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Selsam papers, ca. 1919-1997 (Bulk: 1920-1924)
1 box (2.5 linear in.)
Collection number: MS 0759 (LD 7096.6 1924 Kauffman)

Abstract:
Selsam, Georgia Elizabeth Kauffman, 1902-1997; student and secondary school teacher. Mount Holyoke College graduate, 1924. Papers contain correspondence, memorabilia, biographical information, and photographs primarily documenting her daily activities while at Mount Holyoke and special events.

Terms of Access and Use:

Unrestricted

Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections
South Hadley, MA

Biographical Note

Georgia Elizabeth Kauffman was born on October 6, 1902, in Mifflin, Pennsylvania. Her father, Allen R. Kauffman was a telephone operator for the Pennsylvania Railroad. She attended Mifflintown High School from 1915-1919 and the Dickinson Seminary in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, from 1919-1920, before enrolling in Mount Holyoke College in 1920. At Mount Holyoke, she majored in English Literature with a minor in English. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1924, she taught French and English at the High School in Brattleboro, Vermont from 1924-1926. On June 11, 1926 she married Clayton L. Piggott, a printer. In 1927 she had a daughter, Eleanor Katharine (who later graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1948) and in 1928 had another daughter, Margaret Hilton. She began teaching again at a nursery school in Brattleboro in 1930. In 1932 she moved to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and became the nursery school director at the Seller School; she remained there until 1935. In 1934 she divorced Piggott, and on September 12, 1935, she married John Paul Selsam, an assistant professor of history at the State College of Pennsylvania. After her husband died in 1950, Selsam remained active in the affairs of the State College of Pennsylvania, acting as an assistant to the Music Department and chaperoning a choir tour of Europe. She died on October 16, 1997 in Newtown, Pennsylvania at the age of ninety-five.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Georgia Kauffman Selsam Papers include correspondence, memorabilia, biographical information and photographs. Most of the material pertains to Kauffman's life at Mount Holyoke College from 1920-1924, especially her first semester of college in 1920. In her letters to family members she describes her everyday life at the College including food, clothing, sports, religious life, musical events, parties, balls, and her studies. She discusses events such as Mountain Day, trying out for the field hockey team, and the Junior Show. She also describes activities in her dormitory, Judson Hall, and her friends. The correspondence also includes a letter dated September 13, 1920, from Mildred Leona Batchelder, Mount Holyoke College Class of 1922 and "big sister to Selsam; a letter from Elizabeth S. Merriam, Mount Holyoke Class of 1921, dated September 19, 1920; and a letter dated December 23, 1920 from Miss Ruth S. Rafferty, Alumnae Secretary and resident of Judson Hall. Of special note is a letter about a visit with Robert Frost from the latter part of her life. The sixteen page letter dated in 1959 was written to family describing a forty-eight hour visit with poet Robert Frost who stayed with Mrs. Selsam while he was at Pennsylvania State University to give a talk and reading. Photographs include pictures of Judson Hall, her friends and family, costume parties, plays, Mountain Day, May Day, the fire damage to Rockefeller Hall, and Mount Holyoke College graduation 1924. Her memorabilia include a wedding notice, a calling card, and a Christmas card. Biographical information consists of a note, ca. 1926, and a death notice, 1997.

This collection is organized into four 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:

Georgia Kauffman Selsam 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,
1920-1924
5 folders

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

The correspondence chiefly consists of letters written by Selsam between 1920-1924. The majority of the letters date from her first semester at Mount Holyoke College in 1920. The letters addressed to her family describe her activities at Mount Holyoke, concerts, social events, balls, Young Women's Christian Association meetings, religious services and events, food, clothing, weight gain, trying out for the freshman field hockey team, her dormitory Judson Hall, speech classes and debate, a feud between Smith College and Amherst College students, a visit by Norman Thomas of the League for Industrial Democracy, and encounters with Mary Woolley. The correspondence also includes a letter dated September 13, 1920, from Mildred Leona Batchelder, Mount Holyoke College Class of 1922 and "big sister" to Selsam; a letter from Elizabeth S. Merriam Mount Holyoke College class of 1921, dated September 19, 1920; and a letter dated December 23, 1920, from Miss Ruth S. Rafferty, Alumnae Secretary and resident of Judson Hall.

Of note is a November 2, 1959 letter, from Georgia Kauffman Selsam to her daughters Eleanor S. Webster and Margaret S. Holmquist, describing a 48 hour visit with Robert Frost in the fall of 1959. Frost, eighty-five years old at the time of the visit, was at Pennsylvania State University for a reading and English teachers event and stayed at Ms. Selsam's. Selsam's 16 page letter includes details about his visit including his appetite, conversation, poetry, as well as commentary about some of Frost's contemporaries, including: Rita Van Doren, Frost's family, Roswell Ham, Mr. [Alfred] Harcour, A.P. [Alan Patrick]Herbert, Stanley Kunitz, Orton Lowe, Robert Lowell, Archibald MacLeish, Jeanette Marks, John Marquand, Edgar Lee Master, Edward Murrow, the Proctor Family, Theodore Roethke, Bertrand Russell, Carl Sandberg, Dr. Eric A. Walker, Wendell Wilkie. Other topics include Harper's Magazine and a biography of Frost in progress by a Miss Sedgwick. The original handwritten letter was typed by the secretary of Selsam's brother's law firm, John A. R. Welsh, Attorney at Law

Correspondence,
September, 1920

Box 1: folder 1
Correspondence,
October, 1920

Box 1: folder 2
Correspondence,
November, 1920

Box 1: folder 3
Correspondence,
December, 1920

Box 1: folder 4
Correspondence,
February 1921-June 1924

Box 1: folder 5
Correspondence,
November 2, 1959

Box 1: folder 6
Memorabilia,
1935, 1940
1 folder

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

The memorabilia consists of the wedding announcement of Georgia Kauffman Piggott and John Paul Selsam dated 1935, her calling card with a note dated August 22, 1940, and a Christmas card from Selsam dated 1940.

Memorabilia,
1935, 1940

Box 1: folder 7
Biographical Information,
ca. 1926, 1997
1 folder

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

The material consists of a biographical note about Selsam, ca. 1926, and a notice of her death in 1997.

Biographical information,
ca 1926, 1997

Box 1: folder 8
Photographs,
ca. 1919-1940
2 folders

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

This series consists of a photograph of Selsam taken when she was a senior at Mount Holyoke College, 1924, a photograph of the Selsam family with the Keller family at Lake Erie in June of 1940, and a photograph album dating from ca. 1919-1924. The majority of the photographs in the album are pictures of Mount Holyoke, Mountain Day, Judson Hall, and Selsam and her friends and family. Pictures of May Day, plays, the fire damage of Rockefeller Hall, and Mount Holyoke College graduation 1924 are also present. A small portion of photographs include pictures of the Dickinson Seminary, 1919-1920. A few annotations written by her daughter, Eleanor Selsam Webster, Mount Holyoke College class of 1948, include a story about the fire in Rockefeller Hall.

Photographs,
1924, 1940

Box 1: folder 9
Photograph album,
ca. 1919-1924

Folio

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
  • Selsam, Georgia Kauffman, 1902-1997.
  • American poetry -- 20th century.
  • Clothing and dress.
  • College students - Massachusetts.
  • Food.
  • May Day - Massachusetts - South Hadley.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Buildings.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Fires, 1922.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Plays, pageants, etc.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Religious life - 1920-1924.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Songs and music.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Sports.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Student life - 1920.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Students - Social life and customs.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Students.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Traditions.
  • Mountain Day - 1920.
  • Mountain Day - Massachusetts - South Hadley.
  • Music.
  • Physical education for women - History - Sources.
  • Women college students - Massachusetts.

Contributors
  • Batchelder, Mildred Leona, 1901-
  • Frost, Robert, 1874-1963.
  • Merriam, Elizabeth S. (Elizabeth Stuart), 1899-1972.
  • Rafferty, Ruth S. (Ruth Sherburne), 1892-1926.

Genre terms
  • Letters
  • Photographs


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