Charlotte D'Evelyn Papers
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Charlotte D'Evelyn Papers, Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections, South Hadley, Masachusetts
History of the Collection
Summary of Correspondence
The collection includes four letters to her mother (since her mother died when Charlotte was about three, this is probably her step-mother) written during her year of public school teaching in California, 1912-13; one from Bryn Mawr in 1915; and then frequent letters addressed to her family starting with June 11, 1915 while en route to England on a graduate fellowship, and continuing through to the end of that calendar year. There are four more letters written from England between March 12 and April 2, 1916. All these early letters are signed Mina.
Included also are scattered letters after her year in England, beginning with the letter of her Mount Holyoke appointment (july 25, 1917) and ending with a letter from her nephew in 1972.
The letters from England begin with a description of sightseeing in Chester (she landed in Liverpool) and on to London where she spent most of the summer. From there she went on to Oxford in the fall, enrolling in some classes and working on her medieval manuscripts. She describes the life of an American graduate student at Oxford, the living arrangements, English customs, meetings with other students at frequent teas, dinner at Lady Margaret (Nov. 11), Thanksgiving (church, dinner, football - Nov. 28), the Boar's Head ceremony at Queen's College (Dec. 26).
All these letters reflect war-time conditions in Britain. Soldiers are everywhere. She reports on a recruiting meeting in London's Guildhall with Lord Kitchener and another at Oxford in the riding school with the Bishop of Oxford, Duke of Marlborough, etc. (July 11 and Oct. 4). There are blackouts, air raids, and bayonet practice on the Oxford meadows. The Oxford women students adopted a prisoner of war, with packages weekly (valued at 6s.) sent to the Continent, each containing four pounds of bread and other gifts (Nov. 21). She describes a hospital visit to a wounded soldier.
Her humor is nicely illustrated when writing about one of her first visits to the Bodleian. Sir F. Madan explained that D'Evelyn must be the old Latin name of Dublin. "I'll now be able to explain the name is not French...., but godd old Irish and that our family came over with J. Caesar and founded the city of Dublin." (Oct. 10, 1915).