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Alumnae missionaries

In an 1835 pamphlet outlining her plans for Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, founder Mary Lyon stated that one of the goals of the school would be "to cultivate the missionary spirit among its pupils." Soon after the Seminary opened on November 8, 1837, alumnae began serving as missionaries in the United States and other countries, where they opened and staffed influential schools, brought aid to orphans and others and supported social reforms to improve the lives of girls and women. From 1839 through the 1950s, more than 500 alumnae engaged in missionary work. Their activities are documented in collections of personal papers and by materials in the Mount Holyoke College Missionaries Collection.