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Harriet Johnson was born in Newbury, Vermont. Her father was David Johnson, a merchant. She began attending Ipswich Female Seminary in 1833 and graduated in 1837. For a time in 1834-1835 she also worked as a teacher in Byfield, Massachusetts. She married Isaac Hale of Providence, Rhode Island and had eight children before she died in 1865.
The Harriet Johnson Hale Papers consists of correspondence and a notebook chiefly dating from her years as a student at Ipswich Female Seminary, 1833-1837. Ten of the letters are addressed to her parents and siblings. Hale describes many aspects of her life at Ipswich, including her room and board arrangements, schedule, studies, the regulations and callisthenic exercises ("rather disgusting"). She makes many references to her teachers Zilpah P. Grant (later Banister) and Mary Lyon, describing several lectures given by them and discussing the teaching philosophies of both women. Her letter of April 5, 1837 includes a copy of Lyon's detailed description of the kind of bedding that she desired for rooms at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary. Hale often expresses her own views concerning the education of women as well. She also describes excursions from school including a visit to factories in Amesbury, Massachusetts (November 20, 1833) and trips to Boston and Gloucester, Massachusetts. A letter written on May 3, 1834 describes her activities as a teacher in Byfield, Massachusetts. In a letter, probably written in 1835, to "the Editor of the Annals of Education" she discusses the importance of sharing ideas and information among students and encourages the purchase of books, periodicals, and slates for use in schoolrooms. Several other letters reflect her interest in temperance. Her notebook contains examples of "Practical and Ornamental" penmanship copied by Hale in 1830.
This collection is organized into two series:
Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:
Harriet Johnson Hale Papers, Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections, South Hadley, Massachusetts
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