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Eleanor Copenhaver Anderson Papers, 1901-1993 (Bulk: 1922-55)
2 boxes (1 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 622

Abstract:
YWCA worker, Labor reform advocate. The papers are primarily related to her professional and public life and focus on her work for the YWCA of the U.S.A. Types of materials include correspondence; writings; photographs; press releases; reports; journal and newspaper articles; transcripts of interviews; and memorabilia. Included is a copy of her 1933 Columbia masters thesis on working women in San Francisco. The correspondence is revealing of Anderson's intensely religious family background. Of particular note is a small amount of revealing behind-the-scenes correspondence between YWCA staff members, and a small amount of Sherwood Anderson scholar Charles Modlin's research materials on Eleanor.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

The Papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection without any additional restrictions.

Restrictions on use:

Copyright ownership of Eleanor Copenhaver Anderson's writings is unknown. Copyright to materials authored by persons other than Anderson may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. 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

Eleanor Gladys Copenhaver was born on June 15, 1896 in Marion, Virginia, to Bascom Eugene and Laura Lu Scherer Copenhaver.

Laura Lu's father founded Marion Female College, which was located next door to the family home, "Rosemont." Laura Lu attended Marion College and later taught English there. Her husband, B.E. Copenhaver, first taught at Marion and then became Smyth County superintendent of schools. In addition, Laura Lu was very active in the Lutheran Church and on the local social scene. She wrote pageants, poetry, and articles for the church and a variety of magazines. She also helped provide employment for local rural women when she founded Rosemont Industries, which marketed mountain handicrafts.

Copenhaver first attended Marion College, then transferred to Westhampton College in Richmond, Virginia, where she earned a B.A. in English in 1917. She taught high school English in Richmond for the 1917-18 school year, then enrolled in the certificate program in Social Economy and Social Research at Bryn Mawr College. In the summer of 1919 she was Camp Director for the New York College Settlement. Bryn Mawr awarded her a certificate in social economy in 1920. Copenhaver joined the national staff of the YWCA in September 1920 as a Field Secretary in the South and Central region. From 1920 to 1923 she primarily worked in rural communities organizing programs, studying conditions, and "interpreting" the Association to public gatherings and church and school groups. She switched to a specialization in industrial communities beginning in 1923, first working in the Central Region, then as National Industrial Secretary based at headquarters in New York City beginning in 1925. She completed a masters degree in political economy at Columbia University in 1933.

The writer Sherwood Anderson began spending summers in Smyth County, Virginia, in the 1920s. He came to know the Copenhaver family after he purchased two small local newspapers. First befriending Laura Lu, Anderson met Eleanor in 1928 when she was visiting from New York. Still married to his third wife at the time, Anderson began following Copenhaver on her travels for the YWCA, eventually convincing her to marry him. They were wed on July 6, 1933, in Virginia.

From 1937 to 1947 Copenhaver Anderson was head of the National YWCA's Industrial Program. She continued to travel extensively for her job, which provided the main financial support for the couple and for various family members through the Depression. Some have speculated that this, Sherwood Anderson's fourth marriage, lasted as long as it did in part because Eleanor was away so much. He died in 1941.

As the National YWCA began to drastically reduce its programs for employed women, Anderdson accepted a two-year assignment with the Foreign Division, departing for Italy in 1947. There she worked on a cooperative program between the YWCA and Amalgamated Clothing Workers, and served as an advisor to the YWCA of Italy on relief projects and employed women's programs.

While Anderson was in Italy, attacks on the YWCA for its supposed communist leanings became especially virulent. Copenhaver Anderson's name was among the many YWCA staff-particularly those in the Industrial Department--accused of communist ties in the 1948 booklet "Behind the Lace Curtains of the YWCA." In Italy, she made the mistake of authorizing an unsecured loan of YWCA funds which were lost when the individual to whom she made the loan disappeared.

After her return to the U.S., Copenhaver Anderson was terminated rather abruptly in 1950 when the YWCA of the U.S.A. eliminated its programs for employed women. During her forced leisure, she organized and transferred Sherwood Anderson's papers to the Newberry Library in Chicago.

Copenhaver Anderson was rehired in 1951 under the auspices of the YWCA and United Community Defense Services, an agency formed from fifteen social service organizations to provide short-term "health, welfare, and recreation services" to rapidly-growing communities near defense industries. She retired from the YWCA-UCDS work in 1961.

In retirement, Copenhaver Anderson spent winters in New York City and summers at "Rosemont" and "Ripshin" in Virginia. She graciously greeted Sherwood Anderson scholars and encouraged their work on her late-husband.

Eleanor Copenhaver Anderson died on September 12, 1985 in Marion, Virginia.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Eleanor Copenhaver Anderson Papers consist of one linear foot and are primarily related to her professional and public life, dating from 1901 to 1993. Types of materials include correspondence; writings; photographs; press releases; reports; journal and newspaper articles; transcripts of interviews; and memorabilia.

The bulk of the papers date from 1922 to 1955 and focus on Copenhaver Anderson's work for the YWCA of the U.S.A. Included among the Biographical Materials in SERIES I is a fairly extensive file of clippings giving a sense of Anderson's busy travel schedule as well as a copy of her 1933 Columbia masters thesis on working women in San Francisco. The correspondence in SERIES II is revealing of Anderson's intensely religious family background. Of particular note in the YWCA materials in SERIES III. PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES is a small amount of revealing behind-the-scenes correspondence between YWCA staff members. SERIES IV. consists of a small amount of Sherwood Anderson scholar Charles Modlin's research materials on Eleanor.


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 without any additional restrictions.

Restrictions on use:

Copyright ownership of Eleanor Copenhaver Anderson's writings is unknown. Copyright to materials authored by persons other than Anderson may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. 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:

Eleanor Copenhaver Anderson Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Mass.

History of the Collection

The Eleanor Copenhaver Anderson papers were donated to the Sophia Smith Collection in 2008 by Marjorie Modlin, widow of the Sherwood Anderson scholar Charles Modlin.

Processing Information

Processed by Maida Goodwin, 2008


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

Contents List
SERIES I. BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS



General
1948-51, n.d.

Box 1: folder 1
Clippings
1922-62, n.d.

Box 1: folder 2-4
Address and telephone books
n.d.

Box 1: folder 5
Business cards
n.d.

Box 1: folder 6
"Daily Reminder" diaries
1929-33

Box 1: folder 7
Death
1985

Box 1: folder 8
Education



General
1917-33

Box 1: folder 9
Masters Thesis: "Working Women in San Francisco, California," political science, Columbia University[original and photocopy]
1933

Box 1: folder 10-11
Family



Copenhaver family and Rosemont Weavers
1901-84, n.d.

Box 1: folder 12
Sherwood Anderson's Secret Love Letters: For Eleanor, a Letter a Day, edited by Ray Lewis White, LSU Press
1991

Box 1: folder 13
FBI file
1938-54

Box 2: folder 1
Financial
1922-23

Box 2: folder 2
Oral history interview by Mary Frederickson, Southern Oral History Program, University of North Carolina: transcript
1975

Box 2: folder 3
Photographs
1922-84, n.d.

Box 2: folder 4
SERIES II. CORRESPONDENCE



Miscellaneous
1922-72, n.d.

Box 2: folder 5
Copenhaver, Bascom Eugene (father)
1920-23, n.d.

Box 2: folder 6
Copenhaver, John Randolph (brother)
1921, n.d.

Box 2: folder 7
Copenhaver, Laura Lu Scherer (mother)
1921-25, n.d.

Box 2: folder 8
Scherer, Minerva May (aunt)
1918, 1921, n.d.

Box 2: folder 9
SERIES III. PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES



Notes on Southern Louisiana for Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corporation
Jul 1956

Box 2: folder 10
YWCA of the U.S.A.


Box 2
General
1922-53, n.d.

Box 2: folder 11
Conferences



General
1926-31, n.d.

Box 2: folder 12
Findings of the Southern Industrial Conference
1940

Box 2: folder 13
Correspondence



General
1920-55

Box 2: folder 14
Leonard, Louise
1923, n.d.

Box 2: folder 15
Miscellaneous YWCA Secretaries
1928-50, n.d.

Box 2: folder 16
Radio script for appearance on "Woman of Tomorrow" with Nancy Craig
Nov 1942

Box 2: folder 17
Reference file on southern textile industry strikes
1929-30

Box 2: folder 18
Reports



Report of the Ford Study on the Rural-Industrial Section by Eleanor Copenhaver, Margaret Forsyth, Donald McConnell, Dorothy P. Gary, and Lois MacDonald
1926

Box 2: folder 19
American Federation of Labor Convention
1936

Box 2: folder 20
Friendship Train, Italy
Jan 1948

Box 2: folder 21
"Social Ideals" worship service, Winston-Salem YWCA
1933

Box 2: folder 22
Writings for YWCA
1929-50

Box 2: folder 23
SERIES IV. RESEARCH FILES OF CHARLES MODLIN



Chronology
n.d.

Box 2: folder 24
Correspondence



with YWCA
1975, 1988

Box 2: folder 25
re entry for Dictionary of Virginia Biography
1993

Box 2: folder 26

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
  • Anderson, Eleanor Copenhaver, d. 1985
  • Copenhaver, Laura Scherer, 1868?-1940
  • Marion College (Marion, Va.) -- History
  • Women -- Employment -- United States -- History -- 20th century -- Sources
  • Young Women's Christian Association of the U.S.A. -- History


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