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Townsend-O'Brien-Hoffheimer Family Papers, 1878-1991
7 boxes (8 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 302

Abstract:
Professor, languages; Naturalist; Civic volunteer; Army Intelligence officer, World War II; Author; Teacher. The Townsend-O'Brien-Hoffheimer Family papers consists primarily of correspondence between these three generations of women and other family; diaries of Smith College years for both mother and daughter.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

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

Researchers must sign an Access Agreement Form, agreeing to protect confidentiality, before using this collection.

This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use.

Restrictions on use:

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

Sophia Smith Collection
Smith College
Northampton, MA

Biographical Note

The Townsend-O'Brien-Hoffheimer Family Papers include material from Charlotte Townsend (?-1926); Margaret Townsend O'Brien (1889-1961); Charlotte Townsend O'Brien Hoffheimer (1919-1991); and Margaret Townsend O'Brien II (1917- ). Of these three generations of women, two generations were Smith students. After their Smith graduations Margaret Townsend O'Brien II earned a Ph.D. from Harvard and taught languages and Charlotte Townsend O'Brien Hoffheimer served as a WAC officer in World War II, deciphering Japanese code. The collection also includes two generations of naturalists and two interfaith marriages (Margaret Townsend O'Brien married an Irish Catholic and Charlotte Townsend O'Brien Hoffheimer married a Jewish man). Charlotte Townsend O'Brien Hoffheimer volunteered for numerous social and civil organizations.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Townsend-O'Brien-Hoffheimer Family Collection consists primarily of correspondence between these three generations of women and other family. Two-thirds of the collection consists of letters from Margaret O'Brien Townsend (I) and the remaining third is composed of letters from her daughter, Charlotte Townsend O'Brien. There are letters from Smith College and some diaries are also document Smith years for both mother and daughter. Margaret Townsend O'Brien's I's letters discuss daily boarding school life and close relationships with female classmates. Other subjects discussed include Margaret Townsend O'Brien's bout with serious illness when she was young; Margaret II's career as a professor of languages; and Charlotte Townsend O'Brien Hoffheimer's army experiences. The letters are rich in detail about personal development, family life, and similar subjects. Charlotte Townsend O'Brien suggested that "her greatest historical accomplishment, like her mother's, was probably the private transmission of a cultured, reverent view of nature to the younger generation."

[NOTE: The contents list for this collection is not online. Contact the Sophia Smith Collection if you would like one sent to you.]


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.

Researchers must sign an Access Agreement Form, agreeing to protect confidentiality, before using this collection.

This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use.

Restrictions on use:

The material in this collection may be protected by copyright. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights for permission to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use." Permission 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:

Townsend-O'Brien-Hoffheimer Family, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Mass.

History of the Collection

The Townsend-O'Brien-Hoffheimer Family was donated to the Sophia Smith Collection by Michael H. Hoffheimer in 1994.

Accruals:

Periodic additions to collection are expected and may not be reflected in this record.


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


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
  • Courtship--United States--History--20th century--Sources
  • Family--United States--History--Sources
  • Marriage--United States--History--20th century--Sources
  • Mothers and daughters--United States--History--Sources
  • Naturalists--United States
  • Smith College--Students--History--Sources
  • United States--Social life and customs--19th century--Sources
  • United States--Social life and customs--20th century--Sources
  • Women--Education--History--Sources
  • World War, 1939-1945--Women--Personal narratives, American

Contributors
  • Hoffheimer family
  • O'Brien family
  • Townsend family

Genre terms
  • Nature stories


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