Five College Archives and Manuscript
Mount Holyoke College seal
Coon Papers, ca. 1913-1939.
1 box (2.5 linear in.)
Collection number: MS 0525 (LD 7092.8 Coon)

Coon, Edith Marion, 1889-1939; teacher and school administrator. Mount Holyoke College graduate, 1913. Mount Holyoke College faculty member, 1914-1916; Women's Christian College teacher and administrator, 1916-1939. Papers consist of letters, writings, biographical information and photographs, chiefly documenting her work as a science teacher and administrator and her travels in south Asia.

Terms of Access and Use:


Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections
South Hadley, MA

Biographical Note

Edith Marion Coon was born on March 1, 1889 in Springfield, Massachusetts, the daughter of E. Brownell Coon. She graduated from Springfield High School and attended Mount Holyoke College from 1909-1913, where she majored in mathematics and physics. She was an instructor and reader in mathematics at Mount Holyoke from 1914-1916 and received a M.A. in mathematics from the College in 1916. That same year she left to teach at Women's Christian College in Madras, India, where she was the first American to serve on the school's staff. She worked there as a mathematics teacher, head of the Physics Department and Vice-Principal until her death in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) on June 1, 1939 at the age of fifty.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Edith M. Coon Papers consist of correspondence, writings, biographical clippings, letters, and photographs. The papers pertain primarily to her years as a teacher and administrator at Women's Christian College in Madras, India (1916-1939). Her correspondence concerns many aspects of the College including enrollment, curriculum, finances, living arrangements, celebrations and language difficulties at the school. She also discusses social and political conditions in India, interactions with missionaries in the region, and vacations to Ceylon and Kashmir. Writings consist of articles by her concerning the condition of girls in India, the administration of Women's Christian College, an article on differential equations, and a speech about her work in India given in June 1922. Biographical information consists of letters, newspaper clippings and magazine articles chiefly about her work in India. The collection also includes two formal portraits and two snapshots of Coon, all probably dating from her years at Mount Holyoke.

This collection is organized into four series:

  • Correspondence
  • Writings
  • 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:

Edith M. Coon 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.

  • Coon, Edith M. (Edith Marion), 1889-1939.
  • College teachers - India.
  • India - Description and travel.
  • India - Politics and government - 1919-1947 - Sources.
  • India - Social conditions - 20th century.
  • Missionaries - India.
  • Science - Study and teaching (Higher) - India - History - Sources.
  • Voyages and travels.
  • Women - Education - India.
  • Women college teachers - India.
  • Women's Christian College (Madras, India) - History - Sources.

Genre terms
  • Letters.
  • Photographs.

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