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Cowles papers, ca. 1821-1903.
1 box (2.5 linear in.)
Collection number: MS 0718 (LD 7092.8 Caldwell)

Abstract:
Cowles, Eunice Caldwell, 1811-1903; Teacher. Mount Holyoke Female Seminary Associate Principal, 1837-1838. Papers contain correspondence, writings, biographical information, Caldwell and Cowles family papers and a photograph. Chiefly focusing on her connections to Mary Lyon and Zilpah P. Grant Banister through both Mount Holyoke and Ipswich Female Seminaries and her activities and social events at each institution.

Terms of Access and Use:

Unrestricted

Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections
South Hadley, MA

Biographical Note

Eunice Caldwell was born on February 4, 1811, in Ipswich, Massachusetts. She was the daughter of Captain John Caldwell and Eunice Stanwood Caldwell. Her father, a sailor, drowned in the Kennebec River in 1835. She attended Ipswich Female Seminary from 1828 to 1829, where she met and began a lasting friendship with Mary Lyon, a teacher and an assistant to Zilpah P. Grant, the school's principal, from 1828 to 1839. She graduated from Ipswich in 1829 and was a teacher there from 1830-1835. She served as the first principal of Wheaton Female Seminary (later Wheaton College) in Norton, Massachusetts in 1836. She left her position at Wheaton for Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, where she was Associate Principal from 1837-1838. She married the Reverend John Phelps Cowles in 1838 and followed him to Oberlin College, where he was professor of Hebrew. In 1844 they returned to reopen Ipswich Female Seminary which they ran until it closed in 1876. The Cowles's had three daughters. Cowles died at the age of ninety-two on September 10, 1903 in Ipswich, Massachusetts.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Eunice Caldwell Cowles Papers include correspondence, writings, biographical information, Caldwell and Cowles family papers, and a photograph. Much of this material concerns Cowles's connections to Mount Holyoke Female Seminary and to Ipswich Female Seminary, where she spent most of her career. The correspondence, dating from 1833 to 1888, includes letters by and to Cowles. Some early letters in the collection are addressed to friends and family members. Other letters concern Mount Holyoke Female Seminary at its inception, including a letter, dated March 8, 1838 and entitled "Washing Day at Mount Holyoke Seminary," that describes the students' weekly cleaning routine. Later letters by Cowles are more general in nature and are addressed mainly to friends. Also included are letters written by Mary Lyon to Cowles. One letter, dated July 3, 1836, concerns Cowles's appointment as associate principal at Mount Holyoke. Another, dated November 29, 1855, concerns a student at Ipswich Female Seminary. The writings include two journals that Cowles kept while she was a student at Ipswich Female Seminary from 1831-1832. One describes her academic routine and makes reference to Mary Lyon, her teacher at Ipswich. The other journal contains Bible passages. Also included in the writings is a pamphlet by Cowles entitled "Our Maidens," from a lecture she delivered in 1879 at a meeting of the Women's Board of Missions in Boston, Massachusetts. The pamphlet discusses the training of women missionaries and Mary Lyon's role in this field. Also included are documents written by Mary Lyon but apparently copied by Cowles. These documents include spiritual writings, letters, a ledger of cash received from Mount Holyoke for furniture, and some compositions on education. The biographical information consists of an obituary and a biographical note, circa 1903. The family papers include a notification, dated July 30, 1835, of the drowning death of Cowles's father, Captain John Caldwell. The series also includes two receipts belonging to Cowles's husband, John Cowles, as well as a short note from Mary Lyon to Cowles's mother, Eunice Caldwell. The photograph is a formal portrait of Cowles, possibly dating from the 1850s. It appears to be a copy of a photograph that was published in a newspaper or magazine.

This collection is organized into five series:


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:

Eunice C. Cowles 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
Correspondence,
1833-1888
2 folders

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

The correspondence consists of twenty letters and two postcards written by and to Cowles between 1833 and 1888. The letters by Cowles, primarily addressed to friends and family, discuss personal news and include information relating to the opening of Mount Holyoke Female Seminary. Of particular interest is a letter dated March 8, 1838, entitled "Washing Day at Mt. Holyoke Seminary," in which she gives a detailed account of Mondays at the school, when time was set aside for students to wash their clothing as well as the inside of the school building. Also included in the series are two letters by Mary Lyon as well as one to her from Cowles. The first letter written by Lyon is an informational letter from July 3, 1836 about Cowles's recent appointment at Mount Holyoke. The letter written to Lyon, dated July 11, 1844, describes some of Cowles's students at Ipswich Female Seminary. The second letter by Lyon is a short note, dated November 29, 1855, concerning a student who was soon to attend Ipswich Female Seminary. The letters written by Cowles later in life are of a general nature, mainly to friends.

Letters by Cowles,
1835-1888, undated

Box Box 1: folder 1
Letters to Cowles,
1833-1888, undated

Box Box 1: folder 2
Writings,
circa 1821-1879
3 folders

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

The writings consist of two journals Cowles kept while she was a student at Ipswich Female Seminary 1831-1832. One describes her academic routine and contains references to Mary Lyon, her teacher at Ipswich. The other journal is primarily made up of Bible passages. Also in this series is a pamphlet written by Cowles entitled "Our Maidens," a copy of a lecture delivered in 1879 at a meeting of The Women's Board of Missions in Boston. The pamphlet discusses the training of women as missionaries and includes a lengthy section on Mary Lyon and her visionary role in this education. This series also contains documents apparently written by Mary Lyon between 1821 and 1848 and copied by Cowles. These documents include spiritual writings, letters, a ledger of cash received from Mount Holyoke for furniture, and some compositions on education.

Her copies of documents written by Mary Lyon,
circa 1821-1848

Box 1: folder 3
Journal,
1831-1832

Box 1: folder 4
Journal,
1831-1832

Box 1: folder 5
Pamphlet,
"Our Maidens," 1879

Box 1: folder 6
Biographical Information,
circa 1903
1 folder

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

The biographical information consists of an obituary from "Christian World" magazine, circa 1903, describing Cowles's role in women's education, and a biographical note, also dating from about 1903.

Biographical information,
circa 1903

Box 1: folder 6
Family Papers,
circa 1830s, 1835, 1850, 1879
1 folder

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

This series consists of Caldwell and Cowles family papers. The series includes a letter dated July 30, 1835, written by William Caldwell and addressed to Daniel Cogswell of Ipswich, notifying him of the drowning death of Cowles's father, Captain John Caldwell. Also included are two receipts belonging to Cowles's husband, John Cowles, as well as a short note from Mary Lyon to Cowles' mother, Eunice Caldwell, possibly written in the 1830s.

Caldwell and Cowles family papers,
circa 1830s, 1835, 1850, 1879

Box 1: folder 7
Photograph,
circa 1850s
1 folder

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

This series consists of a formal portrait of Cowles probably dating from the 1850s. The photograph appears to be a copy of a photograph that was published in a magazine or newspaper.

Photograph,
circa 1850s

Box 1: folder 8

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
  • Cowles, Eunice C. (Eunice Caldwell), 1811-1903.
  • Lyon, Mary, 1797-1849.
  • Ipswich Female Seminary (Ipswich, Mass.) - Faculty.
  • Ipswich Female Seminary (Ipswich, Mass.) - Students.
  • Missionaries - Training of.
  • Mount Holyoke Female Seminary - Domestic work.
  • Mount Holyoke Female Seminary - Faculty.
  • Mount Holyoke Female Seminary - Furnishings.
  • Mount Holyoke Female Seminary - History.
  • Mount Holyoke Female Seminary - Inception.
  • Mount Holyoke Female Seminary - Student life - 1838.
  • Women - Religious life - Massachusetts.
  • Women missionaries.
  • Women's colleges - Massachusetts.

Contributors
  • Lyon, Mary, 1797-1849.

Genre terms
  • Diaries.
  • Letters.
  • Photographs.
  • Receipts.


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