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Papers of M. Carey Thomas


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Introduction: The Papers of M

Introduction: The Papers of M. Carey Thomas in the Bryn Mawr College Archives

Microform publication of a large and complex collection of historical manuscripts is a challenging venture. Still a relatively new means of making primary materials widely and expeditiously available to the scholarly world, it partakes of the methods and problems of both the curator of manuscript records and the editor of printed documentary collections. It is complicated, moreover, by its utilization of the constantly developing technology of microphotography. The editor of such a publication is, therefore, highly dependent upon expert advice and reliable support from diverse sources.

The microfilm publication of the M. Carey Thomas Collection at Bryn Mawr College had been a co-operative undertaking of a federal commission, a private institution, and a commercial publishing house. Each deserves, and has, my sincere thanks for its contributions to my work on this editorial project.

A grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission has made the Thomas Papers microfilm possible by underwriting substantial support costs. In addition, the staff of the Commission, notably Fred Shelley, Frank Burke, Roger Bruns, and George Vogt, have contributed to the project in innumerable ways from its inception to its completion. Through the catholicity of their recommendations of documentary publications for sponsorship, through the technical microform standards which they have been instrumental in codifying, and through the evolution of editorial procedures under their aegis, they and the Commission as a whole have shaped the field in which I work and the product of my labor. I owe to each of them a full measure of professional and personal gratitude.

Bryn Mawr Colleges contributions to the publication have been fundamental, wholehearted and indispensible. Having in its possession a collection of documents relevant, not only to its own institutional history, but to the history of women and of higher education in general, it chose to make them available without restriction on the widest possible scale through microfilm publication. The Colleges commitment was manifested in the quality of direction it provided for the publication. To serve as Project Director, a committee was chosen from the administration, the faculty, and the library: Harris Wofford, President of the College until 1978; Mary Patterson McPherson, Dean and later President; Mary Maples Dunn, Arthur Dudden, Elizabeth Foster, Professors of History; James Tanis, Director of the Library, Gertrude Reed, Head of the Reference Department and College Archivist, and Leo Dolenski, Manuscripts Librarian.

The Committee, corporately and individually motivated by a devotion to excellence in scholarship and equality of intellectual opportunity, shared with the editor responsibility for policy making, while at the same time providing a sustaining source of encouragement and sound advice. Leo Dolenski edited the copy of the Guide.

In ways too numerous to list, members of the faculty and of the administrative, library, and support staffs of the College have assisted the editor with the benefits of their special skills and knowledge and their friendly concern. I am grateful to both the Thomas Papers Committee and the college community for joining with me as co-workers in this undertaking.

Clerical and support work for the project was supplied by a roster of highly qualified and personable student assistants: Barbara Barletta, Sara D. Baughman, Sara J. Lehrman, Harriet L. Lightman, Monique F. Loh, Cynthia L. Sadler, Anastasia Song, and Martha L. Walker. Each performed with intelligence and proficiency tasks of typing, filing, and processing. Each has earned the sincere and enduring gratitude of the editor whose work they shared and whose days they brightened.

The work of three other assistants was of a specialized nature. Susan Hersker Rubinstein filed most of the correspondence in the personal papers, bringing to the task a talent for identifying handwriting, coping with baffling nicknames, and supplying dates based upon genealogical and biographical clues. Melissa A. Young prepared for the photographer the letterbooks of Isabel Maddison, professionally providing for an entire subseries of the publication all editorial apparatus, including targets and reel notes. Carol A. Moon was responsible for the development of the index in all of its stages: without her perseverance, skills of organization, and exactitude, there would not be an index to Thomass correspondence.

The project was further aided in the creation of the index by Jay M. Anderson, Director of the Bryn Mawr College Computer Center, whose generous contributions of time and expertise went well beyond any reasonable call of duty, and by student and staff computer operators. It is not possible to repay this valued assistant by a mere expression of appreciation.

Research Publications, Inc. (now Primary Source Microfilm, an imprint of Gale) collaborated in the micropublication of the Thomas Collection by providing all photographic and processing services along with marketing and distribution of the film. In three years of co-operative effort, RPIs commitment to technical excellence and innovative approach to solving problems in the field of microphotography have been always apparent. These qualities have been exhibited at the personal level by both editorial and technical staffs.

This Guide is intended to serve as an introduction to the microfilm publication of the Thomas Papers. No scholar will make the mistake of considering it infallible and inclusive or of limiting his examination of the Thomas Collection to subjects highlighted in the reel notes and correspondence cited in the index. It is my hope that it may, within the limits of its format, prove useful to those researchers who will seek in this great collection new evidence in their fields of specialty and documentation of their hypotheses.

Lucy Fisher West
Editor

 

Biographical Sketch

Martha Carey Thomas was born January 2, 1857, in Baltimore, Maryland, the eldest child of James Carey Thomas and Mary Whitall Thomas. Her father and paternal grandfather were physicians. Her mother was the youngest daughter of a prosperous Philadelphia merchant, John Mickle Whitall, and his wife Mary Tatum Whitall. Throughout her childhood and youth, Minnie (as she was nicknamed) Thomass nuclear family maintained very close ties with the extended families on both sides.

The Thomases and Whitalls were active members of the Society of Friends, and their religion almost certainly reinforced their family bonds. This may be observed in the correspondence of Mary Whitall Thomas with her sister Sarah Whitall Nicholson (whose daughter Rebecca, or Bessie, was Minnies close childhood friend).

Religion was even more central in the life of Marys other sister, Hannah Whitall Smith, who, along with her husband Robert Pearsall Smith, became an evangelist of international stature. Hannahs fervent individualism and feminism were important influences on Carey Thomass life. Among all of Careys cousins, Hannahs four children - Frank, Mary (later married to Bernard Berenson), Alys (the first wife of Bertrand Russell), and Logan - were the ones with whom she had the warmest and most enduring relations.

James and Mary Thomas, though both Quaker ministers, and zealous in the religious instruction of their children, appear in every way to have been indulgent and loving parents to their large family. After Minnies birth, five sons and four daughters followed: John Mickle Whitall, b. 1859; Henry M., b. 1861; Bond Valentine, b. 1863; James Whitall, b. 1865 (died in infancy); Mary Grace, b. 1866; Margaret Cheston, b. 1869; Helen Whitall, b. 1871; Frank S., b. 1873; and Dora C., b. 1877 (died in infancy). Although she increasingly resented the growing number of her siblings and developed an abhorrence of large families which she never lost, Carey Thomas enjoyed many prerogatives as the eldest child.

Doted upon by her parents in her infancy, Minnie proved to be a spirited, curious, headstrong child. She appears to have enjoyed strong and vigorous health, with no major illnesses until she suffered a serious household accident at the age of seven. While she was playing in the kitchen, her clothes caught fire resulting in extensive and very severe burns on her lower body. Her recuperation was painfully slow; she did not recover sufficiently to resume her former pattern of strenuous play for well over a year. Following her convalescence, she took great pleasure in active sports including swimming, hiking, riding, and especially, ice skating.

Minnie, having learned to read at a very early age, excelled in the local Quaker school where she received her first formal education. In 1872, she enrolled at Howland Institute, a Quaker boarding school for girls near Ithaca, New York. Already desirous of higher education, her ambitions were directed by Jane Slocum, a Howland teacher, toward Cornell University and advanced scholarship. Thomas graduated from Howland in 1874, spent a year at home preparing herself for Cornell entrance examinations, and entered the University as a junior in the fall of 1875. In 1877 she received her A.B. degree, qualifying for election to Phi Beta Kappa. Returning to her parents home, she sought admission to the graduate school of the newly established Johns Hopkins University. Johns Hopkins enrolled her in a degree program but refused to permit her to attend classes and seminars with its male students. For a while Thomas attempted to follow a program of directed private scholarship, but this proved unsatisfactory and in October 1878 she resigned.

Until the time she left Cornell University, Carey Thomass correspondence indicates that she continued to attend church services regularly and practised private devotions in accordance with her parents wishes. However, the conversion experience she claimed to have hoped for never came. After her return home, her religious doubts were replaced by a conviction that her parents faith was without relevance to her life and that many, if not all, of their beliefs were unfounded and erroneous. However, after discussing the matter with her mother, she agreed to keep these attitudes private. Later as president of Bryn Mawr College she attended Quaker meetings during the academic year and did not resign her membership in the Society of Friends until after her retirement.

Thomass distaste for her first name, by which she was never called, may have been related to her dislike of the excessive religious zeal of her paternal grandmother for whom she was named. The first Martha Carey Thomas died as a young matron and was memorialized in a pamphlet which celebrated her religious devotion and her submissive spirit in the face of ill health. After Marthas death, Dr. Richard Henry Thomas twice remarried, so that Carey Thomas had uncles and aunts who were virtually her contemporaries. Several members of the Thomas family shared, and perhaps inspired, Careys compelling interest in higher education and her thirst for foreign travel.

Although Thomas found the years immediately following her graduation from Cornell frustrating in many ways, she developed at that time a remarkable network of friendships which proved to be intellectually stimulating, emotionally supportive, and culturally and socially liberating. The closest and most congenial of her youthful friends was her cousin, Elizabeth (Bessie) Tabor King. Even though Bessie was three years older than Carey, they attended Howland Institute together and graduated in the same class. After their return to Baltimore, Bessie apparently introduced two other young women of her own age, Mary Elizabeth Garrett and Julia Rebecca Rogers, to Thomas. To this group was added a still younger woman, Mary (Mamie) Mackall Gwinn. Calling themselves the "Friday Night," the group met fortnightly, functioning as a kind of philosophical and literary debating club. Stimulated at least in part by these discussions and supported by her mother, Carey Thomas determined to seek an advanced degree at a German University. With Mamie Gwinn as travelling companion and housemate, she enrolled in a graduate program in philology at the University of Leipzig. When, as Thomas neared the completion of her studies, the German government proscribed the award of advanced degrees to women, she transferred to the University of Zurich and in the fall of 1882 received a doctoral degree summa cum laude.

The years immediately following Thomass return to the United States in the fall of 1883 were perhaps the most productive of her entire life. Named dean-elect of Bryn Mawr College in 1884, the year before it opened, Thomas proposed to President James E. Rhoads and the Board of Trustees a series of academic policies not then in effect in any womens college. Apparently devised with the assistance of Mamie Gwinn and clearly modeled on Johns Hopkins University and the German university system, Thomass scheme included rigorous entrance examinations, a faculty staffed only by holders of PhD degrees, and the establishment of graduate departments and graduate fellowships. When the college opened in 1885, Thomas served in the double roles of dean of the college, heading a brilliant young faculty which she had been instrumental in recruiting, and professor of literature. In later years she would look back nostalgically on this period as a happy time when the college, the students, and faculty "all were young together."

In the same year that Bryn Mawr College enrolled its first classes, Thomas, in co-operation with other members of the erstwhile "Friday Night" founded a girls preparatory school in Baltimore. Incorporating the most advanced and rigorous academic and physical education programs, the Bryn Mawr School boasted of its high standards, requiring for graduation the successful completion of Bryn Mawr Colleges entrance examinations.

Soon after the Bryn Mawr School opened, the women who founded it (with the exception of Julia Rogers) undertook a farsighted new project to expand educational and career opportunities for women. With the aid of a national system of womens committees which they organized, the Baltimore group (relying heavily on the financial and administrative contributions of Mary Garrett) raised funds adequate to endow a Medical School at Johns Hopkins University. As conditions of the gift, the Womens Committee required that women should be admitted to the medical school on the same terms as men and that college degrees should be required for admission.

Even while the agreement concerning the medical school were still being worked out, Carey Thomass career at Bryn Mawr College reached a crossroads. When President Rhoads announced his intention to resign in 1893, Thomas, who had applied for the office of president prior to the opening of the college, immediately became a candidate to succeed him. Although she had strong support on the Board of Trustees from Rhoads, her father, her uncle James Whitall, and a cousin, David Scull, Thomass appointment was vigorously opposed by a conservative faction. Not until November 1893 did the Trustees narrowly elect her to the presidency; she assumed office at the end of the school term the following spring.

M. Carey Thomass ensuing twenty-eight year tenure as president of Bryn Mawr College was a period of building, growth, and innovation. The faculty, the student body, and the endowment grew dramatically. Under her direction, dormitories, a library, and sundry auxiliary buildings were constructed in an architectural style first used in this country on the Bryn Mawr campus--Collegiate Gothic. Thomas introduced an experimental model school as an adjunct to the Education Department, founded a Graduate Department of Social Research and helped to create a summer school for women industrial workers on the Bryn Mawr campus. Before she became president of the college, Thomas had been instrumental in the creation of Student Self-Government, and as president she encouraged its growth and defended its prerogatives. The workload Thomas handled as president was extraordinary. In addition to undertaking several major fund raising and building construction programs, she supervised on a daily basis a myriad of details regarding student housing, health, and welfare; faculty recruitment; curriculum and course development; buildings and grounds upkeep; and budgetary and other administrative matters.

Not withstanding her many positive accomplishments, Thomass presidency was marked by several disruptive struggles for power arising out of conflicts of principles and personalities. The first of these was essentially a continuation of the debate over her candidacy for the presidency. The minority of Trustees who had opposed her appointment continued, in the 1890s, to resist many of her policies and programs. Basically at issue was the secularization of the college, which Thomas considered essential to its future development. Retrospectively the conflict can be viewed as a struggle between intellectual freedom and academic excellence on the one hand, and sectarian commitment on the other. Apparently the matter was resolved toward the end of the decade by a tacit compromise with Thomas accommodating certain of the Trustees wishes (for example, restrictions on music and drama on campus) and receiving in return a relatively free hand to pursue her long range goals in an institution where no religious observances would be imposed on the student body.

Before the end of the first decade of the twentieth century, Thomass relations with the Board of Trustees were again in a state of crisis. In 1906, in response to charges that the president was unmindful of the authority of the Trustees and that she was distrusted by members of the faculty, the Board undertook an investigation of her administration and of her character. Whether or not she was fully vindicated by the findings of the investigating committee, Thomas seems to have emerged from this controversy with a strengthened position vis-à-vis the Trustees.

The final and most public of the crises of President Thomass administration occurred in 1916 when some of the faculty protested in the pages of Philadelphias newspapers her autocratic use of the powers of her office. The uprising succeeded in bringing about reform of the structure of college government, giving the faculty direct authority in matters of faculty recruitment, promotions, terminations of contracts, etc.

When Carey Thomas moved to Bryn Mawr, she was allotted one of three cottages provided as faculty housing. Nicknamed the Deanery, it was to be her residence until 1933 when she removed her personal effects and deeded the remainder of its contents to the alumnae. For nearly twenty years she shared the Deanery with Mamie Gwinn, who was first a graduate student and then a professor of literature at the college. After Gwinns marriage in June 1904, Mary E. Garrett moved to Bryn Mawr and lived in the Deanery until her death in 1915. Major renovations and additions to the Deanery were underwritten and supervised by Garrett shortly after she moved in.

Thomas shared with Garrett a deepening interest in the womens suffrage movement. The two women contributed generously to its treasury and Thomas took a leading part in the establishment of the College Equal Suffrage League. Other interests of Thomass that went beyond the boundaries of Bryn Mawr College were the Association of Collegiate Alumnae (later renamed the American Association of University Women); the Naples Table Association (which supported women scientists at the Naples Research Station); the College Entrance Examination Board; the International Federation of University Women; the Athens Hostel (for use by women scholars at the American School for Classical Research at Athens); and the peace movement.

In 1922, at the age of 65, Carey Thomas retired. As President-emeritus, she remained a member of the Board of Directors until her death and interested herself in the operations of the college in other ways. She continued to support the peace movement, the Athens Hostel, the Equal Rights Amendment, and other outside interests. Most of her time, however, was devoted to the pursuit of long time avocations: travel, reading, the theatre, music, art, and architecture. In addition, she planned to write an autobiography and throughout the remainder of her life, at home and abroad, she professed to be at work on it. Although she collected material avidly and made notes assiduously, her autobiography was never written.

Carey Thomas died on December 2, 1935, less than a month after she had taken part in the celebration of Bryn Mawr College's Fiftieth Anniversary. Although Thomas had inherited the bulk of Mary Garrett's large estate in 1915, by the time of her death, the depression and her own heavy expenditures had seriously eroded the principal and she left an estate appraised at about one hundred thousand dollars. In accordance with her wishes, her body was cremated and her ashes buried in the cloisters of the library named in her honor at the heart of the Bryn Mawr campus.

M. Carey Thomas Chronology

1857 M. Carey Thomas born in Baltimore on 2 January
1864 Severely burned at age 7
1872-1874 Attended Howland Institute
1875 Entered Cornell University
1877 Received B.A. from Cornell
1877-1878 Studied at Johns Hopkins University
1879-1882 Studied in Europe with Mamie Gwinn
1882 Received PhD from the University of Zurich
1883 Returned to United States
1884 Appointed Dean of Bryn Mawr College and Professor of English
1885 Bryn College opened
1885 Bryn Mawr School opened
1888 Mother, Mary Whitall Thomas, died
1891 Womens Fund for the Johns Hopkins University Medical School collected
1893 JHUMS opened
1894 Appointed president of Bryn Mawr College
1897 Father, James Carey Thomas, died
1904 Mamie Gwinn married Alfred Hodder
1904 Mary Garrett moved into the Deanery
1906 Trustees investigation of charges against Thomas
1915 Mary Garrett died leaving Thomas the bulk of her estate
1915-1916 Faculty crisis at Bryn Mawr
1921 Summer School for Women Workers in Industry opened at Bryn Mawr
1922 Retired as president of Bryn Mawr
1935 Fiftieth Anniversary of Bryn Mawr College
1935 M. Carey Thomas died on 2 December

History of the Papers

The microfilm publication of the M. Carey Thomas Collection at Bryn Mawr College is comprised of documents from two principal sources: Carey Thomass personal papers, which were in her possession at the time of her death and became a part of her estate, and the official records surviving from her career at Bryn Mawr College, which have been preserved in the college archives. The integrity of these separate collections (except for photographs) has been retained. However, scattered items appear in the personal papers which would seem properly to belong in the official papers, and vice versa. This is probably a result of the physical proximity in which the collections were generated. Thomas maintained an office in her residence from which she often conducted college business and she undoubtedly handled private business from the Presidents office in Taylor Hall as well. Because of existing finding aids based on the original arrangement and also previous scholarly use of the college archives, apparent strays were not refiled.

These two major series of papers are augmented by two much smaller lots. The third series, the Bryn Mawr School Papers, were discovered in the Thomas family summer cottage at Blue Ridge Summit, Maryland, by Dr. Caroline Bedell Thomas prior to the sale of the property. Dr. Thomas, acting with the concurrence of the Bryn Mawr School, placed the records in the Bryn Mawr College Archives. The fourth series is comprised of six photograph albums compiled by Carrie Chapman Catt depicting the history of the womens suffrage movement, which were given to Bryn Mawr College because of Thomass contribution to the movement.

M. Carey Thomass personal papers, consisting of incoming and outgoing correspondence, family letters, autobiographical papers, business records, memorabilia and other miscellaneous materials, were given to Bryn Mawr College by Millicent Carey McIntosh, Carey Thomass niece and one of her executors. The survival rate of Thomass personal papers is uneven. Thomas herself appears to have regarded personal papers as valuable for sentimental rather than historical purposes. In surveying her personal archives, for example, one finds no evidence that she seriously attempted to document her role in the suffrage movement. On the other hand there is nothing to indicate that she ever destroyed any records or contemplated their destruction for reasons other than to rid herself and her executors of routine and outdated papers. Making plans for the disposition of her papers after moving out of the Deanery in 1934, she wrote to Isabel Maddison: "I doubt very much whether there is anything that I want except Miss Garretts and my letters."

Apparently no systematic effort was made by Bryn Mawr College to collect and organize the official records of M. Carey Thomass administration as president of the college until 1950. At that time Mary Louise Terrien, a former Bryn Mawr College reference librarian, (1915-1945), was engaged by President Katherine McBride to sort and organize the unbound documents surviving from Thomass tenure. Terrien left no comprehensive report of the amount of papers she encountered or of the condition in which she found them. From her extant informal memoranda, it is clear that she worked in close coordination with the presidents office on this project. Terrien merged outgoing, incoming, and third party correspondence with miscellaneous materials to create a series of subject files which she entitled "The History of the College." The name was apropos, except for letterpress copybooks of outgoing correspondence, all extant official papers directly relating to James E. Rhoadss and M. Carey Thomass presidencies have been preserved in this file. (Note: Apparently Terrien concluded that there were not sufficient surviving papers from Rhoadss administration to warrant separate treatment. His correspondence with other parties, as well as with Carey Thomas--a slight lot all together--was incorporated into The History of the College files.) The college archives also includes Trustees minutes, annual reports of the presidents to the Board of Trustees, faculty and administrative committee minutes, college bulletins and other publications which are not organized as presidential papers and are not included in the microfilm.

Miss Terriens files are augmented in the college archives and on this microfilm publication by Thomass existing letterpress copybooks, numbered 13-70, and by a small body of faculty files from her administration. It is not clear when the bulk of the presidential papers of James E. Rhoads, Thomass as dean of the college, and the first twelve letterbooks were lost.

Because of limitations of time and budget, no effort was made to collect copies of Thomas Papers from other repositories for this microfilm publication. However, in order to test the extent of Thomas materials elsewhere, inquiry was made by letter or in person of institutions likely to own related collections. Libraries active in collecting womens history were approached as well as nearby colleges with close ties to Bryn Mawr, other northeastern womens colleges, and universities from which Thomas most frequently recruited faculty (Johns Hopkins, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Chicago, Oxford, and Cambridge, etc.). The following reported Thomas holdings in varying amounts; Princeton University, Yale University, Radcliffe College, Vassar College, Mount Holyoke College, Harvard University, Wellesley College, The Johns Hopkins University, Smith College, Haverford College, Swarthmore College, and the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle.

The only important group of papers discovered in private hands is the family archive of James Thomas Flexner, Miss Thomass nephew. The American Philosophical Society holds a related collection, the Simon Flexner Papers. Both contain M. Carey Thomas correspondence, family letters, and miscellaneous material pertinent to her life.

Finally, following the completion of the editorial preparation of the Thomas Collection for microfilm, a project was undertaken to locate and bring into the Bryn Mawr College Archives all non-current records stored elsewhere on campus. A small amount of additional Thomas items has surfaced in this process, notably scattered correspondence in the letter files of her assistants and secretaries and intra-campus memoranda in the early files of the college library. Because these strays do not form discrete lots and are generally of low quality, the photography of the Thomas Collection was not interrupted to allow them to be integrated. They will of course be available to researchers in the Bryn Mawr College Archives.

 

Editorial Procedures

This microfilm publication is limited to the collection of M. Carey Thomass personal and official papers in the Bryn Mawr College Archives, supplemented by two series of lesser, related materials from the colleges holdings. No extensive search in other repositories or private collections for M. Carey Thomas papers was undertaken in conjunction with this project. However, Dr. Caroline Bedell Thomas kindly made available to us copies of letters exchanged between her husband, Henry M. Thomas, Jr. and Carey Thomas, and these have been incorporated into the personal papers. Likewise typescript copies of Thomass letters from the personal collection of Barbara Strachey Halpern, which she generously provided, have been included. Copies of Thomas items in the papers of her successor, Marion E. Park, and small lots of letters given to the college archives by Helen Taft Manning and Arthur L. Wheelers heirs have been merged with the Thomas papers.

The microfilm of Bryn Mawr Colleges collection of M. Carey Thomass materials is comprehensive, including all of her personal papers and presidential records in the colleges possession with the following exceptions:

1. Detached envelopes, carbon copies and other exact duplicates, and file folders, which are regarded as too routine to warrant microfilming.

2. Published materials protected by copyright for which the college has not secured a release and unpublished materials for which the college has specifically requested and been denied release of literary property rights.

3. Items of Mary Garretts family papers which have no bearing on any of the following: M. Carey Thomas; Bryn Mawr College; Miss Garretts and Miss Thomass mutual women friends; M. Carey Thomass family; projects on which the two women worked together such as the Bryn Mawr School and the John Hopkins University Medical School Fund. The excluded materials relate to the Garrett family and its business ventures, to Mary Garretts personal health and treatment, and to her personal business. Bryn Mawr College has no claim at all to the literary rights of most of these papers and they have no direct or peripheral bearing on the papers in the Thomas Collection.

4. College records generated after Thomass retirement in 1922, and post-humous papers, including approximately 6 linear feet of records pertaining to the settlement of M. Carey Thomass estate.

5. In order to protect the privacy of former students, the names of those individuals who were excluded from the college for major infractions have been obliterated from the documents before microfilming.

The material not included on microfilm will be available in the Bryn Mawr College archives for examination by qualified researchers; a preservation copy of clippings and other copyrighted materials has been made and housed with the colleges microfilm collection.

In organizing the collection for microfilming, the separate provenances of the personal papers, official records, and supplemental holdings have been respected. Each series has a different plan of arrangements. Series I, Thomass personal papers, was first sorted according to types of material, with volumes (journals, notebooks, etc.), correspondence, and miscellaneous matter each being grouped separately. The volumes are arranged chronologically. Correspondence was divided into two groups: M. Carey Thomass mail and third party letters. Thomass mail was subdivided into outgoing and incoming correspondence; third party letters were separated into family third party and non-family third party. Each of these groups was filed alphabetically by author, or, in the case of Thomass outgoing correspondence, by recipient. A given persons correspondence was then filed chronologically. Series II, Thomass official records, is subdivided into correspondence and miscellaneous materials, the former filed chronologically and the latter topically. Similarly, in the Bryn Mawr School Papers (Series III), correspondence has been separated from other matter. The Catt albums, Series IV, of course required no imposed organization.

The collection contains numerous undated items. Whenever possible, dates or span dates have been supplied on the basis of content or other internal evidence. Dates of postmarks and dockets on conjoined envelopes have been used on undated letters except for cases of obvious misplacement. Undated material is filed at the end of the group, or at the end of the month, year, or decade, if known. Enclosures and envelopes have been microfilmed with the letters they accompanied. Detached enclosures have been reunited with the covering document whenever unidentifiable. Editorial procedures adopted as solutions to particular problems are described on individual target cards throughout the microfilm.

In order to produce the best possible microfilm images of a voluminous body of materials which vary widely in quality of the original, in contrast, in document size, etc., a standard reduction has not been adopted. However, each frame includes a running target card measuring exactly 13.4 centimeters long. If necessary, the reduction ratio, or the size of the original document, may be ascertained by reference to this measurement.

Series I Introduction: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers

Bryn Mawr Colleges collection of M. Carey Thomass Personal Papers (Series I) is microfilmed on the first eighty-eight reels of this publication. Series I is comprised of the following subseries: 1. Volumes; 2. M. Carey Thomas Correspondence (subdivided into Outgoing and Incoming Correspondence); 3. Third Party Correspondence (subdivided into Family and Non-Family Correspondence); and 4. Miscellaneous Papers.

Virtually all of the bound manuscript materials retained by M. Carey Thomas have been gathered together in the first subseries. (The exceptions are account books pertaining to Mary Whitall Thomass estate). These volumes, which include such types of materials as journals, diaries, notebooks, account books, memorandum books, address books, etc., have been arranged chronologically, based upon the date of the earliest entry, with undated items at the end. Because these volumes vary greatly in size, condition, and legibility, they have presented challenging technical problems for the microphotographer. Every effort has been made to reproduce them as legibly and coherently as possible. Blank pages have not been photographed. Inserts which seem to relate to the volume in which they were found have been microfilmed where they occur. In the few cases in which the inserts were clearly extraneous, they have been removed and filed with miscellaneous materials in Subseries 4.

Correspondence in Series I (Subseries 2 and 3) has been filed alphabetically by author, or in the case of Thomass outgoing correspondence, by addressee. Letters of each author or recipient have been filed chronologically. Missing dates were supplied whenever possible on the basis of content. In the absence of other information, dates of dockets and postmarks appearing on accompanying envelopes have been used. Undated items are filed last, and unidentifiable fragments were placed at the end of each group of letters. Except in cases of obvious misfiles, enclosures and envelopes have been microfilmed with the letters they accompanied. Whenever the letters of more than one writer appear on a reel, a list of authors, with the approximate number and dates of their letters, follows the reel note.

Thomass outgoing correspondence (Reels 13-35) consists of recipient copies, returned to Thomas or collected by the college; carbon copies; and drafts. The survival rate is uneven. A fair amount of letters to her immediate family, though far from what would have been the entire body, is present. Virtually the entire run of her correspondence with Mary Garrett appears to be intact. There is a great deal of personal business correspondence, particularly correspondence generated after she inherited Mary Garretts estate. In addition, there is a considerable body of letters about her leading non-business concerns during her retirement years, such as the Athens Hostel and the Paris Clubhouse of the International Federation of University Women. The final roll of unbound outgoing correspondence (Reel 33) consists of circular letters which Thomas wrote to her family during her foreign travels. Reels 34 and 35 are comprised of letterpress copybooks containing copies which date chiefly from the last years of Thomass life. These are, of course, chronological in format. The indexes of these letterbooks have been incorporated into the index to Thomass correspondence published in the Guide. It should be consulted by readers wishing to have access to the complete run of Thomass personal correspondence.

Thomass incoming mail (Reels 36-62) follows a similar pattern. Extant are letters from Mary Garrett and a few other close friends; numerous letters from family members; letters from diverse sources which fall into certain categories selected by Thomas for retention, such as letters of appreciation and letters of sympathy; and general correspondence from the last few years of her life. Much of her correspondence deals with personal business matters such as banking, personal staff, purchases and bill payment, etc.; with her health and medical treatment; with social arrangements; or with such long term interests as the Bryn Mawr School, the American Association of University Women and the International Federation of University Women.

Third Party Correspondence is subdivided into family letters (Reels 63-69) and non-family items (Reels 70-72). Most of the family correspondence, i.e. letters to and from Thomass ancestors and relatives, excluding letters to and from Thomas herself, apparently came into her possession from the estates of her parents. Some may have been collected by Thomas or made available to her when she was gathering material for her autobiography. A few letters addressed to Mamie Gwinn and Mary Garrett probably were acquired by Thomas at the time of the marriage of the former and the death of the latter.

In many cases, particularly in the correspondence of Mary Whitall Thomass immediate family, letters bear messages from more than one person. For example, there are numerous joint letters from John and Mary Whitall to their children. These have not been individually noted, and the researcher who is seeking every item from the pen of a family member is advised to page through the letters of immediately related individuals in this group as well as to check for such materials in other parts of Series I.

The final group of correspondence in this series consists of letters that were not written by or addressed to either Carey Thomas or any member of her family. By far the largest run of these letters was written to or by Mary Garrett. As a single exception to the subdivision of the Third Party Correspondence, Mary Garretts letters addressed to Carey Thomass relatives are interfiled with her outgoing correspondence on Reel 70.

M. Carey Thomass Personal Papers are concluded by a group of miscellaneous documents (Reels 73-88) comprised of her autobiographical materials, speeches, personal business records, and the residue of the papers she collected and preserved in her life time. These have been sorted topically and filed whenever possible in chronological order.

Series II Introduction: M. Carey Thomas Official Papers

Extant official records of M. Carey Thomass administration as president of Bryn Mawr College are microfilmed on Reels 89-209. Series II is divided into four subseries as follows: 1. Presidential Letterpress Copybooks (Reels 89-147); 2. Unbound Correspondence (Reels 148-163); 3. Office Files (non-correspondence) (Reels 164-188); and Letterpress Copybooks of the Assistant and the Secretaries to the President (Reels 189-209).

Correspondence in Thomass presidential letterpress copybooks begins with letters dated December 1897 and concludes with her relinquishment of the office in September 1922. The run of college-year letterbooks (Reels 89-114) is followed by two reels consisting of scrapbooks of official correspondence produced by Thomas while on vacation and of copybooks of her handwritten letters.

Each letterbook is preceded by an index of its contents, which has been incorporated into the index published in the Guide. Unfortunately, time did not permit checking these indexes to assure their accuracy.

The quality of the letterpress (later carbon) copies varies greatly from volume to volume and even from page to page. Conditions affecting legibility, such as blurred or exceptionally faint originals, have been noted on target cards. However such problems as foxing and water damage have not been targetted. As a matter of policy, information appearing on the original (for example, "better copy follows") has not been repeated on target cards whenever the existing note is considered to be fully self-explanatory and adequate. Slight variations in the chronological sequence of the letters, which occur fairly frequently, have not been targetted. Causal inserts discovered in the letterbooks were microfilmed where they were found.

For the purpose of this microfilm publication, unbound official correspondence was removed from the Office Files (see explanation of Subseries 3 below) and reorganized to form Subseries 2 (Reels 148-163). Outgoing and incoming letters have been filed into separate chronological sequences, with undated items and fragments appearing at the end of each. These have been microfilmed on Reels 148-151 and 152-163, respectively. Correspondence in Subseries 2 is indexed in the Guide and also in the subject folder where it was filed.

Because of the imbalance in volume between Thomass Incoming and Outgoing (the official letterbooks plus unbound outgoing letters) Correspondence, it must be assumed that a sizable quantity of her incoming mail has been lost. It is reasonable to conclude, however, that important letters would have been handled more carefully than relatively routine items and are likely to have survived.

The unbound archival records from M. Careys Thomass presidential files are organized topically and filed alphabetically by subject heading. This consists of such materials as copies of Thomass speeches, minutes of meetings, reports, memoranda, third party correspondence, clippings, notes, ephemera, etc. Prior to microfilming, President Thomass correspondence (except for rough drafts) was removed from these files to create Subseries 2. An inventory of letters found in each folder has been microfilmed as the first item in each subject file. A list of subjects microfilmed on each reel follows the reel note. Except for the temporary removal of Thomass correspondence, the structure of this file was not modified for microfilm publication. In some cases duplications have been found; in others overlaps of topics seem to occur. Following the alphabetical sequence of the office files are two reels of personnel records of faculty and staff who served during Thomass administration. The bulk of the material in these files consists of contracts and letters of agreement.

The letterpress copybooks of Thomass longtime assistant, Isabel Maddison, (Reels 189-207) and two of her secretaries (Reels 208-209) conclude the Official Papers. The duties and responsibilities of Maddison, which were manifold, are reflected in her letters. Most of her incoming correspondence apparently has been lost. The letterbooks of the secretaries complement those of President Thomas during the periods which they cover.

Introduction to Reels 164-186: M. Carey Thomas Official Papers; Office Files

Miscellaneous papers from the M. Carey Thomass administration as president of Bryn Mawr College are microfilmed on Reels 164-186. Included are such types of materials as reports, speeches, memoranda, third party correspondence, articles, ephemera, announcements, resource materials, minutes, clippings, etc., filed topically. President Thomass unbound incoming and outgoing official correspondence, which was integrated into the files as it was originally constituted, has been removed, filed chronologically, and microfilmed on Reels 148-163. To provide a reference to the correspondence which was filed under each subject heading and to facilitate full reconstruction of the files after the microfilm has been completed, an inventory has been made of the letters removed from each folder. This inventory is microfilmed as the first item under each heading.

This file was created in 1950 when President Katharine E. McBride retained Mary Louise Terrien to organize the unbound archival records of her predecessors as president of Bryn Mawr College. Miss Terrien brought to this task a first hand knowledge of much of Bryn Mawrs history. A former graduate student in the college, she served on the library staff from 1915 until 1948. Inevitably Miss Terriens selection of papers for retention and her choice of topic headings reflect her perception of which subjects and which documents were vital to the permanent record of the college. In fact, "The History of the College" was her title for the file which she created in organizing and preserving the records of M. Carey Thomass administration.

If time had permitted, Miss Terriens files would have been subjected to a rigorous review prior to microfilming. A cursory examination reveals categories which could be consolidated and others which should be restructured. However, neither the library nor the microfilm project could afford to allot staff time to the reorganization of an existing, workable file. It is probable, moreover, that no significant, over-all improvement could have been devised for the management of these miscellaneous materials.

Introduction to Reels 189-207: M. Carey Thomas Official Papers; Letters of Isabel Maddison

Microfilmed on Reels 189 through 207 are the office letterbooks of Isabel Maddison, 1905-1922. Miss Maddisons title was Assistant to the President during these years; she served as Recording Dean as well after 1910. Maddison was responsible for much of the routine administrative business of the college. Her correspondence, therefore, is a useful adjunct to Thomass presidential records. Maddisons letterbooks dating from the period after Thomass retirement (1922-1926) have not been microfilmed.

Despite the span of years covered in this correspondence, the material in the letterbooks is remarkably similar in content. Appearing most frequently are the following types of communications: memos to Miss Thomas on a variety of college-related matters; memos to faculty concerning course schedules, classroom assignments, committee work and student illnesses; memos to students concerning registration, academic and gym requirements and tutoring; summons issued to members of the college community to see M. Carey Thomas; letters involving the scheduling of guests to lecture or theatre troups to perform at the college; student transcripts; information to prospective students and others who desire to know particulars of Bryn Mawr College procedure; and many miscellaneous items including tea menus, replies to job applicants, and letters to the printer of college material, Charles H. Clark. Exceptional items in each letterbook have been noted separately.

Certain technical problems occur repeatedly throughout the letterbooks. Due to the limitations of letterpress copying as a method of reproduction, some letters are totally or partially illegible because they are blurred or very faint. Letters were occasionally copied slightly out of chronological order. In some cases letters appear to be superimposed on one another. This may be the result of bleedthrough or faulty copying technique. In general, these conditions have been noted by use of target cards; however, oversights may be found.

Series III Introduction: Bryn Mawr School Papers

The Bryn Mawr School, a girls preparatory school in Baltimore, Maryland, was founded in 1885 by M. Carey Thomas and four other Baltimore women, Mary E. Garrett, Julia R. Rogers, Elizabeth T. King, and Mary M. Gwinn. Constituting themselves into a Board of Managers, the five women established the academic policies of the school and closely supervised its day to day operations. Not until 1896 was the first headmistress (Edith Hamilton) engaged. Prior to that the chief administrative officer had been styled "secretary," a post filled by Eleanor A. Andrews (1885-1889), Mary Noyes Colvin (1889-1893), Mary Buckingham (1893-1894), and Ida Wood (1894-1895).

Prompted by a concern that Baltimore girls should have an opportunity to attend a first-rate preparatory school, the Board of Managers stressed excellence in both the academic and physical education programs. As a requirement for graduation, each student had to pass Bryn Mawr Colleges entrance examinations. During the period covered by these papers, the school was not financially self-supporting. Mary Garrett, an heir to the B. & O. Railroad fortune, advanced money for construction of the school building and made up its annual operating deficits.

The Bryn Mawr School Papers are divided into two subseries: Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers. Correspondence (1881-1906), comprised mostly of recipient copies with small amounts of drafts and carbon copies, is filed chronologically and microfilmed on Reels 210-213. The miscellaneous material, consisting of financial records, class schedules, library accession records, inventories of art reproductions, attendance lists, etc., is filed topically and microfilmed on Reels 214-216.

A small lot of papers has not been included in the microfilm of this series. This consists of duplicate printed items, a few records of individual students grades, and credit reports on the parents or guardians of applicants (1901-1909). The Board of Managers apparently commissioned these credit investigations prior to admitting students from families with whom they were not personally acquainted. These reports provide information regarding occupation, residence, property holdings, character and reputation, credit worthiness, and in every case, the religious affiliation of the subject.

In addition to the papers in this series, there are widely scattered items in the M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers (particularly in her correspondence with Mary Garrett) and Official Papers regarding the Bryn Mawr School.

Unlike Series I and II, the correspondence in Series III has not been indexed nor have fragmentary items been targeted as such.

Series IV Introduction: Carrie C. Catt Photograph Albums

Six albums of photographs collected and organized by Carrie Chapman Catt to create a pictorial history of the womans suffrage movement conclude the microfilm publication of the M. Carey Thomas Collection at Bryn Mawr College. The albums were a gift to the college from Mrs. Catts Estate following her death in 1947. They are microfilmed in their totality on Reel 217.

Bound in black leather covers, the albums measure approximately eleven by fifteen inches. The photographs themselves are varied and irregular in size, ranging from approximately two by three inches to roughly ten by fourteen inches. Although most of the photographs are remarkably well preserved, a very few have tears along the margin and some are slightly faded. Legends accompany all of the images: some appear in white ink on the black mounting paper and others in black ink printed directly on the photographs. The first two albums are devoted to themes in the history of suffrage; the last four follow a geographic organization.

Introduction to the Index

This index is designed to facilitate access to M. Carey Thomass letters to and from a particular correspondent. It is a limited tool: it does not provide references to third party correspondence nor to Thomass letters beyond the boundaries of her personal papers and her official files (i.e. in the faculty files, in the Bryn Mawr School Papers, and in the letterbooks of subordinate college officials).

The index is arranged alphabetically by correspondent. Listings for individuals in the official correspondence are under the name which appears on the letter. A woman, therefore, may be listed under both maiden and married names. "See also" has been inserted to direct the researchers to other entries to or by the same individual when this occurs. Correspondence in the personal papers has been collected under one name for each individual. For a woman the married name (if known) is used, even if the bulk or totality of her correspondence with Thomas derives from the time prior to her marriage. For example, Mamie Gwinns letters are indexed under Mary Gwinn Hodder. In both the personal and official papers, nicknames have been eliminated and full names substituted for initials whenever possible.

Certain types of letters, such as invitations, notices to committees, etc., have been collected into groupings under BMC (Bryn Mawr College) and MCT (M. Carey Thomas, alphabetized with the Ts). Entries consisting of only last names and titles precede entries of the same last name with first names and/or initials. Names with separate prefixes have been compacted into one word, and hyphens have been eliminated. Nuns are listed under "Sister"; newspapers appear under the name of the city of origin, whenever possible.

The index combines three separately developed indexes. Entries for the personal correspondence (Reels 13-62), which is filed by author or recipient, were generated from reel lists. Thomass letterpress copybooks (Reels 89-147) were supplied by her secretaries with handwritten volume by volume indexes. Because of time limitations, these were transcribed without verification of entries. The unbound official correspondence (Reels 148-163) was separately indexed by date and filed chronologically.

Entries occur in three formats depending on the series. Letters in the personal papers (filed alphabetically) are cited by reel numbers only. Letters in Thomass letterbooks are cited in the following sequence: reel number (Arabic); letterbook number (Roman numerals or alphabetical listings); page number or numbers. Entries for unbound official correspondence (filed chronologically) consist of reel number, the dates or dates of correspondence, and the number of letters to or from that correspondent on that date. In certain cases where it was impossible to insert a numerical indicator to show multiple citations to individual addressees, the reel number has been repeated to represent each separate entry. In the index, each separate series of entries (i.e. personal correspondence, letterbooks, unbound official correspondence) is begun on a separate line. Reel numbers are underlined.

Citations to the microfilm should be by reel and frame number, not by index entry. Frame numbers have not been incorporated into the index because the preparation of the index preceded the photographing of the papers.

Key to abbreviations used in the index:

f - following; this is used for letters copied or mounted on the verso when it bears no separate number and for interleaved pages.

fc - between the front cover and manuscript index of a letterbook

p - page

npg - no page given

n.d. - no date