Five College Archives and Manuscript
Mount Holyoke College seal
Nichols Papers, 1837-1838.
1 box (2.5 linear in.)
Collection number: MS 0677 (LD 7096.6 x1839 Miller)

Nichols, Bethiah Avery Miller, 1815-1865; Student. Attended Mount Holyoke Female Seminary 1837-1838. Papers contain a letter, lecture notes and a photograph. Primarily documenting her experience at Mount Holyoke and her interactions with Mary Lyon, including a visit she made to Heath, Massachusetts requesting funds for the Seminary. Housed in control files; two letters from John Kirkland Clark, grandson of Priscilla Maxwell, to Mary Woolley, regarding a letter written to his mother by Bethiah Miller Nichols.

Terms of Access and Use:


Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections
South Hadley, MA

Biographical Note

Bethiah Avery Miller was born in Heath, Massachesetts on February 14, 1815 to The Reverend Moses Miller and Bethiah Ware Miller. She came to Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in 1837 and remained at the school for one year. She is considered a non-graduating member of the Class of 1839. She married the Reverend Washington Adams Nichols in 1838. She died in Lake Forest, Illinois in 1865.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Bethiah Miller Nichols Papers consist of a letter, lecture notes, biographical information, and a photograph. The material primarily relates to her year at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, 1837-1838, and her opinions on religion and education. Nichols wrote the letter to Pricilla Maxwell on January 16, 1837, and it describes Mary Lyon's visit to Heath, Massachusetts. During this visit, Lyon persuaded the residents of Heath to donate $1,200 in support of Mount Holyoke Female Seminary. Nichols' letter conveys surprise at Lyon's ability to bolster support for the Seminary from the people Heath. The letter also discusses death of a mutual friend from consumption (tuburculosis), and Nichols' religious beliefs have a heavy influence on all issues discussed in the letter. Notes on the history of ancient Greece, entitled "Abstracts from general history," taken on December 7, 1837, "Items from Miss Lyon's lectures on education," taken in 1838, and an undated set of notes from a lecture entitled, "Of Intellectual Habits" are included in the collection. The notes depict how Mount Holyoke Female Seminary students were taught in several subjects during the first year the seminary was open. The biographical information consists of a page of brief notes about Nichols, 1865, and one photograph of her husband, Reverend Washington Adams Nichols.

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

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


Preferred Citation

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

Bethiah A. Miller Nichols Papers, Mount Holyoke College, Archives and Special Collections, South Hadley, MA.

Additional Formats

Images from this collection are also available online as part of the Five College Archives Digital Access Project.

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.

Contents List
1 folder

Restrictions on access:


This series consists of one item, a typed transcription of a letter from Bethiah Miller Nichols to Priscilla Maxwell. In the letter Bethiah Miller refers to Ipswich Female Seminary where Priscilla Maxwell was a student. She also discusses Mary Lyon's 1837 fundraising lecture in Heath, Massachusetts.

1 folder


Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:


Scope and content:

This series contains Bethiah Miller Nichols notes from Mount Holyoke Female Seminary titled "Abstracts from General History," "Items From Miss Lyon's Lectures on Education," and "Of Intellectual Habits."

1 folder

Restrictions on access:


This series contains one brief page of notes about Bethiah Miller Nichols, compiled by Anna C. Edwards, Class of 1859.

1 folder

Restrictions on access:


This series contains one small photograph of Bethiah A. Miller Nichols husband, Washington Adams Nichols. The back of the photograph contains brief handwritten biographical notes.

Contents List
Letter to Priscilla Maxwell,
1 folder

Letter to Priscilla Maxwell

Box 1: folder 1
Lecture Notes,
1 folder

Lecture Notes

Box 1: folder 2
Biographical Information,
1 folder

Biographical Information

Box 1: folder 3
1 folder

Box 1: folder 1

Box 1: folder 4

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.

  • Lyon, Mary, 1797-1849.
  • Nichols, Bethiah A. Miller, 1815-1865.
  • Nichols, Washington Adams Portraits.
  • Death.
  • Education - Study and teaching (Higher) - Massachusetts - South Hadley.
  • Educational fund raising - Massachusetts.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Fund raising.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Inception.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Student papers - 1837-1838.
  • Mount Holyoke Female Seminary - Finance.
  • Mount Holyoke Female Seminary - History - Sources.
  • Religion.
  • Tuberculosis.
  • Women college students - Massachusetts - South Hadley.

  • Maxwell, Priscilla.
  • Mount Holyoke College. - History Dept.

Genre terms
  • Letters

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