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Meribeth Elliott Cameron Papers, 1905-1997, n.d. (Bulk: 1920-1970)
15 boxes ( 6 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 0828

Cameron, Meribeth Elliott, 1905-1997, educator and college administrator. Mount Holyoke College professor and administrator, 1948-1970. Papers contain correspondence, writings, diaries, datebooks and notes, family papers, financial material, clippings, memorabilia, International Federation of University Women papers, Asian art, biographical materials and legal documents, and photographs. Primarily concerning her professional life as an educator and college administrator.

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Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections
South Hadley, MA

Biographical Note

Meribeth Elliott Cameron, an academic administrator and historian, was born in Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada on May 22, 1905 to John Cameron (1872-circa 1904) and Margaret Elliott Cameron (1874-1963), a teacher. Cameron graduated from Santa Monica High School in Santa Monica, California in 1921 and entered Stanford University in Palo Alto, California to study Far East history. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, she earned a B.A. degree from Stanford in 1925. Cameron remained at Stanford for the next year and served as a graduate assistant in history and she was awarded a M.A. degree in history in 1926. Cameron earned a second Master's degree in history at Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1927. In late 1927, Cameron returned to Stanford, where she again served as a graduate assistant in history and completed her dissertation, "The Reform Movement in China, 1898-1912." She was awarded a Ph.D. in History and Political Science at Stanford in 1928. Cameron then worked as a history Instructor at Reed College, in Portland, Oregon from 1928-1934 and Flora Stone Mather College of Western Revere University in Cleveland, Ohio from 1934-1937. In 1937, Cameron was promoted to Assistant Professor of history at Flora Stone Mather. Cameron next held the position of Dean of the College and Professor of history at Milwaukee-Downer College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, from 1941-1948. In 1948, Cameron became an Academic Dean and Professor of history at Mount Holyoke College and remained in this position until retiring in 1970 at the age of sixty-five. While at Mount Holyoke, Cameron served as acting president of the college in 1956, 1966 and 1968-69, while simultaneously teaching a full course load. Cameron held several positions with organizations including president of the International Federation of University Women from 1959-62 and board member and charwoman of the National Committee on International Relations of the American Association of University Women from 1953-59. She was an original editor of The Journal of Asian Studies and served as the book review editor from 1941-1951. During her academic career, Cameron published numerous journal articles, a book, "The Reform Movement in China, 1898-1912" and co-authored another book, "China, Japan and the Powers." Later in life, she also held several honorary degrees from Mount Holyoke College, Oberlin College, Wheaton College and the University of Western Australia. Cameron died at Holyoke (Mass.) Hospital on July 11, 1997 at the age of ninety-two.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Meribeth Elliott Cameron Papers span the years 1905-1997 (bulk dates 1920-1970) and consist of correspondence, writings, diaries, datebooks and notes, family papers, financial material, clippings, memorabilia, International Federation of University Women and American Association of University Women papers, Asian art, biographical material and photographs. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence that reflects Cameron's professional life as a college dean and professor of history at several academic institutions, 1928-1970. Most of the letters were written by Mary Benson, a colleague, friend and later companion Cameron met while both taught in the history department at Milwaukee-Downer College. During periods where the two women were separated, Benson often wrote to Cameron on a daily basis discussing events and news and events about Milwaukee-Downer College. This material includes other formal and informal letters written to Cameron from women associated with Reed College, Flora Stone Mather College, Milwaukee-Downer College and Mount Holyoke College. Letters discuss her position as dean and professor and news and events of the colleges taking place after Cameron had moved from the area to accept a new position. Students and friends who held faculty positions often wrote to Cameron with personal news and news of the respective college. The writing series is comprised of published and unpublished pieces written by Cameron. Most material concern topics in Asian history, but some pieces discuss aspects of academia, in which Cameron writes from her perspective as an Academic Dean at a women's college. Diaries contain short entries detailing daily events and event dates. There are entries from 1921-1986 with gaps in years. The International Federation of University Women and American Association of University Women papers includes correspondence, writings and memorabilia relating to Cameron's tenure as president of the Federation from 1952-1962; the bulk of material dates from this time. The clipping series contains a scrapbook of clippings created by Cameron that highlights her achievements from 1921-1944 as well as obituaries and unarranged clippings on various topics. The Family History papers series traces Cameron's ancestry and include reminiscences about two family members, published family histories of the Lazier family, family trees for the Lazier and Appleby family and documents relating to Cameron's maternal aunt, Anne Appleby Elliott and maternal uncle, Samuel Shaw Lazier. Rounding out the collection is memorabilia, Asian art, biographical material, and photographs.

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Terms of Access and Use
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Preferred Citation

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

Meribeth Elliott Cameron Papers, Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections, South Hadley, MA

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:

Series Descriptions
1923-1995, n.d.

Consists primarily of personal and professional letters written to Cameron over a seventy-two year period, 1923-1995. Fewer than ten letters are written by Cameron. Most of the correspondence is composed of personal letters including a substantial number by Mary Benson, Cameron's friend and companion, dated between 1945-1946 and 1949-1950. Letters are very frequent, with Benson often writing daily and having gaps no more than five days between letters, except there is a gap in the letters from February 1949-June 1949, with only five letters from this period. Benson's letters are separated and arranged chronologically. Other correspondents include women friends, colleagues and former students associated with Reed College, Flora Stone Mather College, Stanford University, Milwaukee Downer College and Mount Holyoke College as well as some professional letters. Most letters are dated after 1934, when Cameron left her position(s) at the respective institutions. Letters detail the personal experiences of the correspondents and news of events at Flora Stone Mather College and Milwaukee Downer College. Frequent correspondents include Ruth Damkoehler, a friend and college from Milwaukee Downer College; Phyllis Allen, a former student of Cameron's at Flora Stone Mather College and Louise Willcock. Professional letters roughly range from 1928-1948 and include information about official college business and details about Cameron's hiring and work at Reed College, Flora Stone Mather College and Milwaukee Downer College. A frequent correspondent is Lucia Briggs, president of Milwaukee Downer College.

Consists of a thesis, articles, reviews study guides, speeches, addresses, eulogies, manuscripts and notes written by Cameron. The thesis, articles and reviews content relates to Asian history, Cameron's field of study with the exception of one article about the History Department at Flora Stone Mather College. Articles and reviews are published or unpublished. The study guides are all published. Speeches and addresses were written and delivered by Cameron at conferences, professional associations and college events. Topics include Asian history and the aspects of academia, in which Cameron writes from the perspective of a dean and interim president at Mount Holyoke College. Eulogies are for the funerals of two former deans at Mount Holyoke College, Catherine Palmer Robinson and Leta Kirk Rymer. The manuscripts are from an unidentified work about Asian history and are missing pages.

1920-1986, n.d.

Consists of short entries in a planner/journal; most written on a daily basis. Content varies, but includes appointments, daily activities, meals and the weather.


Consists of correspondence, published and unpublished writings, programs, pamphlets and clippings associated with Cameron's membership activity in the IFUW and AAUW (American branch of the IFUW) and her presidency of the IFUW from 1959-1962.

1936-1995, n.d.

Consists of receipts, book publication documents, war ration books, earning statements, tax forms, insurance forms and a homeowner's policy, all addressed to Cameron or stating her name on the document/form. The receipts included are from "The French Bookstore-Peking" and "Bloedel's Jewelers, Milwaukee." Book publication documents include royalty statements and a publication agreement.


Consists of programs, pamphlets, itineraries, publicity material, invitations, certificates and bulletins. The programs and invitations mainly included concern dinners, conferences, lectures, plays and shows Cameron attended; some at Mount Holyoke College. The program for the memorial service for her in 1997 is also included. Pamphlets describe United States hotel and tourist attractions. Itineraries detail Cameron's trips abroad. Much of the publicity material and bulletins detail events at Flora Stone Mather College and Milwaukee Downer College. Certificate included are certificate of membership of Delta Delta Delta Fraternity, certificate of appreciation from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and a certificate of welcome as a contributor to Encyclopedia Britannica. Also included are two airplane ticket stubs.

1921-1997, n.d.

Consists of newspaper clippings and some magazine clippings dating from 1921-1997, with the greatest concentration of clippings dating from 1960-1969. Clippings from 1921-1944 are pasted in a journal in the form of a scrapbook, most likely assembled by Cameron. Clippings relate to Cameron's academic and professional accomplishments. Specifically, the clippings' content relates to Cameron, Mount Holyoke College, Milwaukee Downer College, people associated with the colleges. Many of the clippings are newspaper photographs of dogs, cats and zoo animals. Many of the clippings come from "The Milwaukee Journal" and "The New York Times."


Consists of postcards and a pamphlet, a book and magazines pages and clippings of Asian art. Some material was organized by Cameron under titles "Ch'ien Ling," "Korea," "Japan," "Manchuria and Mongolia," "Chinese Types," "Chinese Gardens" and "Chinese Art- Miscellaneous."

1905-1983, n.d.

Consists of education documents and several government issued documents relating to Cameron. The education documents include a resume with no date, graduate grade reports, a Stanford graduate transcript and high school report cards. Government issued documents includes a birth certificate, certificate of naturalization/citizenship, social security card, driver's licenses and passports.

1936-1972, n.d.

Consists of material relating to; Cameron's maternal aunt, Anne Appleby Elliott, Cameron's maternal uncle, Samuel Shaw Lazier and genealogy research notes and papers. Elliott papers include passports naturalization papers, Red Cross Society receipts, a war ration book, obituaries and a funeral guest book. Lazier papers include letters from a cousin and a statement of estate accounts. Family history papers include a family tree and articles, book chapters, reminiscences and notes about relatives.

circa 1906-circa 1985

Consists of mainly informal photographs of Cameron, Cameron with others, places, trips, and other people. Included are some formal and informal photographs of Cameron as a child. Few photos are labeled.

Contents List
Series 1: Correspondence
1923-1995, n.d.

Benson correspondence
Jan.-Sept. 1945

Box 1: folder 1
Benson correspondence
Oct.-Nov. 1945

Box 1: folder 2
Benson correspondence
Dec. 1945-Jan. 1946

Box 1: folder 3
Benson correspondence
Feb.-March 1946

Box 1: folder 4
Benson correspondence
April-May 1946

Box 1: folder 5
Benson correspondence
Jan.-Sept. 1949

Box 1: folder 6
Benson correspondence
Oct.-Nov. 1949

Box 1: folder 7
Benson correspondence
Dec. 1949-Jan. 1950

Box 1: folder 8
Benson correspondence
Dec. 1951, April 1959, Jan. 1962

Box 1: folder 9
General correspondence
June 1923-1937

Box 1: folder 10
General correspondence
Jan.-Dec. 1941

Box 1: folder 11
General correspondence
March-Dec. 1942, n.d.

Box 1: folder 12
General correspondence
Jan.-Dec. 1943

Box 2: folder 1
General correspondence
Jan.-Dec. 1944, n.d.

Box 2: folder 2
General correspondence
March-Dec. 1945

Box 2: folder 3
General correspondence
March 1946-Dec. 1949, n.d.

Box 2: folder 4
General correspondence
undated 1940s

Box 2: folder 5
General correspondence
Jan. 1950-Dec. 1955, n.d.

Box 2: folder 6
General correspondence
Jan. 1956-Dec. 1957, n.d.

Box 2: folder 7
General correspondence
Feb. 1958-Dec. 1959

Box 2: folder 8
General correspondence
undated 1950s

Box 2: folder 9
General correspondence
March-1960-March 1962

Box 2: folder 10
General correspondence
April 1962-Dec. 1963

Box 3: folder 1
General correspondence
Jan. 1964-Dec. 1966, n.d.

Box 3: folder 2
General correspondence
Jan. 1967-Dec. 1969, n.d.

Box 3: folder 3
General correspondence
undated 1960s

Box 3: folder 4
General correspondence
Jan. 1970-Dec. 1971, n.d.

Box 3: folder 5
General correspondence
Jan. 1972-Feb. 1979, n.d.

Box 3: folder 6
General correspondence
undated 1970s

Box 3: folder 7
General correspondence
Nov. 1980-March 1995

Box 4: folder 1
General correspondence

Box 4: folder 2
General correspondence

Box 4: folder 3
Series 2: Writings


Box 5: folder 1
1932-1979, n.d.

Box 5: folder 2
1953-1974, n.d.

Box 5: folder 3
Unidentified manuscript

Box 5: folder 4
Playscript, notes

Box 5: folder 5
1980, 1981, n.d.

Box 5: folder 6
Series 3: Diaries, Datebooks, and Notes
1920-1986, n.d.

1920, 1921, n.d.

Box 6: folder 1
1946-1951, 1957-1961

Box 6: folder 2
1962-1966, 1969-1971

Box 6: folder 3

Box 6: folder 4
1978-1980, 1981-1983, 1985-1986

Box 7: folder 1
Series 4: International Federation of University Women and American Association of University Women

1944, 1948, 1956, 1959-1963, n.d.

Box 8: folder 1
Newsletters and University Women's Review

Box 8: folder 2
Council Agenda

Box 8: folder 3
Council Reports

Box 8: folder 4

Box 8: folder 5
Pamphlets and articles about IFUW

Box 8: folder 6
Conference Programs
1948, 1959, 1962, 1969

Box 8: folder 7
Conference memorabilia

Box 8: folder 8
Series 5: Financial Material
1936-1995, n.d.


Box 9: folder 1
Series 6: Memorabilia


Box 9: folder 2

Box 9: folder 3

Box 9: folder 4

Box 9: folder 5

Box 9: folder 6

Box 9: folder 7

Box 10: folder 1
Series 7: Clippings
1921-1997, n.d.


Box 11: folder 1
Clippings about Cameron

Box 11: folder 2
Clippings about Mount Holyoke College

Box 11: folder 3

Box 11: folder 4

Box 11: folder 5

Box 11: folder 6
Series 8: Asian Art

Ch'ien Lung

Box 12: folder 1

Box 12: folder 2

Box 12: folder 3
Manchuria and Mongolia

Box 12: folder 4
Chinese Types

Box 12: folder 5
Chinese Gardens

Box 12: folder 6
Chinese Art, misc.

Box 12: folder 7
Chinese Art, misc.

Box 12: folder 8
Series 9: Biographical Material
1905-1983, n.d.


Box 13: folder 1
Government Documents

Box 13: folder 2

Box 13: folder 3
Series 10: Family Papers
1936-1972, n.d.

Anne Elliott Papers

Box 13: folder 4
Samuel Lazier Estate

Box 13: folder 5
Lazier Family Research

Box 13: folder 6
Margaret Cameron, marriage and death certificates

Box 13: folder 8
Appleby Family Tree

Box 13: folder 9
Series 11: Photographs
circa 1906-circa 1985


Box 14: folder 1

Box 14: folder 2
Printing Plate of Cameron

Box 14: folder 3
Cameron with others

Box 14: folder 4
Cameron with others

Box 14: folder 5

Box 14: folder 6

Box 14: folder 7

Box 15: folder 1

Box 15: folder 2

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