Five College Archives and Manuscript
Mount Holyoke College seal
Eleanor Bird Light Papers, 1967-1969
1 box (0.2 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 0835 (LD 7096.6 1969 Light)

Light, Eleanor Bird, 1947-; student, newspaper copy editor. Mount Holyoke College graduate, 1969. Papers consist of correspondence, a scrapbook, and a photograph primarily documenting her junior year abroad at the Women's Christian College in Madras, India.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:


Restrictions on use:

Use of the collection is governed by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S.C.).

Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections

Biographical Note

Eleanor Bird Light, a newspaper copy editor and graduate of Mount Holyoke College, was born on March 6, 1947 in Glen Ridge, New Jersey to William Underhill Light, a marine insurance adjustor, and his wife Eleanor Bird McElrath, a 1932 graduate of Mount Holyoke College and an elementary school librarian. Light attended the River Dell Regional High School until her entrance to Mount Holyoke College in September of 1965. She majored in religion and graduated in 1969. She then obtained a Master of Arts in Teaching from Reed College in Portland, Oregon. In 1976, Light worked as an Associate Editor for Prentice- Hall, Inc. and then re-located to Memphis, Tennessee where she worked as a newspaper copy editor for the Commercial Appeal.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Eleanor Bird Light Papers consist of correspondence, a scrapbook, and a photograph. This material chiefly concern her years as a student at Mount Holyoke College, 1965-1969, particularly her junior year abroad at the Womens Christian College (W.C.C.) in Madras, India in 1967-1968. While abroad in India, Light wrote to her parents at least once a week. Her letters describe the extreme poverty she encountered in India as well as the intense heat that was immediately apparent upon her arrival in Bombay. Other topics discussed include the W.C.C. curriculum, Indian food, her stay in an Indian hospital because of a gastro-intestinal illness, and her African-American friend, Jackie, whom Light felt had a particularly difficult time being accepted by the Indian students. She also describes her travel experiences while in India, including her explorations to Hindu temples and her stays in Indian households. Her travels took her to Hyderabad, Kerala, Benares, Bangalore, Mysore, New and Old Delhi, Calcutta, Bombay and the Tagore Community. Her scrapbook consists primarily of color snapshots of the W.C.C., including buildings and students. There are also photographs of Kancheevaram, the City of Temples and Silk Mills, and the Cooum River. The photograph is her Mount Holyoke College senior class portrait from 1969.

This collection is organized into three series:

Arranged chronologically.

Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:


Restrictions on use:

Use of the collection is governed by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S.C.).

Preferred Citation

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

Eleanor Bird Light Papers, Archives and Special Collections, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts, USA

History of the Collection

Processing Information

These papers were processed by Charlene van Dijk, 2005.

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:

Contents List

June-September 1967

Box 1: folder 1
October-December 1967

Box 1: folder 2
January-May 1968

Box 1: folder 3


Box 1: folder 4


Box 1: folder 5

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.

  • College students--India.
  • College students--Massachusetts.
  • Foreign study.
  • India--Description and travel.
  • India--Social life and customs--20th century.
  • Light, Eleanor Bird, 1947-
  • Mount Holyoke College--Students.
  • Student activities--India--Madras.
  • Student activities--Massachusetts--South Hadley.
  • Women college students--India.
  • Women college students--Massachusetts.
  • Women's Christian College (Madras, India).

Genre terms
  • Letters.
  • Photographs.
  • Scrapbooks.

Questions about this collection? Contact the archives
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