Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Mary Woolley and Jeannette Marks: Life, Love and Letters Exhibit

Mary Woolley and Jeannette Marks were educators and partners who lived and worked at Mount Holyoke College during the early 1900s. Mount Holyoke Archives and Special Collections students have created a physical and online exhibit about their lives and relationship. The letters and photographs in the exhibition will introduce you to their life together, from their first meeting as Wellesley College professor and student to their retirement in upstate New York. Their love and commitment to each other spanned decades and resulted in hundreds of letters exchanged, a forced resignation from the presidency of Mount Holyoke College, and generations of students, staff, and faculty who were influenced by their passions for higher education. Both women have an incredibly important place in the history of the college and world history -- Mary Woolley was the only woman delegate to the World Disarmament Conference in Geneva in 1932! This exhibit exists to showcase their lives: their successes, ever present love for each other, and how they grew as individuals.

Mary Woolley and Jeannette Marks with a dog, circa 1930s

The exhibit is in two formats: physical in the Mount Holyoke Library in the MEWS and in the Archives and Special Collections, on the first floor and basement of Dwight Hall, and online here. The online exhibit has fully transcribed letters, images of the two together, and more information about the time period and historical context.

There will be an exhibit opening February 6th from 4-5pm in the Archives, with a student-led tour and snacks. Come and learn about these two amazing women!


Megan Haaga, Class of 2015, is a student assistant in Archives and Special Collections.

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