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Ransom papers, 1927-1965 (Bulk: 1932-1937)
2 boxes (1 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 0696 (LD 7096.6 1936 Mowatt)

Ransom, Annette Mowatt, 1915-1996; student and zoologist. Mount Holyoke College graduate, 1936. Papers consist of correspondence, a scrapbook, biographical information, and photographs; principally pertaining to her daily activities and social events at Mount Holyoke. Also of note is her correspondence pertaining to her work as a secretary-companion and zoologist in the British West Indies, 1936-1937.

Terms of Access and Use:


Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections
South Hadley, MA

Biographical Note

Annette Mowatt was born on September 23, 1915 to Frank and Sarah Quimby Mowatt in Swampscott, Massachusetts. Her mother was a member of the Mount Holyoke College Class of 1907. Mowatt attended Mount Holyoke from 1932-1936 and received her B.A. in 1936 with a major in zoology. In December of that year she went to the British West Indies to work as a secretary/companion and zoologist for the West India Chemical Company until June 1937. For six months in the winter of 1937 she attended business administration courses at Harvard University. She married Frederick J. Ransom on December 28, 1940, and they had three children. She attended classes at the University of Colorado from 1942-1944 and at Denver University from 1948-1950. She became the school district secretary in New Ipswich, New Hampshire in 1958. She received her Masters in Education from the University of New Hampshire in 1964. From 1966 until her retirement in 1977 she was a guidance counsellor at the Houston Independent School District in Houston, Texas. She died at the age of eighty-one in South Tamworth, New Hampshire on October 9, 1996.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Annette Mowatt Ransom Papers consist of correspondence, a scrapbook, biographical information and photographs. The bulk of the collection describes her undergraduate years at Mount Holyoke College, 1932-1936, and reflects campus events and traditions. Her letters to her family, 1923-1936, discuss her daily life and social activities. They include descriptions of traditions including the hazing of freshmen, Mountain Day, Junior Prom, Junior Show and Faculty Show. The letters also describe examinations, food, clothes, cooperative work by students, zoology courses, rules and regulations of dating, faculty, sports, and her involvement with the Outing Club. She mentions an attempt to abolish the required chapel attendance (February 17, 1933) and notes the approval of smoking in the dorms (May 20, 1934). She also describes Mary E. Woolley (November 6, 1934) and Gertrude Stein's visit to campus (January 20, 1935). Her letters reflect her opinion that she would "much rather be mediocre and do things than stay home and study every minute." Other correspondents include Pauline C. Gates, Mount Holyoke College Class of 1933, and Ruth Sawyer Durand, mother of Margaret Durand McCloskey, Class of 1936. The scrapbook also concerns her years as an undergraduate and contains her explanatory notes. Included in the scrapbook are photographs, press clippings, programs from campus events, a Mountain Day announcement, a copy of senior rules for freshman hazing, Christmas cards and Valentines. The photographs in the scrapbook document her dorm rooms, a winter sports class, the Sycamores and field hockey. The biographical information consists of a page from the 1964 program during which she received her Masters of Education from the University of New Hampshire. The photographs consist of a formal portrait taken during her senior year. Additional correspondence in the collection also describes the six months she spent working on the island of Inagua in the Bahamas. She was employed as a secretary-companion and zoologist, but her letters reflect her experiences of cooking, training kitchen staff, whitewashing, darning, and dreaming up entertainment for the staff of young men, which included her brother Allan.

This collection is organized into four series:

  • Correspondence
  • Scrapbook
  • Biographical Information
  • Photographs

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


Preferred Citation

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

Annette Mowatt Ransom 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.

  • Ransom, Annette Mowatt, 1915-1996.
  • Bahamas - Economic conditions.
  • College students - Massachusetts.
  • College students - Religious life.
  • Food.
  • Hazing - Massachusetts.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Faculty.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Regulations.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Sports.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Student life - 1932-1936.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Traditions.
  • Mount Holyoke College. - Outing Club.
  • Mountain Day - Massachusetts - South Hadley.
  • Smoking - Massachusetts.
  • Student activities - Massachusetts - South Hadley.
  • Students - Employment.
  • Voyages and travels.
  • Women college students - Massachusetts.
  • Women travelers.
  • Zoology - Study and teaching (Higher) - Massachusetts.

  • Durand, Ruth Sawyer.
  • Gates, Pauline C., 1912-

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

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