Five College Archives and Manuscript
Mount Holyoke College seal
M. Ward papers, 1893-1960.
1 box (5 linear in.)
Collection number: MS 0596 (LD 7096.6 1897 Ward)

Ward, Mary Isabella, 1874-1961; teacher and missionary. Mount Holyoke College graduate, 1897. Papers consist of excerpts from letters written as a Mount Holyoke College student (1893-1897), and letters describing her life as a missionary and teacher in Turkey (1923-1932). Also includes a large collection of postcards showing people, buildings, and scenes in Turkey and Syria.

Terms of Access and Use:


Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections
South Hadley, MA

Biographical Note

Mary Isabella Ward was born on September 19, 1874 in Brookline, Massachusetts to Langdon and Laura (Bliss) Ward. Her father was treasurer of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions for nearly thirty years. She graduated from Newton High School and attended Mount Holyoke College from 1893-1897, receiving a B.A. degree. She was a teacher in Thetford, Vermont in 1897-1898, and in Margaretville, New York from 1898-1900. She then went to Turkey and taught at several schools including the American Collegiate Institute in Izmir, the Gedik Pasha School in Istanbul, and the Girl's Boarding School in Marsovan (Merzifon). She returned to the United States in 1944 when she retired. She died on November 16, 1961 at the age of eighty-seven in Medfield, Massachusetts.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Mary I. Ward Papers consists of correspondence, newspaper clippings and obituaries, press releases, a loan agreement, a sympathy card, an article from a missionary magazine, photographs and postcards. The papers primarily document her experiences as a student at Mount Holyoke College, 1893-1897, and as a teacher and missionary at the Girls' Boarding School in Marsovan, Turkey, the American Collegiate Institute in Izmir, Turkey, and the Gedik Pasha School in Istanbul, Turkey between 1923-1932. Also included are letters exchanged with family members, 1945-1956, including brother William Earl Dodge Ward. Correspondence from her student years consists of excerpts from letters in which she describes her social activities, faculty members, basketball games and gymnastic competitions, Mountain Day celebrations and other College traditions, class meetings, and a mock presidential election (1896). She also mentions ice skating in the new skating rink on campus (1896) and refers to fires that destroyed the First Congregational Church building in South Hadley (1894) and the school's Seminary Building (1896). Another letter describes her 50th class reunion in 1947. Her letters written from Turkey discuss the curriculum, finances, and living arrangements at the schools where she worked as well as social and political conditions in that country, challenges facing the missionary movement, and interactions with other missionaries in the region. Of note are Ward's descriptions of the political, cultural, and familial influences effecting student enrollment in schools. Biographical information consists of newspaper clippings, press releases, a loan agreement reflecting financial assistance that she received from her brother, an article about Ward's school in Turkey, obituaries, and a sympathy card. Photographs include formal portraits of Ward, a snapshot of the "Gipsy Girls' School Marsovan 1911", and family portraits. Postcards are from Jerusalem, Syria and Turkey and includes images of historic landmarks and the interior of a "native house," Ward's schools, villagers, and prospective teachers.

This collection is organized into four series:

  • Correspondence
  • Biographical Information
  • Postcards
  • 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:

Mary I. Ward 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.

  • Ward, Mary I. (Mary Isabella), 1874-1961.
  • American Collegiate Institute (Izmir, Turkey) - History - Sources.
  • First Congregational Church (South Hadley, Mass.) - Fire, 1894.
  • Gedikpasa School (Istanbul, Turkey)
  • Jerusalem - Views.
  • Missionaries - Turkey.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Basketball.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Faculty.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Fire, 1896
  • Mount Holyoke College - Skating rink.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Student life - 1893-1897.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Students - Political activity.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Students.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Traditions.
  • Mount Holyoke College. - Class of 1897.
  • Mountain Day - Massachusetts - South Hadley.
  • Schools - Turkey.
  • Skating rinks - Massachusetts - South Hadley.
  • Student activities - Massachusetts - South Hadley.
  • Syria - Views.
  • Turkey - Politics and government - 1918-1960.
  • Turkey - Social conditions.
  • Turkey - Social life and customs - 20th century.
  • Turkey - Views.
  • Western Turkey Mission. - Girls' Boarding School - History - Sources.
  • Women - Education - Turkey - History - 20th century - Sources.
  • Women - Turkey - Social conditions.
  • Women - United States - Economic conditions - Sources.
  • Women missionaries - Turkey.
  • Young women - Education - Turkey - History - 20th century - Sources.

  • Ward family.
  • Ward, William Earl Dodge, 1884-1977.

Genre terms
  • Letters.
  • Photographs.
  • Postcards.

Questions about this collection? Contact the archives
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