Archives and Special Collections, South Hadley, MA

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
1931-1932
3 folders

Arrangement:

Arranged by course number.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

This series consists of drawings and notes from course work done by Dakin during her undergraduate years at Mount Holyoke College. The series includes studio work for Art 221-222, "Historic Ornament," taken 1931/32. Dakin's studio work contains twenty-eight drawings in pencil, ink, and watercolor. Each piece represents a historically important artistic style. The series also includes extensive notes and laboratory drawings for Zoology 201, "Comparative Anatomy," taken in the fall of 1931.

1936-circa 1939
3 folders

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

This series consists of course work done by Dakin at the University of Chicago. It includes one paper written by Dakin entitled, "A Discussion of the Neuroptera With Particular Reference to Speciation in Certain Groups." The paper is dated December 16, 1936, and it is nineteen pages long. The back of the final page is covered with handwritten notes. The series also includes a notebook filled with research data and loose pages of data, graphs, and charts. The notebook, circa 1937-1939, contains data from Dakin's research on elodea and yeast.

1936-1940, circa 1976, 1983
2 folders

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

This series consists of several published and unpublished papers written by Dakin. The published papers, dating from 1936-1940, are from "Physiological Zoology" and other scientific journals. They reflect her studies of insect life. Also included in this series is a book review published by her in 1938 and an autobiographical sketch, circa 1976, detailing her childhood years, 1910-1923, and family life. This series also contains Dakin's class letter written for the fiftieth reunion of her Class of 1933 at Mount Holyoke College in 1983.

1958
1 folder

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

This series contains financial records relating to the Christianna Smith Retirement Gift Fund, 1958, of which Dakin served as treasurer. Smith was a professor of zoology at Mount Holyoke College from 1915-1958. The series includes lists of contributors' names and the amounts of their donations. It also contains lists of deposits and expenses for the fund, and two short letters to Dakin about the fund.

1967-1976
1 folder

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

The bulk of the material in this series dates from 1967-1970. These records reflect Dakin's work as Parliamentarian for the Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College. This series contains her reviews of various Alumnae Association documents, such as the by-laws, recommendations of the Alumnae Development Committee, and ballot, nomination, and suggestion forms. Also included in this series is Dakin's opinion on the question of student membership in the Alumnae Association. In addition, the series contains a description of the job of Alumnae Association Parliamentarian, probably written by Dakin.

1983-1986
1 folder

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

This series consists of records relating to the planning for and construction of an equestrian center at Mount Holyoke College. This material reflects Dakin's service as a member of the Equestrian Center Steering Committee from 1983-1986. The documents in this series include floor and ground plans, progress reports, agenda, a draft of the "General Objectives of the Riding Program," a draft of the Facility Program for the Mount Holyoke College Equestrian Center, a copy of the grading plan for the equestrian center developed by Willis and Associates, Inc., and correspondence from the President's Office.

1933-1995
1 folder

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

This series chiefly consists of newspaper clippings dating from 1933-1995. They concern Dakin's engagement, marriage, work as a conservationist and community activist, awards, donation of property to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, her book, "Jeffy's Journal," and her death. Also included are several articles concerning her husband's death. In addition, the series contains a staff personnel record for Dakin from Hunter College with an attached resume and programs relating to Dakin's Conservation Award for outstanding achievement in the field of conservation and the environment from the Trustees of Reservations in 1978.

1933, circa 1975
1 folder

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

This series contains three photographs of Dakin: two copies of her senior photograph taken at Mount Holyoke College, 1933, and a formal photograph taken in about 1975.

Contents List
Course Records: Mount Holyoke College,
1931-1932
3 folders

Studio work for Art 221-222,
1931-1932

Box 1: folder 1
Notes and laboratory drawings for Zoology 201,
1931

Box 1: folder 2
Notes and laboratory drawings for Zoology 201,
1931

Box 1: folder 3
Course Records: University of Chicago,
1936-circa 1939
3 folders

Paper,
1936

Box 1: folder 4
Research notebook,
circa 1937-circa 1939

Box 1: folder 5
Data, graphs, and charts,
circa 1938

Box 1: folder 6
Writings,
1936-1940, circa 1976, 1983
2 folders

Scientific articles and book review,
1936-1940

Box 1: folder 7
Autobiographical sketch; class letter,
circa 1976; 1983

Box 1: folder 8
Christianna Smith Retirement Gift Fund Records,
1958
1 folder

Financial records,
1958

Box 1: folder 9
Parliamentarian's Records: Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College,
1967-1976
1 folder

Reviews of Alumnae Association documents and description of job of parliamentarian,
1967-1976

Box 1: folder 10
Mount Holyoke College Equestrian Center Steering Committee Records,
1983-1986
1 folder

Plans, agenda, and other records,
1983-1986

Box 1: folder 11
Biographical Information,
1933-1995
1 folder

Biographical information,
1933-1995

Box 1: folder 12
Photographs,
1933, circa 1975
1 folder

Photographs,
1933, circa 1975

Box 1: folder 13

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
  • Dakin, Janet Wilder.
  • Smith, Christianna.
  • Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College - Rules and practice.
  • Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College.
  • Art - History - Study and teaching (Higher) - Massachusetts.
  • College students - Massachusetts.
  • Graduate students - Illinois - Chicago.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Curricula.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Student notebooks - 1931-1932.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Students.
  • Mount Holyoke College. - Art Dept.
  • Mount Holyoke College. - Christianna Smith Retirement Fund.
  • Mount Holyoke College. - Equestrian Center. - Steering Committee.
  • Mount Holyoke College. - Zoology Dept.
  • University of Chicago - Curricula.
  • Women college students - Massachusetts.
  • Women graduate students - Illinois - Chicago.
  • Women zoologists - United States - Biography.
  • Zoologists - United States - Biography.
  • Zoology - Study and teaching (Higher) - Massachusetts.

Genre terms
  • Autobiographies
  • Photographs


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