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The Students' League at Mount Holyoke College was established in the spring of 1898 to allow students to exercise a measure of self-government. The goals of the organization were "to promote unity and loyalty in the College," encourage "good feeling" between students and faculty, and facilitate the development of self-control, personal responsibility, and a high sense of honor among students. All students were considered to be members of the League. The primary function of the League, with input from administrators and faculty members, was to enforce regulations for student behavior. These rules primarily concerned church and chapel attendance, quiet and order in dormitories and on campus, students' absences from the College, the use of cigarettes and tobacco by students, the hazing of new students by seniors, the conduct of fire drills, and the use of library materials. In 1908, the League began regulating the number of offices in student organizations that each person might hold. In 1918, the President and faculty of Mount Holyoke added "the maintenance of a high standard of honor in all academic matters" to the organization's responsibilities. The League also raised funds for the construction of Williston Memorial Library, Pratt Memorial Music Building, and Mary E. Woolley Hall, encouraged the creation of new social and cultural organizations for Mount Holyoke students, and provided a channel for students to express opinions to faculty and administrators on matters of interest. In addition, members worked with the faculty and other student organizations to publish handbooks for students that described College regulations and many other aspects of student life. In December, 1921, in response to pressure from students for a greater role in creating (rather than merely enforcing) regulations for their behavior, the Executive Committee of the League established a committee to consider the reorganization of student government. In 1922, with the approval of the faculty, the Students' League was replaced by a new organization called the Mount Holyoke College Community.
These records document the organization, activities, and history of the Students' League from its creation in 1898 until 1922, when it was replaced by the Mount Holyoke College Community. Materials are arranged in the following series: Constitutions and Grants of Power; Reports; Correspondence; Petitions and Recommendations; Regulations; Scrapbook; Programs; and Articles.
Constitutions and Grants of Power (1900-circa 1919) describe the organization and functions of the Students' League. These documents include information about the duties and election of the Leagues' officers and committees, the schedule of meetings, and finances of the organization. They also describe the rules for the behavior of student that the League was responsible for enforcing.
Reports (circa 1911-1922) were prepared by the May Day Committee (circa 1911), The League Committee (1916, 1917), and the Revision Committee (May 1, 1922). The latter report outlines the responsibilities and organization of the Mount Holyoke College Community.
Correspondence (1907-1916) chiefly consists of letters and notes to the League from student government associations at other colleges concerning meetings of these groups. There is also a letter (May 20, 1907) concerning fire fighting regulations at the College and an invitation (February 17, 1916) to the first student entertainment in the new Student-Alumnae Hall (now Mary E. Woolley Hall).
Most of the Petitions and Recommendations (1902-1921) in the collection concern proposed amendments to the Leagues' constitution or requests from students to the faculty for changes in various regulations for student behavior. Among the rules discussed in these documents are those concerning students' absences from College and the extinguishing of lights in dormitories at 10 p.m. The series also contains minutes from a meeting of the organizations' Joint Class Committee concerning the amount of credits that a student could earn in summer school.
Regulations (circa 1900-1922) describe many of the rules for student behavior that the League was responsible for enforcing, particularly "House Regulations" for dormitory living and rules for church and chapel attendance. There is also information about regulations concerning absences from College and the chaperonage of students, smoking by students, and the use of reserve books in the library.
The Scrapbook (circa 1899-1906) contains receipts for food and other goods purchased by League members, copies of regulations for student behavior, as well as constitutions, lists, and correspondence relating to student government at other colleges. Some letters (1905) from other institutions concern the custom of members of the audience rising when the President of a college leads chapel exercises. There are also minutes from a conference of student government representatives held at Bryn Mawr College in 1905 and published copies of the Leagues' 1900 constitution and faculty legislation for 1904-1905.
Programs consist of three items: the cover for a program for an annual reception for new students by the Young Women's Christian Association and Students' League of Mount Holyoke College in 1902; the program for the Leagues' party celebrating the opening of Student-Alumnae Hall in February, 1916; and a dance card for a Students' League reception in November, 1916.
Articles (1898-1917) are from newspapers and issues of the Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly. There is also information about the League from the Llamarada (student yearbook) for 1899 and notes about the responsibilities organization from about 1908. Most of these documents concern the history of the Students' League.
This collection is organized into eight series:
Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:
Mount Holyoke College Students' League (1898-1935), Archives and Special Collections, Mount Holyoke College,South Hadley, Massachusetts, USA
Processed by Patricia J. Albright,2008
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