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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)

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.

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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:

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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

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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

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