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Special Collections

Special Collections advances direct engagement in learning, research and creative work through providing exceptional collections and staff expertise. In addition to the materials in the College Archives and Rare Book Collection, there are special collections of manuscripts, diaries, valentines and other primary sources available for you.

The holdings of Special Collections range from 276 A.D. to the 1980s and are listed below:

Application or petition to a ducenarius from a native of Memphis, Egypt, between 276 and 282 A.D.
Petition, in Greek, from a native of Memphis, Egypt to a government official of the reign of Probius.

Bauer, Marion. Compositions.
The collection consists of over 50 published and unpublished compositions in a variety of forms including songs with pianoforte accompaniment, sonatinas, fugues and a symphonic poem.

Beardsley, Aubrey. Letter, 16 August 1896.
Letter to his publisher Leonard Smithers with oblique reference to Beardsley's recent illness and his move to Boscombe in Dorset (England).

Beecher Family Papers, 1822-1903.
Papers consist of correspondence, sermons, lecture notes, funeral sermons, a poem and biographical information relating to members of the Lyman Beecher family; principally pertaining to family matters, women's education and theological issues

Bennett, Arnold. Essay, 1930.
Essay on French literature written for his column in the "London Evening Standard" (December 1930). Begins with review of Philip Carr's "The French at Home". Also comments on latest works of André Malraux and Jean Giradoux.

Bird, Rev. Isaac and Ann. Correspondence, 1822-1835.
Letters to Rev. and Mrs. Isaac Bird, missionaries in Beirut, Lebanon. Correspondence in English and Arabic (with translations) reflects living conditions among Christian missionaries in the Middle East chiefly with regard to their health, general living conditions, and prospects for success among the Nestorians, Muslims and Jews.

Brownell Collection of Bloomsbury Authors, 1913-1959.
Letters and other documents relating to the Bloomsbury Group of 20th-century English authors collected by Gladys M. Brownell. Includes one letter each by Roger Fry and Vanessa Bell; 3 letters by Duncan Grant to Harold Monro; 3 letters by Lytton Strachey; and 9 mostly short letters by E. M. Forster.

Cobleigh Family Papers, 1847-1908.
Papers consist of letters by several descendants of John Cobleigh including his children, Luke, George, John, Lyman and Lucy Ann Foristall, and granddaughters, Kathrina Augusta, 1868-1936, and Virginia Monroe Quick, 1900-1985, Mount Holyoke College graduates, 1892 and 1922 respectively. Primarily documenting family news with special interest in California gold mining in the 1850s and one son's work on the construction of a Chicago railroad.

Cogswell Family Papers, 1828-1877.
Wade and Hannah Barker Cogswell. Papers contain letters by Abby Cogswell Twycross, 1809-1878, daughter of Wade, to various relatives of the Barker and Twycross family and her sister, Elizabeth Cogswell Wood, 1807-1841. Primarily documenting family matters and Elizabeth's work as a teacher.

Darwin, Erasmus. Letter, 14 May 1775.
Letter dated May 1775 to physician/botanist William Withering discussing a purchase of new books, an experiment by Dr. William Small, and a Parliamentary bill concerning James Watt's steam engine patent.

Demolder, Eugène. Correspondence, 1896-1908.
Correspondence to his publisher Edmond Deman concerning Demolder's biography of Felicien Rops; also includes three letters (10 juil. 1899, 11 mars 1901, 16 nov. 1908) from his wife, C. Demolder-Rops; and two letters (21 nov. 1898, 2 août 1901) from Armand Rassenfosse (engraver) in Liège. Letters are in French.

Doyle, Arthur Conan. Manuscript for Memories and Adventures, [1923?]

Dwight, Elihu. Papers, 1770-1850.
Dwight, a physician and entrepreneur, practiced in South Hadley, Massachusetts. Papers contain smallpox information; land records; financial records; mining records, blacksmith shop records; notebooks; recipes; and algebra class notes. Records primarily document his business activities, including land investments and trading.

Eekhoff, Henry. Papers, 1915-1970.
World War I soldier, farmer, merchant, and gold miner. Papers contain letters and photographs concerning his life in Papua New Guinea and Australia during the Japanese invasions of the island during World War II and photographs of his service in World War I.

Emerson, Joseph. Papers, 1803-1844.
Clergyman. Founder of Byfield Seminary. Papers consist of correspondence, published works, and biographical material. Primarily containing letters to his friends and former pupils. Also contains letters by his daughter, Nancy Emerson.

Field, Eugene. Letter, 17 November 1894.
Letter to his publisher W. Irving Way in which Field sends regrets for having not visited Way.

Fraterna di S. Nicolo delli Marineri (Venice, Italy). Records, 1572-1736.
Manuscript written 1634-1736 by different scribes of the Order of S. Niccolo in Venice; it gives records from the founding of the Order in 1572 to 1736.

Hale, Harriet. Papers, 1830-1837.
Student and teacher. Ipswich Female Seminary graduate, 1837. Papers contain a notebook of penmanship examples and letters to family members concerning primarily her schedule, studies, and activities as a student at Ipswich with frequent references to Zilpah P. Grant Banister, Mary Lyon, and to her own ideas about women's education.

Hamilton, Gail. Papers, 1849-1893.
Hamilton, Gail, (b. Mary Abigail Dodge). Papers consist of correspondence to a cousin, primarily describing her activities as a teacher in Hartford, Connecticut and comments on the cities of Hartford and Washington D.C. while living with the family of politician James G. Blaine.

Hankey, James Alexander. Letter, 3 January 1861.
Letter to Mark Antony Lower thanking him for the loan of his lectures on the "Bayeux tapestry".

Harris, Carrie M. Papers, 1891-1892.
Papers consist of a bound volume of "Foreign lands 1891-92 C.M.H.," letters, and memorabilia. Describing her travels through Europe at the end of the 19th century.

Helen Brainerd Lay Bookplate Collection.
Papers consist of a collection of book-plates designed and engraved by her brother-in-law, Edwin Davis French. Other material consists of the work of Cleora Wheeler, Octave Uzanne, K. Nakata and Yumimaro Ohmori. The correspondence is between Helen Brainerd Lay, Mount Holyoke College librarians, book-plate engravers, and other collectors. Also contains some periodicals, catalogs, advertisements, and supplementary books.

Indenture, 1715.
A 1715 release from Samuel Sheafe to John Applebee of 13 messuages in Southwark, England (now part of London). The contract was executed to settle debts owed following the bankruptcy of Alexander Merreall of London. Also named in the contract are the member of the King's Majesty's Commission who oversaw the bankruptcy and the tenants of the messuages.

Indenture, 1642.
Agreement, Burtonwood, England, February 1642, in which Richard Phipp, yeoman, acquires land from Henry Barrow on the occasion of Richard's upcoming marriage to Susan, daughter of William Smyth.

Indenture, 1682.
Plowman, William, of Dunninghton, East Riding of Yorkshire, England. Vellum "indenture" in the form of an pre-nuptial agreement dated Dec. 1682 conveying land owned by Plowman to John Jackson on the occasion of Jackson's marriage to Plowman's daughter Mary.

Irving, Washington. Letter, 3 April 1854.
Letter to Julia Sanders describing a journey his nephew and niece, Pierre and Helen Irving, took to North Carolina via Washington, D.C.

James, L. Stanley. Papers, circa 1920-1994.
Physician and researcher in the physiology of fetuses and newborn infants. Papers consist of correspondence, writings, research material, biographical information, sound recordings, and photographs relating to James as well as his colleague, physician and anesthesiologist Virginia Apgar. Most materials concern James' research interests and Apgar's life and work, including the Apgar Score that she developed to assess the health of newborns.

Jerome Family. Papers circa 1824-1956.
Papers consist of scrapbook, autograph album, commonplace book, spelling book, course records and a school catalog, biographical and genealogical information and photographs. Primarily documenting the education and work of three generations, including Elizabeth, 1824-1910, Jane Gilbert (Jennie G.) Jerome, 1861-1887, Elizabeth Maude Jerome, 1864-1939, and with a particular emphasis on Gilbert Nelson Jerome, 1889-1918, who died in combat during World War I.

Leighton, Nathaniel Wilson. Papers, 1861-1899.
Papers consist of diaries, correspondence and United States Civil War material. Primarily documenting his work as a United States Army surgeon during the Civil War.

Library books which I have read. Anonymous, 1800-1803.
Anonymous. List of Books Read presumably by a member of the Social Library of Petersham, Massachusetts. Most of the 29 books listed are non-fiction; brief comments accompany each entry.

Lower, Mark Antony. Lectures, 1857.
School master and historian. Text of two public lectures on the Bayeux tapestry.

MacLeish, Archibald. Papers, 1940-1948.
Papers consist of correspondence and reports relating primarily to MacLeish's involvement in the formation and activities of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and to a lesser degree, the publishing of poetry.

Marriage license, 1756.
Philip Adams and Mary Hunten, residents of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Marriage license dated June 24, 1756.

Mellen, Grace Temple. Journals, 1897-1958.
Papers consist of journals commenting on her life as a mother and living on a farm. Chiefly describing the work of her husband on the farm owned by Joseph Skinner and the mental illnesses of her mother and husband, Archie C. Mellen.

Mill, John Stuart. [Diary of a walking tour], 19 July - 6 August 1832.
Diary kept during a walking tour in Hampshire, West Sussex and the Isle of Wight in England during July and August 1832, containing detailed descriptions of what he encountered along the way.

Morgan, John A. Letter, 30 October 1834.
Professor at Lane Theological Seminary in Cincinnati, Ohio until he was dismissed in 1834 for siding with students in a debate over the Seminary's position on slavery. Letter is to students remaining at the Seminary offering advice and asking them to pay his debts and dispose of his belongings.

Murrow, Edward R. and Janet Brewster. Papers, circa 1860-1980.
Papers contain correspondence, writings, memorabilia, biographical information, and photographs. Primarily concerning their personal and professional lives, including their experience during World War II when he was Director of European Broadcasting for CBS, Inc., and she was executive director of the London Committee of Bundles for Britain, Inc.

Noss Family. Papers, 1912-1924.
Christopher Noss and Lura Boyer Noss, d. 1907, and Carol Day Noss and 12 children. Papers consist of correspondence between the family while the parents were missionaries in Japan. Principally documenting the education of two of the children, Frederick Boyer Noss, 1901-, and Anna Isabel (Annabelle) Noss Welty, 1899-2000, in addition to family matters, home life, report cards, and academic life. Also includes genealogical and biographical information provided by the donor.

Ogle, Fanny. Diary, 1845-1846.
Papers consist of a diary written between 1845 and 1846 primarily commenting on daily activities including reading, religion, and gardening, in addition to her care for an invalid woman at the woman's home in Scotland.

Old South Hadley Burial Ground. Manuscripts, 1976-1978.
Collection consists of the "working volumes" of an illustrated history of the old burial ground (1728-circa 1899) prepared in 1976 as part of South Hadley's celebration of the United States bicentennial, and additional photographs of the extant stones.

Pascin, Jules. Correspondence, [19--]
Correspondence with André Salmon, writer and art critic, regarding the French art scene. Pascin also mentions travels to North Africa and Barcelona as well as excursions with his wife, Hermine. Also includes hand-written invitation with engraving to gala in Salmon's honor.

Papyri fragments from Oxyrhynchus and the Fayum, 2nd cent. A.D.
Ten papyri fragments from archaeological excavations in Egypt (1895-1907), conducted chiefly by Bernard P. Grenfell and Arthur S. Hunt. The fragments, dating from the Graeco-Roman era are largely economic in nature, particularly covering leases and taxes. Also included are two horoscopes, and most importantly fragments from a copy of book one of Euclid's "Elements" containing propositions 39 and 41.

Perell, Emile. Papers, 1935-1950.
Primarily consisting of letters from his relatives, including his niece Rachel Bespaloff. Also included are documents pertaining to her work as a teacher and experiences during World War II. Papers consist of correspondence in both French and English.

Pesquet Family. Papers, 1623-1828.
Papers consists of legal documents relating to the family of Jean Baptiste Pesquet (sieur Deschamps) of Normandy, France; includes confirmation of magisterial office, wills, inventories, writ of emancipation, marriage contracts, etc.

[Proclamation requesting information on the theft of a mule], Lima, Peru, 14 March 1657.
Catholic Church, Archdiocese of Lima. Proclamation (part printed, part hand-written) in Spanish requesting information on the theft of a mule belonging to Don Miguel de la Ruis del Vega,. Proclamation signed by Pedro de Villagomez, Archbishop of Lima, Peru.

Radcliffe, George. Letter, 18 October 1616.
Letter to his mother Margaret Radcliffe chiefly on personal matters, also includes mention of Sir Edward Coke's dismissal from office and preparations for Prince Charles' [later Charles II] installment as Prince of Wales in November 1616.

Receipt for purchase of a slave named Neptune, Lynchburg, Virginia, 7 March 1863.
Receipt in the amount of US$1,560 for the purchase of a "sound and healthy" slave named Neptune, by Nathan C. Taliaferro from John H. Fuqua.

Rops, Félicien. Correspondence, [18--].
Collection of letters, in French, written principally to François Nys and Henri Liesse. Letters concern Rops' personal affairs, chiefly his financial difficulties, and designs for new works. Also included are 7 proof etchings to works published in 1864 and 1866

Ruskin, John. Letter, [18--].
Letter to "Darlingest Grannie," i.e., Joan Severn, in which he discusses his grief and seeing his children.

Ruskin, John. Letter, [18--].
Letter to Mrs. Simon, the wife of Ruskin's physician, Dr. John Simon, on the nature of the artistic standards of the English people. Included is a transcription, as well as a check dated October 13, 1884, payable to Miss Gale.

Sanford Family. Papers, 1788-1900.
Papers consist of inventories, account books, and a book of charades of the family of William, William A., Edward and Edward C. A. Sanford of Nynehead Court, Somerset, England. Inventories includes household goods, including silverplate and picture, and the library.

Sigourney, Lydia Howard Huntley. Correspondence, 1839-1846.
Letters to Mary Lyon, founder and principal of Mount Holyoke, concerning Sigourney's visits and gifts to the school.

Sleigh, James. Travel journal, 1861.
Contains account of trip from 22 - 29 June 1861 in Scottish mountains, as well as an accounting of costs from the trip and scraps of poetry. The narrative account describes includes train, boat, coach and foot travel from Loch Lommond to Ft. William, and to Oban. In addition, there is an account of walking up Ben Nevis.

Sitwell Collection, [192?]-1941.
Collection of 4 items, including a hand-written copy of Edith Sitwell's poem "En famille"; also a hand-written dinner menu (Nov. 1931) and 2 short letters from Osbert, one to Ernest Gye and one to John Betjeman.

South Hadley, MA. State election returns, 1799, 1810, 1812.
Election returns for Governor, Lieut. Governor, and Senators for 1799; Senators and Counsellors, 1810; and Governor and Lieutenant Governor, 1812 from the town of South Hadley, Hampshire County, Massachusetts. The returns are attested to by the selectmen and by Josiah White, Town Clerk.

Spaulding, Julia Brooks. Correspondence, 1832, 1897.
Ipswich Female Seminary graduate, 1830. Papers consist of correspondence chiefly describing her activities as a missionary in the Sandwich Islands (now Hawaii) in 1832. Also includes an 1897 letter containing a recollection of Mary Lyon.

Teasdale, Sara. Correspondence, 1909-1930.
Nine letters, including six to her friend Jean S. Untermeyer and a long letter (July 1909) to John Myers O'Hara, describing primarily her personal life and her career.

Thomson, Hugh. Sketches, 1913, 1919.
Two original pencil drawings that were published in the Highways and Byways series. The 1913 drawing, titled "Brampton," can be found on page 408 of Highways and Byways in the Border by Andrew and John Lang. The 1919 drawing, titled "At Didbrook," is on page 174 of Highways and Byways in Gloucestershire by Edward Hutton.

Valentines Collection, circa 1840s-1980.
Consists of hand-made and commercially-made valentines from the U.S. and Europe dating from the 1840s to the 1980s from collectors Marjorie Eames, Marguerite A. Davol, Helen Laws, and anonymous donors. Included are three valentines made by Esther Howland, six valentines made by the George Whitney Co., and a few made by Raphael Tuck and Sons, Ernest Nister, and L. Pang. Also included is a scrapbook made in 1880. Rounding out the collection are valentine ephemera and two books on the history of valentines, Valentines: A Loving Remembrance by Jean P. Favalora and A History of Valentines by Ruth Webb Lee.

Weld, Theodore Dwight. Letter, 13 August 1834.
Letter to his brother Lewis Weld about conditions at Lane Seminary in August 1834, includes comments on sickness and abolitionist activities.

Whittier, John Greenleaf. Letter, 11 August [18--].
A letter to his friend and fellow writer Lucy Larcom containing general greetings concerning health, the matters of acquaintances, and travels. Envelope is included.

World War I. Stereograph images in France, circa 1914-1918.
Fifty images from the First World War showing destruction caused by the fighting. Captions in French.

World War I. Postcards, circa 1914-1918.
Twenty-four images with captions in English, primarily showing British soldiers on battlefields or at rest or those supporting the war effort on the home front.