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Mount Holyoke College seal
Origins and Governance Collection, 1834-present
9 boxes (3.12 linear ft.)
Collection number: RG 2 (LD 7080)

Abstract:
The Origins and Governance Collection brings together materials concerning the creation and administration of Mount Holyoke College, an institution for the higher education of women that was founded by Mary Lyon, granted a charter as Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, and opened in 1837. Materials date from 1834 to the present and include a ledger notebook, charters, acts, regulations, minutes, planning documents, publications, speeches, questionnaires, drawings, and photographs.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

Materials relating to accreditation reviews of Mount Holyoke College by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Institutions of Higher Education are restricted to use by the office/department of origin for 25 years from the date of records creation. All other materials in the collection are unrestricted.

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
South Hadley, MA

Historical Note

Mount Holyoke Female Seminary was established by educator Mary Lyon, who in 1832 began making plans for a school for the higher education of women that would own its own property and not be a for-profit venture. She enlisted the support of several clergymen and businessmen in and around Ipswich, Massachusetts, where she had been working as a teacher at Ipswich Female Seminary since 1828. Seven of these individuals - David Choate, Daniel Dana, Joseph Felt, George W. Heard, Edward Hitchcock, Asa Howland, and Theophilus Packard - formed a committee in September, 1834 that selected South Hadley, Massachusetts as the location for the school and worked to obtain a charter for the institution from the legislature of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that was granted on February 11, 1836. Mount Holyoke Female Seminary opened on November 7, 1837. The academic program expanded from three to four years in 1861/62 and students who completed the prescribed course of study received diplomas. In the late 1880s, in response to competition from degree-granting women's colleges, Mount Holyoke successfully petitioned the state legislature for a charter change that was granted on March 8, 1888. At that time, the name of the school changed to Mount Holyoke Seminary and College and the first degrees were awarded on June 27, 1889. The Seminary Program that did not lead to a degree was phased out and another change to the charter granted on January 31, 1893 marked the institution's transformation into Mount Holyoke College.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Materials in the Origins and Governance Collection date from 1834 to the present and are arranged in nine series: Committee of 1834 Records; Charters and Acts of Incorporation; Name Changes; Statutes; Heraldry; Collegiate Status; Policy Documents and Studies; Coeducation; and Self-Studies and Reports. A ledger notebook for the Committee of 1834 (1834-1835) contains minutes of meetings of a group of men who supported Mary Lyon's efforts to establish Mount Holyoke Female Seminary. Charters and Acts of Incorporation (1836, 1868-1970) and Name Changes (1888, 1893, 1988) materials include copies of Mount Holyoke's original 1836 charter and documents reflecting the school's transition from a seminary to a degree-granting college. Statutes (circa 1841-1994) concern the duties of teachers, regulations governing student behavior, and parodies of Mount Holyoke's regulations known as the "Blue Laws" and "Fire Laws." Heraldry materials (1838-2001) consist of historical sketches, articles, correspondence, drawings, photographs, and samples concerning Mount Holyoke's color, seal, and logos. A Collegiate Status certificate (1955) confirms the College's membership in the New England Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. Policy Documents and Studies consist of minutes, reports, studies, correspondence, and questionnaires documenting the work of the Mount Holyoke Committee of Four (originally formed as the Committee of Ten) from 1936-1938; a group of students who prepared "A Working Paper on Education for Mount Holyoke College" in 1969; the Fact-Finding Committee on Coeducation (1968-1970); the Danforth Workshop Committee (1972-1973); and the Ad Hoc Committee on Communications and Decision-Making (1974-1976). There is also a "Conference Report on Equal Opportunity for Women: University Affirmative Action Programs" by Mount Holyoke professors Marjorie Childers and Penny Martin (later Gill) in December, 1972. Coeducation materials (1923-present) consist of articles, correspondence, speeches, questionnaires, studies, and reports concerning the advantages and disadvantages of coeducation and single-sex education, particularly for women. Self-Studies and Reports (1977-present) contains documents relating to accreditation reviews of Mount Holyoke College by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Institutions of Higher Education as well self-studies and reports prepared between 1989-2003 for strategic plans for Mount Holyoke in the 1990s, 2003, and 2010.

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


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

Materials relating to accreditation reviews of Mount Holyoke College by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Institutions of Higher Education are restricted to use by the office/department of origin for 25 years from the date of records creation. All other materials in the collection are unrestricted.

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:

Mount Holyoke College Origins and Governance Collection, Archives and Special Collections, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts, USA

History of the Collection

Processing Information

Processed by Patricia J. Albright, 2007-present. Peter Carini assisted with the arrangement and description of these materials from 1997-1999.


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: http://www.mtholyoke.edu/lits/library/arch/forms/areq.htm
URL: http://www.mtholyoke.edu/lits/library/arch/
Language
English

Series Descriptions
1834-1835
1 folder
Box
Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted.

Scope and content:

Committee of Four Records document the activities of a group of men who supported Mary Lyon's efforts to establish Mount Holyoke Female Seminary. Serving on the committee were the David Choate, Daniel Dana, Joseph Felt, George W. Heard, Edward Hitchcock, Asa Howland, and Theophilus Packard. The records consist of a ledger notebook containing minutes of committee meetings from September 6, 1834-October 9, 1835. Issues discussed by committee members included the name and site of the Seminary as well as the process for obtaining a charter for the school from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts legislature.

1836, 1868-1970
2 folders
Box 1
Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted.

Scope and content:

Charters and Acts of Incorporation contains copies of the original charter for Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, granted on February 11, 1836 as well as reports and acts concerning charter amendments with regard to funding for the school and how much real estate Mount Holyoke could own. These materials include a summary of all changes to the charter from 1836-1968 and a newspaper article written in 1936 on occasion of one hundredth anniversary of the original charter.

1888-1988
2 folders
Box 1
Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted.

Scope and content:

Name Changes materials consist of acts passed by the legislature of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that amended the 1836 charter and changed the school's name from Mount Holyoke Female Seminary to Mount Holyoke Seminary and College (1888), then to Mount Holyoke College (1893). These name changes reflect the school's transformation from a seminary that granted diplomas for the completion of studies to graduates into a degree-granting college. The materials also include copies of newspaper editorials from 1888 concerning the proposed charter change and an invitation to a celebration at the College in 1988 commemorating the one hundredth anniversary of the 1888 charter.

circa 1841-1994
1 box
Box 1
Arrangement:

Arranged by form of material, then chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted.

Scope and content:

Statutes (circa 1841-1994) contain copies of and information about Mount Holyoke's rules and regulations. A notebook known as the "Book of Duties" (1842-1846) outlines the responsibilities of teachers, procedures for examinations and the system of marking, the daily schedule, the activities to be completed by members of the Mount Holyoke community of particular days, and the regulations concerning the "care of health," study hours, music lessons, fire prevention, vacations, walking and calisthenics exercises for students, and the requirement that all students regularly write compositions. Other regulations (circa 1841-1994) concern student behavior with regard to church attendance, exercise, visitors, off-campus activities, the care and furnishings of dormitory rooms, the use of library materials, smoking, and consumption of alcoholic beverages. There are also articles and letters (circa 1867-1968) relating to parodies of Mount Holyoke's regulations known as the "Blue Laws" and "Fire Laws." These burlesques of actual rules were originally written by Mount Holyoke students in the mid-nineteenth century and have often been mistaken for the school's authentic rules.

1838-2001
4 folders
Box 2
Arrangement:

Arranged by topic.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted.

Scope and content:

Heraldry materials concern the color, seals, and logos used by Mount Holyoke from 1838-2001. These materials consist of articles and correspondence about the history of the seal and logo; drawings, sketches, and photographs of those devices, and ribbon samples in "Mount Holyoke College Blue."

1955
1 folder
Box 3
Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted.

Scope and content:

Consists of a certificate issued by the New England Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools in 1955 certifying that Mount Holyoke was admitted to membership in the Association in 1929.

1936-1976
2 boxes
Box 3
Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted.

Scope and content:

Policy Documents and Studies consist of records documenting the work of four committees and one working group at Mount Holyoke College from 1936-1938 and 1968-1976 and a conference report concerning affirmative action from 1972. The earliest of these groups, the Committee of Four, was initially established as the Committee of Ten in the spring of 1937 to study the inter-relationships among trustees, administrators, faculty, students, and alumnae in the aftermath of the divisive controversy over the selection of Roswell Gray Ham to succeed Mary Emma Woolley as President of Mount Holyoke College. Records for the committee date from 1936-1938 and consist of minutes, correspondence, and reports, including a examination of "The Machinery of Control at Mount Holyoke College" that was published in the November 1937 issue of the Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly. In 1969, numerous Mount Holyoke students worked on a study of Mount Holyoke's educational philosophy and curriculum. The results of their work was issued as "A Working Paper on Education for Mount Holyoke College," written by Janet Hall, Judy Harris, Jane Hickie, Susan Norton, and Merrill Wasserman with Susan Essock. Records of the Fact-Finding Committee on Coeducation (1968-1970) consist of correspondence, questionnaires, articles, press releases, and reports that concern the work of a group of trustees, faculty, administrators, and students that thoroughly examined Mount Holyoke's single-sex status. Activities of the Danforth Workshop Committee, comprised of Mount Holyoke faculty members who participated in seminar-workshop about women in higher education at Danforth Foundation Workshop on Liberal Arts Education in 1972, are documented by memoranda and a report (1972-1973). Records of the Ad Hoc Committee on Communications and Decision-Making (1974-1976) which was established by the Board of Trustees to recommend ways to improve communication among trustees, students, faculty, and staff and allow students to more fully participate in the decision-making processes at the College, consist of minutes and agenda, correspondence, notes, articles, and a final report. The "Conference Report on Equal Opportunity for Women: University Affirmative Action Programs" by Mount Holyoke professors Marjorie Childers and Penny Martin (later Gill) from December, 1972 concerns discussions at a meeting sponsored by the Urban Research Cooperation.

1923-present
1 box
Box 5
Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted.

Scope and content:

These materials date from 1923 the present and consist of newspaper, magazine, and journal articles, press releases, announcements, speeches, questionnaires, correspondence, studies and reports concerning the advantages and disadvantages of coed and single sex education. Many of the articles concern colleges for women. There is also a collection of "Selected News Clips May-August, 1994" compiled by the Women's College Coalition that concern "women's colleges, single-sex education, and the plight of girls in the classroom."

1977-present
3 boxes
Box 6
Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Materials relating to accreditation reviews of Mount Holyoke College by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Institutions of Higher Education are restricted to use of the office/department of origin for 25 years from the date of records creation. All other materials in the series are unrestricted.

Scope and content:

Self-Studies and Reports contain documents relating to accreditation reviews of Mount Holyoke College by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. (NEASC) and to three strategic plans prepared by the College from 1989-2003. Review materials consist of detailed self-studies that describe the curriculum, finances, student services, use of computers and telecommunications, and facilities at Mount Holyoke and reports by the NEASC recommending various improvements. Drafts and reports relating to the strategic plans document the work of the Strategic Planning Task Force (1989-1993) on a plan for "Mount Holyoke College in the 1990s," the College Planning Task Force (1996-1997) on "The Plan for Mount Holyoke 2003," and the Ad Hoc Committee on the Future of the College (2000-2003) on "The Plan for Mount Holyoke 2010." A "Supplement to the Plan for Mount Holyoke 2003" from August 1997 consists of another detailed self-study that the College prepared for the NEASC Commission on Institutions of Higher Education.

Contents List
Committee of 1834
1834-1835
1 folder
Box
Ledger notebook containing minutes of meetings
September 6, 1834-October 9, 1835

Box 1: folder 1
Charters and Acts of Incorporation
1836, 1868-1970
2 folders
Box 1
Charter
1836

Box 1: folder 2
Reports, acts, summaries of charter changes, newspaper article about the original charter
1868-1970

Box 1: folder 3
Name Changes
1888-1988
2 folders
Box 1
Acts and invitation
1888, 1988

Box 1: folder 4
Acts
1893

Box 1: folder 5
Statutes
circa 1841-1994
1 box
Box 1
Regulations
circa 1841-1920

Box 2: folder 1
21Regulations circa 1841-1920
Regulations
circa 1920-1994

Box 2: folder 2
22Regulations circa 1920-1994
Information on rules
1846-1969

Box 2: folder 3
"Book of Duties"
1842-1846

Box 2: folder 4
"Blue Laws" and "Fire Laws"
circa 1867-1934

Box 2: folder 5
Articles regarding "Blue Laws" and "Fire Laws"
1927-1961

Box 2: folder 6
Correspondence regarding "Blue Laws" and "Fire Laws"
1927-1968

Box 2: folder 7
Heraldry
1838-2001
4 folders
Box 2
Color
1893-1941

Box 3: folder 1
Logo
1967-2001

Box 3: folder 2
Seal: articles and correspondence
1937-2000

Box 3: folder 3
Seal: drawings and photographs
1838-1993

Box 3: folder 4
34Seal: drawings and photographs 1838-1993
Collegiate Status
1955
1 folder
Box 3
Certificate
1955

Box 3: folder 5
Policy Documents and Studies
1936-1976
2 boxes
Box 3
Committee of Four
1936-May 1937

Box 4: folder 1
Committee of Four
July-September 1937

Box 4: folder 2
Committee of Four
October 1937-1938

Box 4: folder 3
"Working Paper on Education for Mount Holyoke College" (2 copies, shelved in FOLIO)
1969

Box 4: folder 4
Fact-Finding Committee on Coeducation
1968-September 1969

Box 4: folder 5
Fact-Finding Committee on Coeducation
October 1969-1970

Box 4: folder 6
Fact-Finding Committee on Coeducation: final report
1970

Box 4: folder 7
Danforth Workshop Committee
1972-1973

Box 4: folder 8
Report, Equal Opportunity for Women conference
December, 1972

Box 4: folder 9
Ad Hoc Committee on Communications and Decision Making: correspondence and working papers
November 1974-May 1975

Box 5: folder 1
Ad Hoc Committee on Communications and Decision Making: correspondence and working papers
May 1975-March 1976

Box 5: folder 2
Ad Hoc Committee on Communications and Decision Making: constituent comments
1975

Box 5: folder 3
Ad Hoc Committee on Communications and Decision Making: meeting agenda and minutes
1975

Box 5: folder 4
Ad Hoc Committee on Communications and Decision Making: final report
October 1975

Box 5: folder 5
Coeducation
1923-present
1 box
Box 5
Articles, reports, etc.
circa 1927-1970

Box 6: folder 1
Articles, reports, etc.
1971

Box 6: folder 2
Articles, reports, etc.
1972-1979

Box 6: folder 3
Articles, reports, etc.
1980-1984

Box 6: folder 4
Articles, reports, etc.
1985-1989

Box 6: folder 5
Articles, reports, etc.
1990-1994

Box 6: folder 6
Articles, reports, etc.
1995-present

Box 6: folder 7
Self-Studies and Reports
1977-present
2 boxes
Box 6
New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. (NEASC) review: report of Evaluation Committee
1977-1978

Box 7: folder 1
New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. (NEASC) review: working papers
1977

Box 7: folder 2
New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. (NEASC) review: working paper
1977

Box 7: folder 3
New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. (NEASC) review: report
1977

Box 7: folder 4
New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. (NEASC) review: report by an Evaluation Team
1987

Box 8: folder 1
New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. (NEASC) review: self-study
1987

Box 8: folder 2
New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. (NEASC) review: self-study
1987

Box 8: folder 3
"Mount Holyoke in the 1990s": Strategic Planning Task Force Reports
March 1989

Box 8: folder 4
"Mount Holyoke in the 1990s": A Strategic Plan and Draft
October 1989

Box 8: folder 5
"Mount Holyoke in the 1990s": results of Strategic Planning Task Force Reports
March 1993

Box 8: folder 6
"The Plan for Mount Holyoke College 2003": working draft
September 1996

Box 8: folder 7
"The Plan for Mount Holyoke College 2003": draft
February 6, 1997

Box 8: folder 8
"The Plan for Mount Holyoke College 2003"
April 24, 1997

Box 8: folder 9
"The Plan for Mount Holyoke College 2003"
May 10, 1997

Box 8: folder 10
"Supplement to the Plan for Mount Holyoke College 2003": self-study prepared for the NEASC Commission on Institutions of Higher Education
August 1997

Box 8: folder 11
Progress report on "The Plan for 2003"
Fall 2000

Box 8: folder 12
"Plan for Mount Holyoke 2010": first public draft
September 25, 2002

Box 8: folder 13
"Plan for Mount Holyoke 2010": second public draft
February 10, 2003

Box 8: folder 14
"Plan for Mount Holyoke 2010": third public draft
April 15, 2003

Box 8: folder 15
"Plan for Mount Holyoke 2010"final version
May 3, 2003

Box 8: folder 16
Self-study prepared for evaluation for reaccreditation by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education New England Association of Schools and Colleges
July 2007

Box 9: folder 1

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.

Subjects
  • Accreditation (Education).
  • Coeducation--United States.
  • Education--Philosophy.
  • Mount Holyoke College--Administration.
  • Mount Holyoke College--Curricula.
  • Mount Holyoke College--Data processing.
  • Mount Holyoke College--Decision making.
  • Mount Holyoke College--Evaluation.
  • Mount Holyoke College--Faculty.
  • Mount Holyoke College--Finance.
  • Mount Holyoke College--Planning.
  • Mount Holyoke College--Presidents.
  • Mount Holyoke College--Records and correspondence.
  • Mount Holyoke College--Regulations.
  • Mount Holyoke College--Students.
  • Mount Holyoke College. Board of Trustees.
  • Mount Holyoke Female Seminary--Inception.
  • School colors--Massachusetts--South Hadley.
  • Single-sex schools--United States.
  • Universities and colleges--Planning.
  • Women college students--Massachusetts--South Hadley.
  • Women--Education (Higher)--United States.

Contributors
  • Mount Holyoke College. Ad Hoc Committee on Communications and Decision-Making.
  • Mount Holyoke College. Ad Hoc Committee on the Future of the College.
  • Mount Holyoke College. College Planning Task Force.
  • Mount Holyoke College. Committee of Four.
  • Mount Holyoke College. Committee of Ten.
  • Mount Holyoke College. Danforth Workshop Committee.
  • Mount Holyoke College. Fact-Finding Committee on Coeducation.
  • Mount Holyoke College. Strategic Planning Task Force.
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Commission on Institutions of Higher Education.

Genre terms
  • Charters.
  • Comprehensive plans.
  • Corporation records.
  • Legislative acts.
  • Logos.
  • Minutes.
  • Notebooks.
  • Plans (Reports).
  • Questionnaires.
  • Reports.
  • Seals.
  • Speeches.


Questions about this collection? Contact the archives
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