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Louise Eleanor Fruen was born on August 9, 1927 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her parents were Arthur B. Fruen, President of Fruen Milling Company, and Reba M. Watson Fruen. She graduated from West High School in Minneapolis then attended Mount Holyoke College from 1945-1949 and majored in American Culture. She later received a B.S. in Education from the University of Minnesota and a M.L.S. from Kent State University. On November 28, 1952 she married Richard E. Barnett, a graduate of Middlebury College. They had four children. She worked as teacher, a telephone sales representative for Uniited Airlines, and a housewife and has also done volunteer work. The Barnetts have lived in California, Colorado, Oklahoma, Calgary, Canada, New Jersey, New York, Akron, Ohio for 24 years, and North Carolina.
The Louise Eleanor Fruen Barnett Papers contain letters written during her freshman year at Mount Holyoke College (September 17, 1945-April 30, 1946). Letters were addressed to her parents and other family members and chiefly reflect her social and academic activities. She discusses her courses and teachers, especially introductory English and philosophy classes with Constance Meadnis Saintonge and Roger W. Holmes and physiology laboratories with Charlotte Haywood. She also mentions Mount Holyoke President Roswell Gray Ham, classmates, and an "extremely boring talk" at the College by Eleanor Roosevelt (October 20, 1945). Many letters discuss food, dating, dances, her expenses, and her job in a campus kitchen. There are also descriptions of a trip to the Outing Club Cabin (November 2, 1945), bicycle trips to Amherst, Massachusetts and visits to Smith College. Also of note is a reference to "8 or 10 Negro students" (September 24, 1945) a mention of writing to President Harry Truman about making "the atomic secret known to the other countries" (November 2, 1945), and a description of her volunteer work at a settlement house in Holyoke, Massachusetts (April 7, 1946). In addition, the letters describe Mount Holyoke traditions such as Mountain Day, College songs, hazing, May Day, Founder's Day and Junior Show.
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Louise Fruen Barnett Papers, Mount Holyoke College, Archives and Special Collections, South Hadley, MA.
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