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Vida Dutton Scudder Papers, 1883-1979
3 boxes (.75 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 140

Abstract:
Professor, English; Founder, College Settlements Association; Settlement house worker; Pacifist; Religious writer; and Social reformer. Papers consist of printed material, writings, photographs, and correspondence. Including letters to Margaret Storrs Grierson, Smith College Archivist and Director of the Sophia Smith Collection. Journals include her College Settlement Association notebook; six journals containing the original draft of her autobiography as well as personal reflections; and three handwritten essays.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

The papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection.

Restrictions on use:

The copyright owner of this collection is unknown. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights. Permission to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use" must also be obtained from the Sophia Smith Collection as owners of the physical property.

Sophia Smith Collection
Smith College
Northampton, MA

Biographical Note
Vida Dutton Scudder, 1884

Vida Dutton Scudder, 1884

Vida Scudder was born in India on December 15, 1861, the only child of Harriet Louisa (Dutton) and David Coit Scudder. She and her mother returned to Boston following the death of her father, although she spent much of her childhood traveling in Europe. She attended Boston private secondary schools, and graduated from Smith College in 1884. While doing postgraduate work at Oxford University, where she attended lectures by John Ruskin, Scudder developed the beginnings of social awareness that were to guide her through the rest of her life. She taught in the English Department of Wellesley College from 1887 to 1927, where she was often in conflict with the administration over her socialist activities. In 1887, Scudder along with colleagues from Bryn Mawr, Smith, and Vassar, began plans for the College Settlements Association and in 1889 the first settlement house opened on Rivington St. in New York City. Beginning in 1893 and for the next twenty years she was a primary administrator of Denison House in Boston. In 1889, Scudder became a charter member of the Brotherhood of the Carpenter, a worker's organization, and also began working in the Christian Social Union, the purpose of which was to implement Christian principles in bringing "relief to the social and economic disorder of society." Beginning in 1889, she was a member of the Society of the Companions of the Holy Cross, a religious organization that gave her long-term strength and support. In 1911, she co-founded the Episcopal Church Socialist League and joined the Socialist Party, and in 1919, she organized the Church League for Industrial Democracy. Although Scudder supported Woodrow Wilson's decision to enter World War I, in the postwar years she moved towards pacifism. She joined the Fellowship of Reconciliation in 1923 and the same year gave a series of lectures at a meeting of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom in Prague. She was a delegate to the Boston Central Labor Union and was active in organizing the Women's Trade Union League. After her retirement from Wellesley in 1928, Scudder went on to become a leading scholar of Franciscan history. In 1930, she became the first dean of the Summer School of Christian Ethics at Wellesley, and in 1931, she lectured weekly at the New School for Social Research in New York. Scudder authored sixteen books, including her autobiography On Journey, as well as many scholarly articles on political, literary, and religious topics. In 1919, Florence Converse joined her household and remained until Scudder's death on October 9, 1954.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Vida Dutton Scudder Papers consist of .75 linear feet of printed material, writings, photographs, and correspondence. Most of the correspondence consists of letters to Margaret Storrs Grierson, Smith College Archivist and Director of the Sophia Smith Collection. Since the majority of Scudder's papers were destroyed at her own request, the journals contained in this collection are of particular interest. They include her College Settlement [Association] notebook, which contains meeting notes, as well as general and personal notes; six journals containing the original draft of her autobiography as well as personal reflections; and three handwritten essays. In addition there are clippings and articles by and about Scudder in numerous publications, and four of her books.

This collection is organized into three series:


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

The papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection.

Restrictions on use:

The copyright owner of this collection is unknown. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights. Permission to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use" must also be obtained from the Sophia Smith Collection as owners of the physical property.

Preferred Citation

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

Vida Dutton Scudder Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Mass.

History of the Collection

Vida Dutton Scudder donated her papers to the Sophia Smith Collection in 1953.

Processing Information

Reprocessed by Burd Schlessinger, 2002.


Additional Information
Contact Information
Sophia Smith Collection
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

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

Email Reference Form: http://www.smith.edu/libraries/libs/ssc/emailform.html
URL: http://www.smith.edu/libraries/libs/ssc/
Language
English.
Sponsor
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Series Descriptions



This series contains articles and newspaper clippings about Scudder, her College Settlement notebook and her journals, and photographs of Scudder and her room in Dewey House at Smith College. Audiocassettes of Dr. Frances M. Young speaking about Scudder at the Adelynrood Retreat and Conference Center are also included.




This series consists primarily of correspondence with Margaret Storrs Grierson, in which Scudder discusses the possibility of donating her personal papers to Smith College's nascent women's history collection. Also of interest is correspondence re: religion and theology between Scudder and Father Hastings Smyth. There are also a few letters to and from others, pertaining mainly to Scudder's fellow alumnae from the Smith College Class of 1884.




This series is the most extensive in the collection and contains articles and books written by Scudder throughout her life. It contains essays written for Smith College classes, and pieces published in the Andover Review, the Atlantic Monthly, the Yale Review, and many other publications. Scudder was deeply religious and this is evident in all of her writings, spirituality serving both as a topic in and of itself and as a springboard for her moral and social convictions.

Contents List
SERIES I. BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS



"Early Days at Denison House" (photocopy),
n.d.

Box 1: folder 1
Photographs
1883, n.d.

Box 1: folder 2
Articles and clippings
1912-79

Box 1: folder 3
Young, Dr. Francis M. re: Vida D. Scudder: audiocassettes
1987

Box 1: folder 4
College Settlement notebook
1908

Box 1: folder 5
Journals
1932-45

Box 1: folder 6-8
SERIES II. CORRESPONDENCE



Incoming: Keyes, Amy Garst
1935

Box 1: folder 9
Smyth, Father Hastings
1941-48

Box 1: folder 9
Grierson, Margaret Storrs
1945-53

Box 1: folder 10
Others
1884, 1923-44, n.d.

Box 1: folder 11
SERIES III. WRITINGS



Essays and poem
1884, n.d.

Box 1: folder 12
Play: Mitsu-Yu-Nissi or the Japanese Wedding
1887

Box 1: folder 13
Articles



Andover Review
1887-1892

Box 2: folder 1
Atlantic Monthlyand Yale Review
1883-1931 1914-21

Box 2: folder 2
Other publications
1884-1948

Box 2: folder 3-6
Books



The Church and the Hour: Papers of a Socialist Churchwoman (first edition)
1917

Box 3
Letters to Her Companions, by Emily Malbone Morgan (edited by Vida Dutton Scudder)
1944

Box 3
A Listener in Babel (first edition)
1903

Box 3
My Quest for Reality (first edition)
1952

Box 3: folder 1
On Journey(first edition)
1937


Review
May 1937

Box 3: folder 2
The Privilege of Age: Essays Secular and Spiritual (first edition)
1939

Box 3: folder 2

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
  • College Settlement Association--History--Sources
  • Denison House (Boston, Mass.)--History--Sources
  • Scudder, Vida Dutton, 1861-1954
  • Smith College--Students--History--Sources
  • Social settlements--Massachusetts--Boston--History--Sources
  • Socialism, Christian--United States--History--Sources
  • Wellesley College--Faculty--History--Sources
  • Women in Christianity--United States--History--19th century--Sources
  • Women in Christianity--United States--History--20th century--Sources
  • Women in the labor movement--Massachusetts--History--Sources
  • Women social reformers--United States--History--Sources


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