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Eleanor Shipley Duckett Papers, 1904-1978
5 boxes (2.1 linear ft.)
Collection number: RG 42

Abstract:
Professor of Latin, noted philologist and historian. The majority of the Eleanor Shipley Duckett Papers is related to Duckett's professional life and her research, but there is also biographical information and some personal correspondence.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

The papers are open for research according to the regulations of the Smith College Archives without any additional restrictions.

Restrictions on use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the documents must be requested from the Smith College Archives. Smith College owns copyright to any published material relating to college events and activities. Provenance and copyright ownership of other materials is unknown and researchers are responsible for determining any question of copyright.

Smith College Archives
Northampton, MA

Biographical Note

Eleanor Shipley Duckett was a noted philologist and historian, and a significant character in the history of Smith College. Although she taught courses on classical languages and literature at Smith College for nearly thirty years, it was her work on the history of Europe during the Early Middle Ages that brought her the greatest joy and garnered the most acclaim. Her body of work placed her firmly in the ranks of respected scholars of her field, but attracted a popular audience as well. Although scholarly and based on solid research, her work was written specifically for the layperson. She wanted to communicate her love of medieval history and culture to more than an academic audience. Her ability to translate the intricacies of her fields for the uninitiated also served her well as a professor. She was a favorite of Smith students, and an integral part of the campus community.

Duckett was born November 7, 1880, in Somerset, England. Encouraged by her father to study the classical texts, she worked diligently through her preparatory education in order to attend college. She was accepted at the University of London, receiving her B.A in 1903, her M.A. in 1904, and a Diploma in Pedagogy in 1905. She used these degrees to teach the classics at Sutton High School in Surrey until 1907, but then left to resume her own education with a scholarship to Girton College, the first women's college at Cambridge University. In 1911 she passed the Classical Tripos examination, and promptly left Europe on another scholarship for Ph.D. work at Bryn Mawr. She received her doctorate in 1914, and became an instructor at Western College for Women in Oxford, Ohio. She taught Latin and Greek there until 1916 when she became a Latin instructor at Smith College. In 1928 she was named the John M. Greene Professor of Classical Languages and Literature at Smith, and remained in that position until her retirement in 1949. In 1952, Cambridge University awarded Duckett a Doctor of Letters degree for her work in medieval Latin literature, but she never received a degree for her initial studies at Cambridge. Women were not awarded either full degrees or the benefits of membership at Cambridge until 1948. For more on women and the degree system at Cambridge, see Rita McWilliams-Tullberg, "Women and Degrees at Cambridge University, 1862-1897," in A Widening Sphere: Changing Roles of Victorian Women, edited by Martha Vicinus (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1977), 117-145.

Duckett also received a number of academic honors and awards. From 1926-1928 she held the Ottilie Hancock fellowship at Girton College. She accepted honorary degrees from the University of London (1920), Smith College (1949) and St. Dunstan's University (1969). The Pen & Brush Club, an organization devoted to the arts, celebrated her Anglo-Saxon Saints and Scholars as the most distinguished work of non-fiction of 1947. She also obtained an honorary membership in Phi Beta Kappa (1954), an honorary fellowship at Girton College (1958), and two Sophia Smith Fellowships for continuing research by Smith College emeriti (1963 and 1966). In 1964 she gave the Katharine Asher Engel Memorial Lecture at Smith, which was published the following year as Women and Their Letters in the Early Middle Ages.

While at Smith, Duckett not only taught, but lectured widely, wrote continuously, and was active in the Special Honors program. After retirement, Duckett remained an active voice in the history of the Early Middle Ages, and retained a prominent position on campus as an emeritus professor. She kept her office in Neilson Library at Smith, and also spent extended periods researching and lecturing at Cambridge. She traveled the world to lecture, research, and receive honors for her work. In fact, several of her most important publications were written after retirement. She was also very active in St. John's Episcopal Church in Northampton. She lectured there on the saints and the Church Councils, translated hymns, and organized readings of the Epistles.

In 1926, Duckett met Mary Ellen Chase, Smith professor of English and renowned author. Soon after, they moved into a home next-door to the Smith College president on Paradise Road. They traveled together frequently, to England and to "Windswept," a house on the coast of Maine whose name and location inspired Chase's best-selling novel. They shared their lives until Chase's death in 1973. Duckett died on November 23, 1976, and was laid to rest next to Chase in a cemetery in Blue Hill, not far from the Chase family homestead.

Eleanor Duckett's academic legacy is her body of work-seventeen full-length volumes, as well as many contributions to scholarly journals and two major encyclopedias. Another legacy stands on the grounds of Smith College. Duckett House is one of two residence buildings added to the campus in 1968. The second building, Chase House, adjoins Duckett, and as its companion honors the contributions of both women to the history of the institution.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The majority of the Eleanor Shipley Duckett Papers is related to Duckett's professional life and her research, but there is also biographical information and some personal correspondence. The College Archives also holds a number of Duckett's published works. An alphabetical list of these is included at the end of this finding aid.

This collection is organized into three series:


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

The papers are open for research according to the regulations of the Smith College Archives without any additional restrictions.

Restrictions on use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the documents must be requested from the Smith College Archives. Smith College owns copyright to any published material relating to college events and activities. Provenance and copyright ownership of other materials is unknown and researchers are responsible for determining any question of copyright.

Preferred Citation

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

Eleanor Shipley Duckett Papers, Box #, Smith College Archives.

History of the Collection

The majority of the Eleanor Shipley Duckett Papers came from Duckett, some in 1969 and 1972, then from her estate in 1976. Mary Elizabeth "Betty" Pence McKibben donated additional correspondence from Duckett in 1996. The Callahan correspondence was probably added at some point in the 1990s. There are also additional biographical materials, such as news clippings and book reviews, which have been added by the College Archives staff.

Processing Information

Processed by Laura Finkel.


Additional Information
Contact Information
Smith College Archives
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: (413) 585-2970
Fax: (413) 585-2886

Email: nyoung@smith.edu
URL: http://www.smith.edu/libraries/libs/archives
Language
English.
CHRONOLOGICAL BIBLIOGRAPHY

BOOKS

Studies in Ennius. Ph.D. dissertation, Bryn Mawr College, 1915.

Hellenistic Influence on the Aeneid. Smith College Classical Studies, no.1. Northampton, MA: Smith College, 1920.

Catullus in English Poetry. Smith College Classical Studies, no.6. Northampton, MA: Smith College, 1925.

Latin Writers of the Fifth Century. New York: H. Holt, 1930.

The Book of Hugh and Nancy, with Eric Milner-White, illustrated by Raymond Lufkin. New York: Macmillan, 1938.

The Gateway to the Middle Ages. New York: Macmillan, 1938. Reprinted as three volumes: France and Britain, Italy, and Monasticism (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1961).

Anglo-Saxon Saints and Scholars. New York: Macmillan, 1947.

Alcuin, Friend of Charlemagne, His World and His Work. New York: Macmillan, 1951.

Saint Dunstan of Canterbury: A Study of Monastic Reform in the Tenth Century. London: Collins; New York: Norton, 1955.

Alfred the Great. Chicago: University of Chicago Press; London: Collins, 1956, 1957.

The Wandering Saints of the Early Middle Ages. New York: Norton; London: Collins, 1959.

Carolingian Portraits: A Study in the Ninth Century. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1962.

Women and Their Letters in the Early Middle Ages. Northampton, MA: Smith College, 1965.

Death and Life in the Tenth Century. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1967.

Medieval Portraits from East and West. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press; London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1972.

JOURNAL ARTICLES

"The Influence of Alexandrian Poetry Upon the Aeneid." Classical Journal 11 (1915/1916), 333-348.

"Latin Prose and Modern Learning." Classical Journal 17 (1921/1922), 430.

"Some English Echoes of Catullus." Classical Weekly 15 (Oct-May 1921-1922), 177-180.

"Special Honors System as Carried on in Smith College." Education 46 (March 1926), 420-422.

"The Saint of Tours." Commonweal 10 (July 10, 1929), 275-276.

"St. Joseph." Commonweal 11 (Dec. 25, 1929), 230.

"The Institutes and Conferences of Cassian." American Church Monthly (August 1929), 120-131.

"New Glass in an Old Setting." American Church Monthly (April 1931), 267-273.

"A Cambridge Cloister." American Church Monthly (Jan. 1931), 17-21.

"The Classics." In Roads to Knowledge, edited by William Allan Neilson. New York: W.W. Norton & Co.,1932.

"The Bible in the Roman World of the Fifth Century." In The Bible and its Literary Associations, edited by Margaret B. Crook. New York: Abingdon Press, 1937.

"The World of Alfred's Boyhood, 849-865." In English Then and Now edited by Alan M. Markham and Erwin R. Steinberg. New York: Random House, 1970. First published in Alfred the Great (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1956), Chapter Two.

"[Mary Ellen Chase:] A Portrait." Colby Library Quarterly 6:1 (Mar. 1962), 1.

Sponsor
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Contents List
SERIES I. BIOGRAPHY
(1904-1978, n.d.)


This series contains news clippings, degrees and photographs

General
1921-1978, n.d.

Box 773: folder 1
Degrees
1904-1969

Box 773: folder 2
Note:

See also oversized files.

Photographs-Portraits
ca.1929-1970s, n.d.

Box 773: folder 3
Photographs-Chase & Duckett
1949

Box 773: folder 5
Photographs-Family & Friends
1973-1974

Box 773: folder 6
SERIES II. CORRESPONDENCE
(1923-1976)


The Duckett correspondence includes letters to Virginia Callahan, a friend and fellow philologist (1965-1974,n.d.) and to Mary Elizabeth "Betty" Pence McKibben (1936-1969), Duckett's God-daughter.* There is also general correspondence (1923-1973, n.d.) and correspondence related to publications (1938-1976).

General
1923-1973, n.d.

Box 773: folder 7
Related to Publications
1938-1976

Box 773: folder 8
Virginia Callahan
1965-1974

Box 773: folder 9
Mary Elizabeth "Betty" Pence McKibben
1936-1969

Box 773: folder 10
SERIES III. WRITINGS
(1921-1975, n.d.)


The papers in this series include the texts of several speeches and lectures; manuscripts from Duckett's encyclopedia articles as well as her final (unpublished) work, Councils of the Past; two book reviews written by Duckett; and a number of reviews about Duckett's work. There are also a few examples of verse written by Duckett, as well as hymn translations done for St. John's Episcopal Church in Northampton. Finally, there is a large collection of research notes. The order, organization and dates of the research notes is difficult to ascertain. At this point, they are filed as found, with no description. The relationship between these notes and specific Duckett projects is yet to be clarified. The notes comprise 1.25 linear feet, or approximately 60 per cent of the collection.

Lectures/Speeches



Phi Beta Kappa Speech
April 1954

Box 773: folder 11
St. Dunstan of Canterbury Publication Speech, Hapmshire Bookshop
March 1955

Box 773: folder 12
King Alfred Lecture
Oct. 25, 1956

Box 773: folder 13
St. Dunstan's University Lecture
April 1963

Box 773: folder 14
Saint Paul Lecture
May 2, [1971?]

Box 773: folder 15
St. John's Episcopal Church Lectures
Fall 1971

Box 774: folder 1
Palm Sunday Address
April 15, 1973

Box 774: folder 2
Miscellaneous
n.d.

Box 774: folder 3
Manuscripts



Councils of the Past (unpublished)
ca. 1975

Box 774: folder 4
Encyclopedia Article: Charles Martel
ca. 1970-1971

Box 774: folder 5
Encyclopedia Article on Peppin III
ca. 1970-1971

Box 774: folder 6
Book Reviews



Book Reviews
1957, 1964

Box 774: folder 7
Verse



Verse
1930,1956,1974

Box 774: folder 8
Hymn Translations



Hymn Translations
1970-1971

Box 774: folder 9
Reviews of [Duckett's Writings]



"Hellenistic Influence on the Aeneid"
1921

Box 774: folder 10
"Cattalus in English Poetry"
1926

Box 774: folder 11
Latin Writers of the Fifth Century
1931, n.d.

Box 774: folder 12
Gateway to the Middle Ages
1938

Box 774: folder 13
Hugh and Nancy
1938, n.d.

Box 774: folder 14
Ango-Saxon Saints and Scholars
1947-1948

Box 774: folder 15
Alcuin, Friend of Charlemagne
1951-1952

Box 774: folder 16
St. Dunstan of Canterbury
1955, n.d.

Box 774: folder 17
Alfred the Great
1956-1957

Box 774: folder 18
The Wandering Saints of the Early Middle Ages
1959-1961, n.d.

Box 774: folder 19
Carolingian Portraits
1961-1964, n.d.

Box 774: folder 20
Death and Life in the Tenth Century
1967-1968

Box 774: folder 21
Medieval Portraits from East and West
1972

Box 774: folder 22
Research Notes



Encyclopedia article on Charles Martel
ca. 1970-1971

Box 774: folder 23
Encyclopedia article on Peppin III
ca. 1970-1971

Box 774: folder 24
untitled #1
n.d.

Box 774: folder 25
untitled #2
n.d.

Box 775: folder 1
untitled #3
n.d.

Box 775: folder 2
untitled #4
n.d.

Box 775: folder 3
untitled #5
n.d.

Box 775: folder 4
untitled #6
n.d.

Box 775: folder 5
untitled #7
n.d.

Box 776: folder 1
untitled #8
n.d.

Box 776: folder 2
untitled #9
n.d.

Box 776: folder 3
untitled #10
n.d.

Box 776: folder 4
untitled #11
n.d.

Box 776: folder 5
untitled #12
n.d.

Box 776: folder 6
untitled #13
n.d.

Box 776: folder 7
untitled #14
n.d.

Box 776: folder 8
untitled #15
n.d.

Box 776: folder 9
untitled #16
n.d.

Box 777: folder 1
untitled #17
n.d.

Box 777: folder 2
untitled #18
n.d.

Box 777: folder 3
untitled #18
n.d.

Box 777: folder 4
untitled #20
n.d.

Box 777: 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.

Subjects
  • Duckett, Eleanor Shipley.
  • Smith College--Faculty.


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