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Ruth Mellor Papers, 1921-1970 (Bulk: 1928-1930)
2 boxes (.75 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 253

Abstract:
Social Worker. Papers consist primarily of material related to a survey conducted by Ruth Mellor in 1929 for the Connecticut Society for Mental Hygiene to assess social welfare services in the state of Connecticut. Also included is personal correspondence with close friend and Smith College classmate, Mildred Scott Olmsted and numerous love letters to Mellor from both a woman and man.

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The copyright owner of unpublished works in this collection is unknown.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
Ruth Mellor, 1955

Ruth Mellor, 1955

Ruth Mellor was born in Rockville, Connecticut on January 15, 1889 and graduated from Smith College in 1912. In 1916-17, she attended the Bryant and Stratton Business School in Boston, and from 1918 to 1922 was executive secretary of American Red Cross, Plymouth, Massachusetts. In 1923 she earned her master's degree in psychiatric social work at the School of Social Work in New York City, afterwards working as Chief of Social Service at the Child Guidance Demonstration Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, from 1924 to 1926. From 1926 to 1929 she worked at the Children's Aid Society in Philadelphia, taking time in 1929 to act as field psychiatric worker in a survey conducted by the Connecticut Society for Mental Hygiene. While living in the Philadelphia area, she continued her friendship with Mildred Scott Olmsted, who also graduated from Smith College in 1912. Mellor worked as a social worker for the Massachusetts Society for Mental Hygiene from 1929 to 1931, and from 1931 to 1933 was executive secretary of the Connecticut Society for Mental Hygiene. She took a position as executive director of the Mental Hygiene Clinic in Louisville, Kentucky, where she remained at least until 1949. (This clinic was renamed the Bingham Child Guidance Clinic, which was heir to Ruth Mellor's estate.) She was also a lecturer in the Social Sciences division of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Louisville until her retirement in 1961. She died in Louisville on November 9, 1989.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The papers consist primarily of material related to a survey conducted by Ruth Mellor in 1929 for the Connecticut Society for Mental Hygiene. The purpose of the survey was to assess social welfare services in the state of Connecticut, and information was gathered from institutions concerned with providing those services. They included churches; hospitals and clinics; mental health institutions; state agencies; charities and humane societies; and county homes, as well as rural and city schools and several colleges. The principle method for gathering information was to interview a range of educators, judges, lawmakers, doctors, social workers, prison wardens, and other citizens concerned with the welfare of the indigent and the mentally, emotionally and physically impaired. The interviews are summarized by Mellor and often include her frank assessment of the interviewee. These, along with some statistical data and notations about site visits, comprise the bulk of the papers. Mellor often used the reverse side of professional correspondence for hand-written and typed notes.

Also included are twenty-seven passionate love letters to Mellor from Marion W. Bomer, called Maisie or Wendy, written in 1928-29. Apparently against Bomer's wishes and to her distress, Mellor had insisted on one year of separation, during which time Bomer pined for her and pleaded to be reunited. The letters clearly indicate a lesbian relationship. The papers also include letters to Bomer from two other women who appear to have been attracted to her romantically. Love letters to Mellor from George de Schweinitz, written during the 1930s, suggest that Mellor was probably bi-sexual.

The papers also include general correspondence, and typed and hand-written notes. Material pertaining to Mellor's education is located in the Professional Activities series, as part of her employment application to the Connecticut Society for Mental Health. Since Dr. Samuel W. Hamilton participated in the Connecticut Society for Mental Health survey, a list of interviews by him is filed with those conducted by Mellor.


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 unpublished works in 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:

Ruth Mellor Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Mass.

History of the Collection

The Swarthmore Peace Collection donated the Ruth Mellor Papers to the Sophia Smith Collection in 1991. The Bingham Child Guidance Center donated additional material in 1999.

Processing Information

Processed by Burd Schlessinger, 1997.


Additional Information
Contact Information
Smith College Special Collections
Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton, MA 01063

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

Email: specialcollections@smith.edu
URL: https://www.smith.edu/libraries/special-collections
Language
English.
Sponsor
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Contents List
SERIES I. BIOGRAPHICAL



Expense book and notebook,
n.d.

Box 1: folder 1
Travel correspondence and itineraries,
1927, n.d.

Box 1: folder 2
Photograph, biographical data, clippings, funeral instructions,
1948-60, n.d.

Box 1: folder 2a
Retirement,
1960

Box 1: folder 2b
Financial information,
1954-60, n.d.

Box 1: folder 2c
SERIES II. CORRESPONDENCE



General,
1921-70, n.d.

Box 3-8
From Marion W. "Maisie" Bomer,
1928-29, n.d.

Box 9
From Sylvia [?],
1928-29, n.d.

Box 10
From de George L. Schweinitz,
1933-39, n.d.

Box 11
SERIES III. PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES



Connecticut Society for Mental Hygiene Survey



Administrative records



Correspondence



General,
1928-29

Box 11: folder 12
From Samuel W. Hamilton to Ruth Mellor,
1929

Box 11: folder 13
General information about Connecticut Society for Mental Hygiene,
n.d.

Box 11: folder 14-15
Minutes of survey committee meeting,
11 Jun 1929

Box 11: folder 16
Survey prospectus,
n.d.

Box 11: folder 17
Ruth Mellor, references and credentials submitted in application for survey position,
1929

Box 1: folder 18
Expense sheets,
1929

Box 1: folder 19
Interviews and statistical data



Bureau of Child Welfare,
1929

Box 1: folder 20
Bureau of Special Education and Standards,
1929

Box 1: folder 21
Charities and humane societies,
1929

Box 1: folder 22
Churches,
1929

Box 2: folder 23
Clinics,
1929


Bridgeport


Box 2: folder 24
Note:
Bristol


Box 2: folder 25
Connecticut State Hospital


Box 2: folder 26
Hartley-Salmon


Box 2: folder 27
New Haven


Box 2: folder 28
Note:
Norwich


Box 2: folder 29
Note:
Waterbury


Box 2: folder 30
Note:
Unidentified clinic notes,
1927, n.d.

Box 2: folder 31
Colleges,
1929

Box 2: folder 32
County homes,
1929

Box 2: folder 33
Courts,
1929

Box 2: folder 34
Hospitals,
1929

Box 2: folder 35
Industry,
1929

Box 2: folder 36
Interviews with members of Connecticut Society for Mental Hygiene,
1929, n.d.

Box 2: folder 37
Interviews with other concerned citizens,
1929

Box 2: folder 38
Interviews by Samuel W. Hamilton (list),
1929

Box 2: folder 39
Mental health institutions, city,
1929

Box 2: folder 40
Mental health institutions, state,
1929

Box 2: folder 41
Schools, city,
1929

Box 2: folder 42
Schools, rural,
1929

Box 2: folder 43
State Department of Mental Health,
1929

Box 2: folder 44
Survey forms,
n.d.

Box 2: folder 45
Bingham Child Guidance Center



Correspondence



Ackerley, Spafford,
1933-61

Box 2: folder 45a
Minutes and miscellaneous documents,
1953-58, n.d.

Box 2
Professional affiliations,
1929, n.d.

Box 2: folder 46
SERIES IV. SUBJECTS



"Mental Hygiene Services in Out-Patient Departments of New York City,"
1928-29

Box 2: folder 47
"Philadelphia Health and Hospital Survey,"
n.d.

Box 2: folder 48
Miscellaneous and unidentified material,
1927-29, n.d.

Box 2: folder 49
OVERSIZE MATERIALS



Statistical charts for Connecticut Society for Mental Hygiene Survey,
1929

Flat File:

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
  • Ackerly, Spafford
  • Bingham Child Guidance Center--History
  • Bisexuality--United States--History--20th century--Sources
  • Female friendship--United States--History--20th century--Sources
  • Mellor, Ruth
  • Mental health facilities--Connecticut--History--20th century--Sources
  • Olmsted, Mildred Scott, 1890-1990
  • Social workers--United States--History--Sources


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