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Lydia W. Shattuck Papers, 1841-1890.
3 boxes (3 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 0585 (LD 7092.8 Shattuck)

Shattuck, Lydia White, 1822-1889; Botanist and teacher. Mount Holyoke Female Seminary graduate, 1851. Mount Holyoke Female Seminary teacher, 1851-1889. Papers contain letters from scientists and correspondence between her friends and former students, primarily documenting her professional life at Mount Holyoke. Also include writings, a herbarium, memorabilia, biographical material, and photographs.

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Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections
South Hadley, MA

Biographical Note

Lydia White Shattuck was born on June 10, 1822 in East Landoff, New Hampshire. She graduated from Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in 1851 and returned the next fall as a teacher of botany and chemistry. She became a prominent botanist, known internationally. In 1869, she took a Mount Holyoke student to Europe where they studied botany, and in 1873 she worked with Louis Agassiz and Arnold Henri Guyot at the Penikese Island (Massachusetts) school for natural history. She was dedicated to Mount Holyoke's achieving the status of a college, and retired in 1889, shortly after this goal was achieved. She died on November 2, 1889 in South Hadley, Massachusetts at the age of sixty-seven.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Lydia White Shattuck Papers are chiefly comprised of letters (1841-1889) from botanists and other scientists, including Leartus Connor, Asa Gray, Willard B. Rising, Joseph T. Rothrock and Alphonso Wood. Other correspondence is with friends and former students. Shattuck's writings (1849-circa 1883) include a notebook and notes for chemistry courses that she taught at Mount Holyoke; a "List of apparatus desired for the Laboratory of Mt. Holyoke Seminary,"; lists of money collected from students and teachers to fund the installation of an elevator in the Seminary Building; and notes for her remarks at prayer meetings at the school. There are also copies of her poem "Chat in the Wash Room,", her notes on "Miss Lyon's Standard for Absences,", and other verses, notes, and memoranda. The herbarium (circa 1888) contains forty plant samples collected by Shattuck and nine specimens from the "Herbarium of the Mount Holyoke Seminary."Memorabilia (circa 1851-1889) includes a handmade valentine submitted with a contribution to the Seminary Building elevator fund and locks of her hair. Biographical material (circa 1874-1890) chiefly consists of letters and a published memorial documenting written after her death in 1889 which document her achievements. Photographs (circa 1851-1887)consist of several formal portraits of Shattuck and a photograph taken of her while visiting Mills College in California.

Material from this collection is available in an online digital format.

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Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

Lydia W. Shattuck 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.

  • Botany - Study and teaching (Higher) - History - Sources.
  • Chemistry - Study and teaching (Higher) - History - Sources.
  • College teachers - United States - Correspondence.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Religious life - circa 1875-1882.
  • Science - Study and teaching (Higher) - History - Sources.
  • Scientists - United States - Correspondence.
  • Seminary Building (South Hadley, Mass.: Town)
  • Shattuck, Lydia W.(Lydia White), 1822-1889.
  • Women college teachers - United States - Correspondence.
  • Women scientists - United States - Correspondence.

Genre terms
  • Herbaria.
  • Letters
  • Notebooks.

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