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Mary Eliza Augur, a Mount Holyoke Female Seminary student and a teacher and housewife, was born on April 27, 1852 in Middlefield, Connecticut to Phineas Miller Augur, a farmer and town official, and Lucy Elizabeth Parmelee Augur. She entered Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in 1869 and left in 1871 before graduating because of ill health. She taught in Guilford, Connecticut from 1871-1872. She then lived with her sister, Lucy Augur Dudley, until she married Horace Francis Dudley, a farmer, on October 13, 1874. She was a housewife after her marriage and had six children. She died in Guilford on September 14, 1924 at the age of seventy-two.
The Mary E. Augur Dudley Papers consist of correspondence, writings, memorabilia, a biographical note, an obituary, and photographs, primarily portraying the activities of Augur family members in Connecticut between 1859-1895. Correspondence is chronologically arranged and separated into two groups: first, correspondence from family members and friends, followed by letters from Mount Holyoke Female Seminary graduate Susan E. Anderson. Family letters provide a detailed portrayal of the demands of farm life in Middlefield, Connecticut, report on the activities of family members, and document many aspects of social and religious life in Connecticut during that period. Most of the letters were written to Dudley by members of her family: her father Phineas M. Augur, her mother Lucy Elizabeth Parmelee Augur, her sister Lucy Augur Dudley, her brother Edwin Augur and his wife, Susan B. Augur, younger brothers Charles P. Augur and Alfred Augur, and their respective wife, Ida and Anna Augur. The letters reflect Dudley's homesickness while she was a student at Mount Holyoke, 1869-1871, and her family's concerns for her health. Letters that Dudley's father wrote to her offer encouragement and affection; he also sent her small sums of money on occasion. Other letters concern teaching activities of both Dudley and her sister Lucy and the latter's concerns over farm work, marriage, and illnesses and deaths in the community. Several of Charles Augur's letters from 1875 describe his experiences as a student at Massachusetts Agricultural College in Amherst, Massachusetts, and letters that his wife, Anna, wrote in 1886 refer to temperance work in Connecticut. There are also letters from a cousin, George Augur, written as a student at Union College in Schenectady, New York and dating from June 1873-April 1874. He discusses examinations and recitations, concerts given by students, an outbreak of illness at the school, and (in a letter dated June 18, 1873), opinions held by some Union faculty and students concerning women's colleges. Other letters in the collection are from teachers, relatives, and friends, particularly Susan E. Anderson, an 1870 Mount Holyoke graduate. Anderson's letters dating from 1870-1890 cover a wide range of topics. She describes her visits to Mount Holyoke after graduating, a reunion in 1872, the new "art building" (Williston Hall), and Anniversary Day in 1888. She often writes about men and their suitability as husbands. Anderson lived with a cousin in Nebraska in 1879-1880 and letters written during that period describe her dislike for the west and the poor economy in the region. Other letters are from several Mount Holyoke friends, particularly Sarah D. Baldwin. They discuss faculty members, health issues, teaching experiences, religion, dormitory life, domestic work, the antics of some "pretty wild" girls at the school, and sadness at the departure of Principal Julia E. Ward. The collection also includes essays and other writings by Dudley dating from before and during her time at Mount Holyoke that reflect her study of English language and writing. Topics of the earlier essays include "Education" and "Independence Day." Other writings include contributions by Dudley that appeared in "The School Garland," a manuscript newspaper "Published Semi-monthly by the scholars of the North District School." Her essays written while at Mount Holyoke concern topics such as "Life on a Farm," "The District School," "Seminary Wednesday," "My First Year at the Seminary," "My Brother Charles," and "How I Studied my Natural History Lesson." Memorabilia includes poems written by Lucy Augur Dudley and issues of the "American Series of Sunday-School Lessons Scholar's Paper." Biographical information includes a biographical note about Dudley and an obituary for her sister Lucy. Photographs are formal portraits of members of the Dudley and Augur families, including Dudley and her husband, Horace Francis Dudley.
This collection is organized into five series:
Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:
Mary E. Augur Dudley Papers, Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections, South Hadley, MA.
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