Laurie Worcester (Lucy Lawrence Chauncey) Papers
Scope and Contents of the Collection
The Laurie Worcester Papers consist of approximately two and one half linear feet. The collection includes such biographical material as articles, photographs, and newspaper clippings. The bulk of the collection consists of a series of letters Laurie wrote to her family during her years at Smith, as well as notebooks and exams from her time at Smith. The collection of letters consists of 167 documents written between the years 1948-1952. These include 92 letters, 59 postcards, 9 telegrams, 6 newspaper clippings, and 1 commencement publication. A description of the content of these letters, written by Henry Chauncey, is included in the Series Description. In addition to the letters from Laurie, there is a bound book of letters received after her death.
The class notebooks span four years and represent a diverse selection of classes, including: Art, Art History, Ancient Drama, English, French, Geology, Government, History, Historiography, Religion, and Sociology. The notebooks are organized by subject matter and then by date. In addition, there is a collection of notes from Laurie's time at Brearly School, prior to her matriculation at Smith.
The Smith College Archives houses other items related to Laurie Worcester that are not kept among the Laurie Worcester Papers. Laurie Worcester is in a photograph taken with members of the Student Council, located in that file. In addition, reference to Lauire can be found in Alumnae Trust Nominees for 1965.
The following is an introduction to the collection written by Laurie Worcester's husband, Henry Chauncy:
"Laurie wrote home quite regularly throughout her four years at Smith-certainly more than most students then or now. The letters, being to her family, report very personally and in considerable detail on what she had been doing and what lay ahead. They provide a picture of an active person of wide-ranging interests who had an extremely full and rewarding college life. The letters give a picture of what college was like in the post-World War II period and they give some insight into a remarkable person. Laurie was energetic and enthusiastic, interested in other people, with a lively sense of humor and a quick wit. She was greatly concerned with the life of the College in all its aspects: academic, extracurricular, and even athletic-though no star. She used to comment that she was the last person to make the lacrosse team at the very end of her senior year.
In other areas she was more successful. She was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in her junior year and was President of the Student Council in her senior year.
Fortunately, Laurie's mother kept her letters-in a large box which I was given after her death. Since in most cases the letters were not in their original envelopes and were not in any order, and since Laurie ordinarily dated her letters only by the day of the week, it has been difficult to arrange them in chronological order. Some letters, on closer scrutiny, may be found out of place. Order, in any case, does not seem to be of highest importance. Each letter speaks for itself and gives a vignette of like at Smith and a snapshot of the author."
The collection consists of 167 documents written between the years 1948-1952. These include 92 letters, 59 postcards, 9 telegrams, 6 newspaper clippings, and 1 commencement publication. Because many of the letters were dated only by the day of the week, each piece has been reviewed carefully for evidence of chronology. The use of the perpetual calendar has helped place the collection in chronological order. However, the researcher must be aware that the order is not definitive.
"Letters from Smith" are arranged in 12 folders. Each folder contains documents for a three-month period. Correspondence from Laurie's freshman year are in folders 1-3, her sophomore year in folders 4-6, her junior year in folders 7-9, and her senior year in folders 10-12. A newspaper clipping from the fall of 1952, featuring Laurie's return to Smith College, will be found in folder 12."