Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections
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:
Bound Manuscript Materials (Reels 1-12)
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.
Reel 1: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers: Volumes 1-13. 1853-1874
The volumes microfilmed on Reel 1 afford a vivid and evocative record of Carey Thomas's infancy, childhood, and youth. Comprised of her earliest diaries and notebooks (1864-1878) supplemented by two of her mother's journals, these volumes document in unusual detail the events and influences of Thomas's formative years.
Volumes 1 and 2 are diaries of Mary Whitall Thomas, Carey Thomas's mother. Volume 1 (1853-1883) is essentially a journal of her spiritual and devotional life; its tone is confessional and self-critical, and its fund of factual detail is sparse. Her rebellion against the restrictions of women's lives and her struggle to bring her tastes and aspirations into conformity with the attitudes of her parents and with her own religious beliefs are reflected. The second journal (1857-1876) is a record of the Thomas children's early years and early development. Mary Thomas lovingly chronicles births and deaths, the health, growth, education, recreation and amusement, precocious behavior and remarks, and the personalities and characters of each of her children. A lengthy account of Carey's nearly fatal burn and subsequent convalescence begins with an entry dated January 1864. Although the childhoods of all ten Thomas children are recounted in this volume, it is unusually rich in detail and observation about M. Carey Thomas, the eldest, beginning with her birth and continuing until she was a student at Cornell.
Volume 2, along with a few subsequent volumes, is interspersed with correspondence, in this case letters written to the Thomas children. These letters have been microfilmed where they occur in the volume. In addition, the letters to and from Carey Thomas have been Xeroxed, so that copies could be filed and microfilmed with her incoming and outgoing correspondence.
The first six of M. Carey Thomas's diaries (Volumes 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11) complement her mother's account of her childhood and youth, covering the years 1864-1878. Volumes 4 and 5, which purport to be diaries from her 7th and 8th years, were written by her aunt Hannah Whitall Smith and her mother respectively. They contain brief, somewhat idealized accounts of visits with relatives, her studies, relations with her siblings, and religious activities. The first diary in Thomas's hand (no. 6), a small volume with a handful of entries, begins with the endearing resolution: "I am going to be more gentel to the boys this year; I have asked Heavenly father to help me."
Volumes 8, 10, and 11, written when she was in her early teens, are far more substantive, supplying insight into Thomas's developing personality and temperament. They reflect the conflict between her tomboyishness and her developing intellect as well as her relationships with her friends, parents, siblings. Her feminism as early as her thirteenth year is firmly documented, and her longing for education, independence, and excitement is a theme which recurs and strengthens throughout the succeeding volumes. The widely quoted statement of her feminist goals: "If I ever live and grow up my one aim... shall be and is to show that a woman can learn..." (Feb. 26, 1871) occurs along with other striking statements of the impact on her life of the traditional restrictions on women's activities and options in these volumes.
The remaining volumes on the roll are sentimental and literary. Volume 3, a scrapbook with illustrations, presumably from magazines, glued in, is inscribed "Minnie from Frank" and undoubtedly was put together by Hannah Whitall Smith to cheer the convalescent M. Carey Thomas following her burn in 1864. Volume 7 is made up of poetry written by Carey Thomas including nature poems and poems dedicated to friends. Volume 9, entitled "Notebook of Favorite Poems" is a commonplace book bearing hand copied selections of both prose and poetry. Volume 12 is a list of books read (1873-1882), slightly annotated; and Volume 13 is a transcript of the Howland School Class Supper of June 29, 1874, including the class poem written by M. Carey Thomas.
Reel 2: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers: Volumes 14- 24. 1876-1878
Reel 2 is comprised of eleven volumes consisting of a diary, a literary sketchbook, a cooperative novel, and seven school notebooks.
Of all of Carey Thomas's diaries, the one from 1878-1879 (1885) is the most introspective, the most revealing about her search for a direction in life, and the most explicit description of the emotional pain as well as the personal fulfillment occasioned by her rebellion against the traditions of society. Its cover inscribed with the name "Mr. Gummere," this diary's recurring theme is Thomas's romantic attraction to Frank Gummere, an attachment counterpoised, both in the journal and in life, by a network of stimulating and absorbing feminine friendships. Thomas was forthright in describing the events and emotions of her brief relationship with Gummere as well as the impact her attraction to him had on her studies and her aspirations. She explicitly examines the conflict for women imposed by the necessity to choose between marriage and a career. Along with her account of her friendship with Gummere, this journal also describes the "Friday Evening," a group of young Baltimore women who met together fortnightly for discussions of literary, intellectual, and feminist subjects. Her entries reflect the increasing importance to Thomas of her friendship with intellectual companions, both male and female. At the same time, the diary reveals her increasingly critical attitude toward the personal habits, tastes, and style of living of her Quaker family and their friends. An aspect of this estrangement from her former circles was an agonizing re-examination of her religious beliefs, culminating in professed atheism. The volume concludes with a postscript written in 1885 entreating that the contents remain forever private. This rather cryptic note seems to introduce a new and never completed entry, rather than to apply to the contents at hand.
Volume 21, a literary sketchbook, is a curious volume containing a piece entitled "Sunday Sch Story" and several brief, disjointed sketches, some of which include the names of members of Thomas's family as characters.
A novel, written cooperatively by Mamie Gwinn, Carey Thomas, Julia Rogers, Bessie King, and Mary Garrett -- the core of the "Friday Evening" group -- makes up Volumes 23 and 24. Contributions are in the handwriting of each collaborator, affording a ready contrast of style and imagination.
The seven class notebooks (nos. 14-20) derive from Thomas's studies at Cornell University, 1875-1877. These paperbound notebooks include lecture notes on Latin, Greek, science, calculus, literature, and oratory, often with notes on two or more subjects appearing in a single volume. The name of the professor is usually given as a title to each set of lectures. In all except Volume 16, notes are written from front to back on the recto and from back to front on the verso. In these cases, the first set of notes has been microfilmed in entirety, followed by the second set of notes likewise filmed in its entirety. Volume 16 is more tattered than its fellows, and Volume 17 includes an insert (apparently a Greek examination) which was microfilmed where it occurred.
Reel 3: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers: Volumes 25- 45. 1880-1883
Surviving volumes from M. Carey Thomas's studies in Europe (1880-1883), which consist almost entirely of her University lecture notes and her dissertation in draft and published form, are reproduced on Reel 3. Of the twenty-one volumes, thirteen are comprised of unbound lecture notes written in German. Time and staff limitations did not permit translation and detailed analysis of these notes; they were put in order and divided into separate volumes on the basis of a very cursory examination. Should a series of notes appear to be discontinuous or incomplete, a search should be made through all of this group of papers before concluding that a portion of the notes has indeed been lost.
In addition to the notes in German, there are four volumes of lecture notes in English and French and one account book (no. 26) which contains a detailed record of Thomas's income and expenditures, August 1880 - August 1881.
Notes and drafts of Thomas's thesis survive in Volumes 43 and 44. Volume 43 is very much mutilated by the removal of pages and cuttings, probably for incorporation into a later draft of the thesis. Volume 45 is a printed copy of Thomas's Ph.D. thesis, "Sir Gawayne and the Green Knight...," published in Zurich in 1883.
Reel 4: Carey Thomas Personal Papers: Volumes 46- 74. 1884-1889
Reel 4 begins and ends with address books, both of which contain mostly European addresses. The remaining volumes are notebooks containing miscellaneous book lists and notes for lectures. Only two (no. 72 and no. 73) are dated; the remainder have been assigned the span dates /1885-1895/ because they appear to derive from the time when Carey Thomas was teaching in the English department at Bryn Mawr College. For the most part, both the bibliographies and notes pertain to English literature or to linguistics. Some volumes include notes in Mamie Gwinn's handwriting; Volumes no. 70 and no. 71 are entirely hers.
Reel 5: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers: Volumes 75- 99. 1890-1904
A varied assortment of volumes including seven diaries, two theater books, three memorandum books, a book list, and fourteen account books makes up Reel 5. There is, with the reappearance of diaries in 1890 after a hiatus of eleven years, no resumption of the narrative and introspective style of Thomas's earlier journals. Her diaries on this Reel and throughout the remainder of the collection are strikingly uniform in style and content, or more properly, lack of style and lack of content. Recorded in leather-bound (usually red) volumes with preprinted dates in an annual or five year format, the diaries present a terse and unelaborated record of such aspects of Thomas's personal life as health, visitors, travel, entertainment, moods, diet, appointments, etc. The entries, which are highly irregular and usually brief, yield a record of external events and activities rather than an account of her emotional and intellectual life. Noteworthy entries are rare: Volume 95 (1902) mentions Eleanora Duse's visit to BMC; Volume 97 notes without comment the marriage of Mamie Gwinn and Alfred Hodder.
Volumes 77 and 99 are theater scrapbooks. Volume 77 (1891-1916) is a collection of scripts and playbills of plays in which Thomas had seen Sarah Bernhardt perform. Volume 99 (1904-1920) is a more elaborate and diverse collection of playbills, newspaper clippings, etc. of plays, operas, and concerts Thomas had attended in Europe and the United States. These are often annotated by Thomas providing information about when and where she had seen the production and briefly noting her evaluation of the performers, scripts, etc. Also included in Volume 99 are agenda of conferences of World Peace Organization meetings. The account books, which like the diaries are usually leather-bound, record Thomas's personal expenditures.
Reel 6 : M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers: Volumes 100- 115. 1905-1909
Volumes on Reel 6, consisting of diaries, account books, memorandum books, and appointment calendars, set the pattern of Carey Thomas's twentieth century journals. For each year there is a diary and an account book. For 1907 and 1909 there are also appointment calendars, and for 1906 and 1909, memorandum books. There is as well a diary in a five year format, although it incorporates entries only for the years 1907 and 1909.
Entries of particular interest in the diaries include notes on the visits to Bryn Mawr College of Henry James (no. 101) and Roger Fry (no. 107); the death of Alfred Hodder (no. 107); and Thomas's meeting with President Theodore Roosevelt to invite him to speak at the college on a subject of general interest to women, an invitation which he declined (no. 110). The 1906 and 1907 diaries provide some information about Thomas's problems with the Board of Trustees and their investigation of her administration. The 1906 diary has substantive accounts of the Suffrage Convention in Baltimore, particularly the social activities surrounding the convention.
Reel 7: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers: Volumes 116- 133. 1910-1915
Carey Thomas's diaries, account books, memorandum books, and appointment calendars, 1910-1915, are microfilmed on Reel 7. Diary entries cover Thomas's travels, her fundraising efforts, her suffrage activities, her moods, her health and her day to day social activities and official duties. Thomas's diaries from 1912-1915 give an exhaustive and touching account of Mary Garrett's declining health, her medical treatment, her final illness, and her death on April 3, 1915. Entries following Garrett's death, which are sparse, indicate that Thomas continued to follow her routine of official duties but declined social engagements during a period of mourning. Following the close of the college term, she traveled in the American West and to Japan.
Reel 8: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers: Volumes 134- 150. 1915-1920
Reel 8 begins with a scrapbook of newspaper clippings, most of which concern Mary Garrett's death and Thomas's inheritance of her estate. In addition, there are smaller lots of clippings covering Thomas's political activities and her retirement from the presidency of Bryn Mawr College. These clippings, exceedingly fragile, are mounted in a way that would make microfilming the entire text of some of them difficult or impossible. The clippings in this scrapbook have been gathered from a large number of newspapers, most of which have not been contacted for permission to include their copyrighted materials in this microfilm publication. In order to give the reader examples of the contents and appearance of the volume, a few pages bearing clippings from Philadelphia and Baltimore papers have been photographed.
The remainder of the Reel is comprised of the usual mix of diaries (annual and five year), account books, and appointment calendars. In addition there is an automobile log for 1916 and 1918 (no. 136) and a guest book for Thomas's Atlantic City flat, 1917-1919 (no. 141).
Thomas's 1916 diary (no. 135) contains very brief entries regarding the Public Ledger attack and the investigation of the situation by a special committee of the Board of Trustees. On August 21, 1919 (no. 145) Thomas recorded her hope that Helen H. Taft would be named to succeed her as president of Bryn Mawr. Her 1917 diaries describe a trip to the Orient and briefly note her suffrage and civil defense activities. In general, entries regarding college matters tend to decline in number and those recounting Thomas's moods, travel, health, and visits with family and friends to become more predominant.
Reel 9: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers: Volumes 151- 169. 1921-1925
A Theater Record scrapbook, 1920-1930, with mounted playbills, reviews, concert programs, etc. begins Reel 9. The remainder of the roll is made up of annual and five year diaries, appointment calendars, and account books, which are typical of Thomas's records during her retirement. The diaries and financial accounts chiefly cover her extended foreign travel following her retirement -- Turkey and the Middle East in 1922 and Europe and the Orient in 1923. Frequently during this time, Thomas's travel companion was Georgianna Goddard King, a Bryn Mawr College art history professor. The journals relate the pleasure King's company gave Thomas as well as their frequent quarrels and reconciliations. Other companions included Lucy M. Donnelly, Harry and Josephine Thomas, and Alys Smith Russell.
A November 20, 1923 entry (no. 161) records a dinner with Marion Park which convinced Thomas that the college was in good hands. In early 1924, however, she was afraid that Miss Park intended to close the Carola Woerishoffer Department of Social Economy, a move that would have distressed its founder. After her retirement, Carey Thomas began to smoke and frequently entered her cigarette consumption in her diary.
Reel 10: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers: Volumes 170- 200. 1926-1931
Along with Thomas's annual diaries, five year diaries, personal expense account books, and appointment calendars from 1926-1931, Reel 10 includes several checkbooks and a 1926 diary of Edith Lowber, Carey Thomas's traveling companion during much of the last decade of her life.
As usual, Thomas's diaries are made up of brief notes of her travel and sightseeing, shopping, theater and concerts, companions and visitors, health, correspondence, reading, and work on her autobiography. Travel is a major topic in almost all of Thomas's journals; those on Reel 10 are distinguished by entries of two exceptional travel experiences. In 1928 (no. 180), Thomas and Lowber were in an automobile accident in France in which both were slightly injured. The following April, Thomas flew from Baghdad to Cairo, a flight which she describes briefly in her diary (no. 179).
On January 27, 1928, Thomas noted the death of Marion Reilly, dean of Bryn Mawr College, 1907-1915, in her journal (no. 180) with a brief and appreciative summary of her character and contributions to worthwhile causes.
Reel 11: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers: Volumes 201- 223. 1932-1935
More than half of the volumes surviving from the last four years of Thomas's life are checkbooks, bank books, and receipt books. Apparently she destroyed financial records of these types by schedule, and there is, therefore, an unusually complete body of financial records for the years just prior to her death. These documents, along with Thomas's account books and other surviving records, reflect the financial reverses and strictures she experienced during the depression years at the end of her life.
Her more typical records -- diaries, appointment calendars, etc.-- continue into her final year, but entries become increasingly sparse, irregular, and routine in content. Edith Lowber's death in March of 1934 during Thomas's final trip abroad and her own ill health in 1934 and 1935 are recorded.
Reel 12: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers: Volumes 224- 266. Undated
Undated addressbooks, memorandum books, and checkbooks conclude subseries 1 of M. Carey Thomas's personal papers. The first eight of these volumes (approximately 500 frames) are address books, followed by thirty-three memorandum books (about 650 frames), and two checkbooks.
The address books, which are indexed or alphabetized, are leather-bound and range in size from 3" x 5" to 7" x 9". Interleaved in some of them are sundry letterheads, business cards, envelopes, scraps, etc. bearing personal or business addresses. These have been microfilmed where they occur.
The memorandum books, which are typically very small leather-bound or unbound notebooks, appear to have been used by Thomas for jotting down notes either at home, in the office, or while traveling They include, among other things, the following types of memoranda: book lists, shopping lists, addresses and telephone numbers, lists of things to be done, accounts of expenses, and notes taken during conversations or interviews, including several which were apparently made during interviews with candidates for faculty or staff positions. The reel concludes with two undated checkbooks, one from a French bank, the other American.
M. Carey Thomas Correspondence
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.
Reel 13: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Outgoing Correspondence: William Adair - Hallie Flanagan.
M. Carey Thomas's letters to more than one hundred minor correspondents are microfilmed on Reel 13. Most of the recipients are represented by one or two letters of a highly routine nature: making or breaking appointments, accepting or declining invitations, ordering books, tickets, cigarettes, etc., paying or protesting bills, arranging for foreign letters of credit, recommending individuals and services, responding to requests for contributions to various causes, and conducting other types of personal business.
Among the letters of special note are several which show Thomas's continuing interest in and support for prohibition legislation. Letters to Evangeline Booth, Ella A. Boole, and Gertrude Foster Brown document Thomas's belief in the importance and viability of the "noble experiment." Her support for an international organization of nations is reflected both in a letter to the editor of the Baltimore Sun (1920) urging women to vote against Warren G. Harding because his party had repudiated the League of Nations and in several letters (1925-28) to Charles C. Bauer regarding the League of Nations Non-Partisan Association, of which she was a member. Concerning suffrage and other women's issues, Thomas wrote to the Association of Collegiate Alumnae eloquently calling upon college women to become active in the suffrage campaign, to Moma Check and Carrie Chapman Catt about the College Equal Suffrage League and other suffrage matters, and to Charles Richard Crane (1916) sending a warning to Woodrow Wilson that failure to support women's suffrage unconditionally would be a political mistake. In a very cogent 1924 letter to Mary Anderson, Thomas declared her support for the Equal Rights Amendment arguing that her experience showed that even well intended legislation designed for the protection of women resulted in decreasing the jobs open to them. She added that she would welcome an opportunity to discuss this issue with Anderson and Rose Schneiderman.
Her letters about Bryn Mawr College and the Bryn Mawr School include those to Caroline Chadwick-Collins, Elizabeth King Ellicott, Margaret Thomas Carey, the Bryn Mawr School Board, and Howard Comfort, to whom she wrote announcing John D. Rockefeller's Christmas Eve gift to the college of $80,000.
Family correspondence with Mary Smith Berenson, James Carey, 3rd, who managed her Maryland real estate in the 1920s, and Margaret Thomas Carey is included on this Reel. Perhaps the most personally revealing letters on the Reel are those to Richard Cadbury, 1874-84, in which Thomas discussed her attitude toward marriage, her ambitions, and her delights in travel, art, and literature. The longest run of letters is to D.K. Este Fisher, a Baltimore attorney who handled for Thomas litigation growing out of her inheritance of Mary Garrett's estate, the writing and rewriting of her own will, and other legal matters. Thomas wrote a substantive and illuminating reply to Ray Stannard Baker about Woodrow Wilson, whose biography he was writing. Her several letters to Lucy E. Anthony concern the latter's efforts to sponsor an authorized biography of Anna Howard Shaw.
The Addressee Unknown file, made up of letters whose recipients are not indicated and cannot be inferred includes, among others, a 1906 letter of advice to a prospective tourist in Egypt based upon Thomas's own travel experiences.
Reel 14: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Outgoing Correspondence: Abraham Flexner - H.A. Garfield.
Letters to her youngest sister, Helen Thomas Flexner, constitute the bulk of M. Carey Thomas's letters on Reel 14. A total of eighty-two letters to Helen have been preserved in the Thomas Papers, of which seventy-seven date from the last six years of Carey Thomas's life. In these Thomas recounted family news, work on her autobiography, her health, and her travels, diversions, and avocations. Thomas probably wrote more candidly and more fully to Helen Flexner than to any other person in the 1930s. To her sister she confided her criticisms of the policies and character of Marion E. Park, her disillusionment with democracy as a form of government, and her distress at the necessity of economizing as the depression diminished the value of her real estate and other investments. She shared with Helen her pride in the decision that the Bryn Mawr College library was to be named in her honor and her pleasure in the prospect of participating in the Fiftieth anniversary celebration in 1935. Of the surviving earlier correspondence, a letter of January 5, 1909, in which Thomas explained the reasons for her animosity toward Mamie Gwinn Hodder, which developed after the latter's marriage, is most significant.
A very few letters to Simon, James, and William Welch Flexner are present. Some twenty-seven letters addressed to Abraham Flexner, appealing for donations from the Rockefeller Foundation for the Athens Hostel project, are microfilmed at the beginning of the Reel.
Thomas's letters to John J. Foley about the Deanery, college buildings, and groundskeeping matters are of interest, as are her 1900 letters to Elizabeth Cladwell Fountain providing specific information about the proposed library for presentation to Andrew Carnegie in soliciting a contribution.
Reel 15: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Outgoing Correspondence: Mary Garrett. 1878-1889
The letters Carey Thomas wrote to Mary Garrett during the decade 1878-1889, though infrequent, are generally lengthy, carefully constructed, and filled with detail regarding Thomas's activities, ideas, studies, ambitions, and personal pleasures. Approximately 265 letters are microfilmed on this Reel , ranging from a low of six in 1882 to a high of approximately forty-five in 1889.
This was a period of extraordinary activity and development in Thomas's life: study abroad, the establishment and opening of Bryn Mawr College, the founding of the Bryn Mawr School, and the beginning of the Women's Fund for the benefit of the Johns Hopkins University Medical School.
In the earliest letters, Thomas confided her idealization of the "thought life," her aspirations to travel and study in Europe, and her determination to pursue a career of scholarship with feminist overtones. During the four years she was abroad, Thomas wrote to Garrett fairly regularly, creating a body of letters which affords a description of her life as a student in Germany, her extensive holiday travels, and the evolution of her decision to live the life of an intellectual, a decision ultimately refined to focus on Bryn Mawr College. Her exhilaration at her new experiences and opportunities is explicit: "I have never been so happy." (November 5, 1879). These letters are studded with quotable phrases and sentences expressing her feminism, which was intensified by her observations and experience of the difficulties encountered by women seeking graduate education. The triumph of her own endeavor is expressed in her elated account of November 26, 1882, of her doctoral examination and her summa cum laude degree. The tone of Thomas's letters to Garrett at this time is warm, sympathetic, protective, ingratiating, and constantly reassuring of her affection.
After she returned to the United States, Thomas continued to write very frequently to Mary Garrett, but compared with her earlier style, she now wrote in a more reportorial and less philosophical vein. Having accepted the deanship of Bryn Mawr College, Thomas became absorbed in the challenge of her work and caught up in off-campus interests, spending less time in contemplation and theorizing. A notable exception is to be found in her letters of 1884 in which she frequently wrote of women's education and her evolving personal commitment to excellence as the supreme ideal for Bryn Mawr College.
Though the establishment of the Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore was frequently mentioned, it is not possible to trace the development of the school from the correspondence alone. Carey Thomas's great sense of loss when her mother died in 1888 is movingly conveyed. There are occasional slight references to the JHU Medical School Fund at the end of the Reel.
(Typescripts, the product of an earlier abortive editorial project, occasionally accompany these letters. They have been microfilmed prior to the holographic copy.).
Reel 16: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Outgoing Correspondence: Mary Garrett. January 1890 - August 1892
The frequency of Thomas's letters to Mary Garrett during the first years of the 1890s increased steadily until it reached an almost daily rate, except for those times when one or the other was traveling abroad or when they were together in Baltimore, Bryn Mawr, or elsewhere.
Although this correspondence covers a wide range of topics, the administration and day to day operation of the Bryn Mawr School and the organizational, tactical, and policy decisions of the Johns Hopkins Medical School Fund Committee are of greatest interest. Because of her father's membership on the JHU Board of Trustees, Thomas wrote informatively of Hopkins internal politics, the specific needs of the Medical School, and the probable reaction of the university administration to the offer of a contribution accompanied by such restrictions as those contemplated by the Women's Committee. In October 1891 she wrote that she was convinced President Gilman would rather not open the Medical School than to do so with provision for the admission of women on a basis of equality with men. In December of the same year, she sent a draft of a letter to Garrett for the latter to transmit to the JHU Board of Trustees reaffirming her earlier offer of $100,000 for the medical school.
Although the growing strain and final rupture of the long-standing friendships of some of the women jointly engaged in the Medical School Fund and the Bryn Mawr School are evidenced, the actual disputes and differences of opinion can rarely be fully reconstructed from this correspondence. Some details are manifest. In March 1890 Thomas wrote to Garrett bitterly complaining that the latter's reliance on the legal advice of William Frick, father of Robert Garrett's wife, regarding the incorporation of the school was creating a serious threat to their friendship. More often, however, Thomas's attacks were directed against Bessie King or Julia Rogers, both of whom she accused of character defects as well as mistaken judgment regarding the school and the fund. Although it is clear that Thomas was gratified by Rogers's eventual resignation from the BMS committee, she did not regard with complacency the ill will between Mary Garrett and Mamie Gwinn which surfaced during committee meetings. She repeatedly urged Garrett to be friendlier and more fore-bearing in her relations with Gwinn.
In addition to "business," i.e. BMS & Medical School Fund, Thomas commented on the music of Wagner and the acting of Sarah Bernhardt (March 1891); the writing of Byron and Shelley (January 1891), Emily Dickinson (January 1892), and Henry James (March 1892); and the art of Rossetti (April 1891). She reported, usually with little description or comment, her meetings with Dr. Mary Putnam-Jacobi (March 1890), Horace Howard Furness (February 1891), President James M. Taylor of Vassar (March 1891), Andrew White and H.W. Sage (June 1891), Lady Henry Somerset (November 1891), and President Charles W. Eliot of Harvard (January and March 1892). Her record of important events at the college includes reports of a meeting with Ume Tsuda and others in February 1891 resulting in the establishment of the Japanese Fellowship Committee, the organization of the Student Self-Government in December 1891, and the confidential announcement of Dr. Rhoads in March 1892 that he would resign in June of the following year.
Thomas frequently expressed concern about Garrett's health, particularly during the latter's extended residence in Europe between June of 1891 and October 1892. Writing in April 1892, Thomas objected to the advice of Dr. Putnam-Jacobi and other doctors who had recommended marriage as a remedy for Garrett's health problems. She cited her own excellent health as proof that celibacy was not inimical to health.
Reel 17: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Outgoing Correspondence: Mary Garrett. September 1892 - December 1893
The subject of transcendent importance in the correspondence on Reel 17 was the protracted debate within the Bryn Mawr College Board of Trustees about whether or not M. Carey Thomas should be named president of the college. Although she did not attend Trustees' meetings, Thomas learned the substance of their discussions from friends and relatives on the Board, and her letters to Garrett provide a running account of the deliberations along with commentary on the strategies and machinations of both her supporters and her enemies. She wrote of the objection of some members to her appointment solely on the ground of her being a woman. In response she warned that if a cipher were appointed over her in order to keep the presidency in male hands, she would sever her relationship with the college. In March she wrote a joyful and grateful acceptance when Garrett proposed to offer a gift to the college of $10,000 annually conditional upon Thomas's appointment and payable during her tenure. On November 17, 1893 Thomas was able at last to notify Garrett that she had been elected president by the Trustees. She anticipated that at least two members of the Board would resign as result of her appointment, and she expected that she might be named to fill the seat of one of them. In the same month, Thomas reported the first important use to be made of the Garrett gift fund -- the purchase of the Sauppe Library, a collection of classics, from a German bookseller for $5,000. The Hopkins Medical School fund, Thomas's administrative routine, and Garrett's ill health are subjects continuing from earlier correspondence. The Columbian World Exposition in Chicago and Thomas's health, which suffered under the strain of the long debate regarding her appointment, are new topics.
Reel 18: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Outgoing Correspondence: Mary Garrett. January 1894 - March 1895
The recurrent theme of correspondence on Reel 18 is Carey Thomas's advice to Mary Garrett about her health, her business, and her family relations. Not only did she offer specific and general suggestions about regimens and treatments that Garrett should follow to improve her health, Thomas also advised her explicitly about business matters, suggesting that she should divest herself of her holdings in the B. & O. Railroad and in Robert Garrett & Sons. She responded sympathetically, moreover, to Garrett's confidences regarding the growing breach with her sisters-in-law, which seems to have arisen chiefly over financial matters.
Thomas's election as president had not ended her suspense and frustration concerning her role at Bryn Mawr. Although she wanted to be elected to the Board of Trustees, she withdrew her name from consideration on the advice of friends who warned her that her candidacy would prove embarrassingly weak.
Thomas complained to Garrett about the time-consuming nature of her supervision of construction of Pembroke dormitory and the frustrations of other aspects of college administration -- physical plant upkeep, budget, burglars on the campus (May and June 1894), and loss of faculty. In February 1895, she wrote of her tentative selection, upon the recommendation of William James, of a brilliant and charming young philosopher, Alfred Hodder.
Reel 19: M. Carey. M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Letters to Mary Garrett. April 1895 - August 1896
Writing to Mary Garrett in May 1895, M. Carey Thomas reported that Alfred Hodder's dissertation had been turned down at Harvard University and his degree would be delayed, an exasperating development but one that did not alter her evaluation of his ability. As the year progressed, however, her comments about Hodder became cooler as she observed with apprehension Mamie Gwinn's growing attachment for the young philosopher and his wife. By December she had concluded: "...the Hodders were born to cause trouble."
An even more persistent theme in the letters microfilmed on Reel 19 than the mutual attraction between Mamie Gwinn and the Hodders (particularly Alfred) was provided by the various personal and financial problems Mary Garrett was experiencing. The death of her brother Robert in July 1896, her own poor health, and her deteriorating relations with her sisters-in-law and nephews inspired sympathy and advice in roughly equal measures. Moreover, a new topic -- Garrett's determination to gain access to the financial records of her father's estate and ultimately to force a division of the property among the heirs -- is introduced on this Reel. In this endeavor, she retained as legal counsel Robert deForest in New York City and Judge William Fisher in Baltimore. Thomas's letters are studded with comments on their advice and with her own recommendations, opinions, and admonitions. The breach with her nearest relatives was clearly painful to Garrett, and her anxieties about her financial situation were oppressive. In March 1896 Thomas found it necessary to pass on Judge Fisher's warning that, because of her extremely reduced style of living, Garrett was developing a reputation in Baltimore as being an eccentric with delusions of poverty.
Thomas's pattern of writing Garrett fully about her thoughts and personal reactions to every sort of situation, as well as reporting to her the details of her daily routine and personal relations afford insight into the problems she encountered as president of Bryn Mawr College. Chief among these was the growing tension created by a conflict between her supreme goal of academic excellence and freedom and the Trustees' devotion to the ideal of the founder as expressed in his will -- an institution where Quaker students would find an environment and instruction compatible with the beliefs and practices of their sect. Furthermore, the dichotomy between the extreme conventionality imposed upon Carey Thomas as head of a nineteenth century women's college and her own more liberal views is illustrated by a series of letters of May 1895. In them she described her great alarm upon learning that students had been swimming nude in the college pool and her later satisfaction that they had voluntarily given up the practice through her persuasion and the intervention of the Student Self-government Her summary conclusion, in which both the college official and the private woman speak, captures the unresolved duality arising out of her duty and her personality: "If it (the nude bathing) were to become public knowledge it would do us more harm than anything I can think of but there is really no harm in it."
Thomas traveled in Europe in the summer of 1895 from whence she wrote interesting letters comparing the artistry of Eleanor Duse and Sarah Papers of M. Carey Thomas
Reel Listing 11 Bernhardt and describing visits with Hannah Whitall Smith, Lady Henry Mount Temple, and Vernon Lee. The following summer she was invalided by an operation for the removal of an ovarian tumor and convalesced in a cottage in Montauk, New York, rented by Mary Garrett.
Reel 20: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Letters to Mary Garrett. September 1896 - December 1897
The time spanned by letters on Reel 20 was marked by controversies and frustrations for Carey Thomas in her administration of the college and by grief and strain in her personal life.
Her continual disagreements with the Board of Trustees heated up in the fall of 1896 over the issues of the budget deficit and, more critically, the Trustees' determination to make the Christian commitment of the college more explicit in its publications and policies. In March 1897 Thomas reported that two members of the Board had "pitched into" her because she would not agree to censor and limit students' purchases of books. The wording of a statement on religion for the college program became a pivotal issue in the debate over the future direction of the college. After a great deal of fractiousness and personal criticism of Thomas by some of the Trustees, a compromise statement was adopted in April.
A visit of Bertrand and Alys Smith Russell to the campus in December 1896 and their lectures to the student body provoked criticism from conservative parents, leaving Thomas with the difficult task of explaining and defending the "socialist" and "liberated" theories of her guests. The Student Self-government created a problem in May 1897 when it proposed to expel fifteen students for smoking. Thomas's intervention resulted in softer penalties. The faculty contributed to President Thomas's season of discontent by its selections of European fellows in March 1897. According to Thomas's report of the matter, Georgianna G. King, the ablest candidate, was passed over because she had written an unpopular article for The Fortnightly Philistine, a college publication. It should be noted that, although Thomas rarely mentioned individual students in her letters to Garrett, she regularly announced fellowship awards, usually adding her opinion as to whether the faculty had made the "right" choice.
The turmoil of the college year was complemented by distress in Thomas's personal life. Her sister Grace Worthington was divorced by her husband in 1896 and accepted a financial settlement which Carey Thomas thought was foolishly inadequate. Without Grace's knowledge and against her express wishes, Thomas consulted Garrett's Baltimore attorney, Judge William Fisher, about the matter. Out of the publicity surrounding the divorce came a new attack against President Thomas. It was asserted that if she shared an opinion imputed to Grace -- that frequent and numerous pregnancies were a "degradation" to women -- she could not be considered a suitable administrator for a women's college.
The death of her father in November 1897 was a loss to Thomas professionally as well as personally, for he had been her loyal and active supporter in the Board of Trustees throughout her career at Bryn Mawr.
To escape from her cares, Thomas spent the summer of 1897 traveling with Mamie Gwinn in Spain. Her letters to Mary Garrett contain reassurances of her good health and descriptions of the scenery, paintings, and architecture she was enjoying.
Reel 21: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Letters to Mary Garrett. January 1898 - March 1899
Correspondence on Reel 21 is a fruitful source of information about Carey Thomas's interaction with the student body and her attitudes toward their problems. In January 1898 she observed to Garrett that the Bryn Mawr students were overworked and were becoming ill as a result. She decided in April 1898 to dismiss all of the mistresses of halls in response to students' complaints about food served in dormitory dining rooms. A quarrel between a pair of roommates, one Jewish and one Christian, resulted in Thomas's moving both, in order to resolve the problem without the appearance of favoritism (October 1898). During the same month she wrote that professors in charge of the entrance examinations had become too demanding and that she did not know how to check this tendency. In December 1898 President Thomas supported the Student Self- Government's authority to suspend students from classes against the express objections of the faculty. In March of the following year she seems once again to have sided with the student government against the faculty in the matter of whether or not residents of Low Buildings, a rooming house maintained on campus for women of the faculty and staff, should be forbidden to smoke. In other contexts Low Buildings appears frequently as a subject in the correspondence on this Reel.
Thomas noted briefly visits to the campus of Beatrice and Sidney Webb, William James, and George Santayana. She continued to advise Garrett about her private life, personal business, and health. At this time Thomas herself was suffering from pain and weakness in her leg, the delayed result of her childhood burn. This was treated with heat at Bryn Mawr Hospital and in August 1898 by baths at Hot Springs, Virginia. Among the many very routine topics which occur repeatedly in her letters to Garrett, Thomas's chronicles of the antics of her pet Maine coon cat, Governor Huff, are perhaps the most engaging.
Although Thomas's letters to Garrett at this time rarely include reflective or introspective comments, she wrote in February 1898 that she had been "stirred to the depth by my women's rights reading. I feel as if I never could give up the struggle ... while these poor slaves were in chains."
Reel 22: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Outgoing Correspondence: Mary Garrett. April 1899 - August 1990
To a marked degree, M. Carey Thomas's activities as a head of a college among her peers are documented in correspondence on Reel 22. In June she traveled to New England with Mamie Gwinn, describing for Mary Garrett a visit with President James Taylor at Vassar and a speech she made at Cornell University. In October, she attended the inauguration of President Arthur Twining Hadley at Yale University and took part in the ceremonies at the inauguration of Caroline Hazard as president of Wellesley. The repercussions of the latter event echo throughout this Reel , for President Charles W. Eliot of Harvard, another of the speakers, used the occasion to assert that the success of the concept of higher education for women had not yet been proven and women's capacity for undertaking college work without harmful results had not been demonstrated. Commenting on these remarks, Thomas wrote to Garrett that Eliot had disgraced himself. On October 6 in her welcoming address to Bryn Mawr students, she answered Eliot's speech. Her colorful rebuttal attracted wide attention and the following month she confided that she was distressed at the national coverage her remarks were receiving.
In a November letter she described the presentation to the college of her portrait by John Singer Sargent, which had been painted the previous summer. Scattered throughout her letters at this time are quotations of the praises which the portrait received. Beginning in November 1899 and continuing through the following March, Thomas frequently referred to a monograph on women's education which she was preparing as part of a series of studies of education in the United States under the editorship of Nicholas M. Butler. In addition she discussed preparations for a Bryn Mawr College exhibit at the Paris Exposition of 1900, the activities of the Naples Table, and personalities and undertakings of the Association of Collegiate Alumnae, particularly its efforts to publish a statistical report on the health of women college graduates.
As always, she wrote repeatedly about faculty recruitment. In March and April she described the difficulties created by the decision not to grant any raises in salaries to the faculty which caused them, she reported, to behave "unreasonably." When economist Lindley M. Keasbey announced that he was expected to be called to a more lucrative appointment in New York, she complained: "I am tired of being the nursing mother of the famous scholars of this country."
Although Thomas in her letters to Mary Garrett did not fully confide the anxiety caused her by the liaison between Mamie Gwinn and Alfred Hodder, she noted in June 1900 that she had had several quarrels with Mamie. As a modus vivendi, Gwinn, who wanted only to continue the affair, promised to do so discreetly. Though Thomas clearly would have been happy to see the attachment broken, she concluded, "I cannot possibly desert her." Routine accounts of daily activities, her health, entertainment, and diversions, etc., and comments on Garrett's business, moods, health, and activities continue.
Reel 23: M. Carey. M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Letters to Mary Garrett. September 1900 - March 1902
M. Carey Thomas's reports of college business on Reel 23 are a mixture of good and bad news, of trivial and sobering events, of future hopes and present losses. Personally she seems to have been often depressed and disgruntled.
In October 1900 she reported that a speech she had made at Smith College went well, that enrollment at Bryn Mawr College was up, and that the finances of the college seemed in good shape. In the same month, however, the father of an expelled student appealed for a hearing before the Board of Trustees, posing a potential challenge to Thomas's authority. In December of that year the college was threatened with a typhoid epidemic, and in November 1901 two workmen on campus contracted smallpox, necessitating emergency vaccination of the faculty and student body. The following month brought new troubles: Thomas recorded with distress the insanity of a student and the outbreak of a series of thefts in Denbigh dormitory. The most costly loss experienced by the college to that date occurred in March 1902 when Denbigh was gutted by fire. Thomas related this occurrence and its aftermath in some detail.
In spite of difficulties in matters of student health and safety, a major fund raising campaign was going well. This success was principally owing to John D. Rockefeller's pledge of funds to build a dormitory and power plant, a gift that was announced in December 1901.
There is a grumbling tone in many of Thomas's personal messages to Mary Garrett at this time. She complained that Garrett gave too much time and energy to the care of her two spinster aunts and her invalid brother. Thomas's frequent references to the Bryn Mawr School reveal disagreements among the Managers on a number of issues, including the policy of non-admission of Jews. With obvious annoyance, Thomas scolded Garrett about her lack of sensible and regular care for her health. Repeatedly she apologized for having quarreled and been cross after they had visited together.
Reel 24: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Letters to Mary Garrett. April 1902 - February 1904
The increasingly complex and vexing nature of the presidency of Bryn Mawr College is evidenced in correspondence on Reel 24. Although a major fund raising and building program was in progress, Thomas seems, judging from her letters to Mary Garrett, to have found herself embroiled at the same time in many petty concerns.
On behalf of the building program drive she traveled to Chicago and Pittsburgh and undertook other fund raising. She reported to Garrett the substance of her consultations with Austin D. Houghton, John D. Rockefeller's representative who was overseeing the construction of the dormitory and power plant. When questions arose about the amount of his pledge and the way it was to be expended, she met with Rockefeller himself. Her relations with the Board of Trustees became strained anew as the budget deficit mounted, threatening a reduction of faculty salaries and the closing of departments. Individual members of the Board opposed her on a myriad of issues, objecting, for example to accepting money which had been raised by sponsorship of theatricals and to the singing of the "pagan" college hymn in chapel on Founder's Day. Among the Board of Trustees, Henry Tatnall appears as Thomas's most frequent and hostile opponent, along with John B. and Philip C. Garrett. At various times Thomas also mentioned problems with the faculty. In February 1904, a new concern developed: the alumnae, she wrote, were joined in battle over whether or not they should actively involve themselves in the administration of the college, an interference which she would by no means welcome.
Because of a coal strike, the college faced a possible shortage of fuel for the winter. Although purely political comments are rather rare in her letters to Mary Garrett, Thomas denounced Theodore Roosevelt's action in trying to persuade the coal mine operators to meet with union leaders in this crisis.
In April 1903, Thomas participated in a Southern Education Conference in Richmond, Virginia, recounting details of the trip and meetings to Garrett. In December 1903 she entertained William B. Yeats at the Deanery, characterizing his lectures as charming and the poet himself as "very nice & romantic & visionary." In January and February 1904, Mary and Bernard Berenson visited Thomas.
Carey Thomas complained constantly that she was behind in her work and that she was tired. She was concerned also about her friend's financial situation, for the Maryland Trust Company, with which Mary Garrett had sizable deposits, failed, and several of her rental properties were destroyed in the Baltimore fire of February 1904.
Reel 25: M. Carey. M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Letters to Mary Garrett. March 1904 - December 1912
The year 1904 brought a major change in M. Carey Thomas's personal life, resulting in the reduction of the flow of her correspondence to Mary Garrett to a trickle. In April of that year Thomas announced to Garrett that Mamie Gwinn, her housemate of twenty-five years, planned to marry Alfred Hodder. Of the engagement she wrote (May 31): "I believe that she is walking into such a disaster that it wrings my heart." Following Gwinn's marriage in June, Garrett moved into the Deanery. Thereafter she received letters from Thomas only on the infrequent occasions when they were apart.
In scattered letters in February, March, and April 1905, Thomas described problems of renewed faculty demand for salary increases and of new interference by the alumnae in the policy of the college. Following his appointment as president of Princeton University, she wrote, "Of course, now Woodrow Wilson is after all our men. What shall we do?" (April 14, 1905)
Although the background of the 1906 crisis with the Trustees is not set forth, Thomas wrote in May that the Board had behaved shockingly about the faculty report, announcing their intention to investigate every complaint. By June she was writing in a more positive vein of support for her cause expressed by certain Trustees, though she was still uncertain about whether or not she would remain at Bryn Mawr College. She reported in October that she had prepared a statement for the Board and that she had been assured by the Trustees that she would have a fair opportunity to defend herself. She concluded: "I am sure I am right." In the same month she announced that a bigamy suit had been brought against Hodder. She was determined, she added, that she would not under any circumstances testify against Mamie.
Thomas attended the inauguration of President Abbott Lawrence Lowell of Harvard and an Association of American Alumnae convention in Cincinnati in October 1909. At the end of 1909 and the beginning of 1910 she made several "begging" (the term she used for fund raising) trips, which left her discouraged and depressed.
There is quite a bit of correspondence from 1912. Mary Garrett was hospitalized at the Johns Hopkins hospital in April, and Thomas made several trips to New York, Boston, and Chicago later in the year. The women's movement and its leading personalities are the subject of much of this correspondence. Jane Addams and Anna Howard Shaw, two of Thomas's closest allies in the movement, figure prominently in her letters.
Reel 26: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Letters to Mary Garrett. 1913 - Undated
Carey Thomas's letters to Mary E. Garrett are concluded on Reel 26. Undated items appear at the end of the dated correspondence. These, comprising approximately eighty-five undated telegrams and letters, are for the most part purely social in content.
The most important subject of Thomas's letters to Garrett in 1913 and 1914 is the suffrage movement. Whenever Garrett or Thomas separately attended suffrage meetings or conventions, she commented to the other on the activities, debates, and personalities involved. In addition, Thomas wrote to Garrett about current suffrage affairs during the latter's hospitalizations and other absences from the Deanery. Because of this, the Reel is a rich source of Thomas's opinions and observations about suffrage leaders and strategies.
Garrett's deteriorating health, which rendered her practically an invalid and resulted in her hospitalization at the Johns Hopkins Hospital for rather lengthy terms, colors almost all of Thomas's letters at this time. Her sympathy, concern, and devotion, as well as her efforts to brighten her friend's days with hope and cheer, are manifest. To keep Garrett in touch with events at Bryn Mawr when she was absent, Thomas supplied news and gossip about college events, the faculty, her family and herself.
Reel 27: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Outgoing Correspondence: Michael Garrett - Millicent Carey McIntosh.
Letters addressed to nearly a hundred different recipients touching on a number of highly important subjects appear on this Reel. Carey Thomas's letters to several of these correspondents concern matters of feminist interest. She wrote to Virginia Gildersleeve regarding the Athens Hostel and to Elizabeth Kirkbride about the Association of Collegiate Alumnae. In a 1929 letter to Ida H. Harper, Thomas stated that she found the latter's manuscript biography of Anna H. Shaw unsatisfactory and advised her not to have it published. She couched the letter in tactful terms, however, and was evidently attempting to allay the friction which had arisen between Harper and Lucy Anthony about this undertaking. In 1912, on the other hand, Thomas was deeply and bitterly engaged as a principal in a controversy with Laura D. Gill, as her letters to Gill clearly demonstrate.
Apparently some or all of Thomas's letters to William Halsted (thirteen letters) and Samuel Arthur King (fourteen letters), two men for whom she had a high regard and a warm personal attachment, were returned to her after their deaths. The letters to Halsted pertain to medical, suffrage, and personal matters; those to King regard May Day arrangements, his contracts with the college, elocution classes at the college as well as her personal lessons with him, and his critiques of public addresses, including Thomas's.
Following her retirement, Thomas intermittently addressed to the president's secretary Dorothy MacDonald requests for data about the history of Bryn Mawr College, for information of the whereabouts of the college's archival records, and for the return of personal effects which had been left at the college. To Susan Kingsbury she communicated encouragement and advice about the Carola Woerishoffer Department of Social Research and the Summer School for Women Workers in Industry. In 1930 she invited Lou Henry Hoover to serve on the selection committee for the M. Carey Thomas Award and to make the presentation of the prize.
The largest lot of letters on the Reel , addressed to James B. Longacre, concern Thomas's personal insurance policies and claims and her will, of which he was named an executor.
There are four letters to Mamie Gwinn Hodder, one written after her marriage seeking directions for the disposition of her personal property left at the Deanery. In a charming 1903 letter to William James, Thomas first disputes his evaluation of the worth of academic degrees as credentials for college professors, then praises his Varieties of Religious Experience, and finally invites him to speak at Commencement and to be her guest at the Deanery.
The Reel concludes with Thomas's letters to a favorite niece, Millicent Carey McIntosh regarding, most importantly, the younger woman's plans for and progress in her education and her career. These letters are of particular interest in revealing Thomas's relations with a young person of college and graduate school age. Although she devoted her career to the interests of these groups, the collection affords little documentation on which to evaluate her rapport with them.
Reel 28: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Outgoing Correspondence: Isabel Maddison - Elizabeth Shepley Sergeant.
Microfilmed on Reel 28 are M. Carey Thomas's letters to the woman she would have liked to have made her protégé and successor, Helen Taft Manning, and to the one who eventually was chosen to follow her as president of Bryn Mawr College, Marion Edwards Park. Her letters to both are informative and revealing. Her thirty-four letters to Manning (1917-1935) unite discussion of official college business - both before and after Thomas's retirement - with warm, unguarded personal messages. College matters treated most frequently and fully are the selection of the new president, college buildings and grounds, and Board of Directors' business. Personal topics include health, travel, religion, feminist interests, friendship, etc. The ornament of this group is a letter written on April 17, 1920, in response to Helen's announcement of her engagement. In a long, agitated, intensely personal letter, Thomas unveiled much of her own life, her attitude toward marriage, and her unwavering feminism.
Her letters to Marion Park (177 items) by contrast are usually formal and businesslike. Most regard college matters: the Olmsted Plan for the campus, and other buildings and grounds matters; the Summer School for Women Workers in Industry; Low Buildings; the College Inn; the Manship bust of Thomas; the Phebe Anna Thorne School; the M. Carey Thomas award; and the Fiftieth Anniversary celebration. In the early 1930s, under the pretext of putting her estate in order, Thomas withdrew her investments in college property and called in a $15,000 loan, inherited from Mary Garrett, which the latter had advanced for the building of the infirmary. (Note: The Marion E. Park Papers in the BMC Archives have been searched for Thomas materials; numerous letters from that collection are included in this group. They have not been separately targeted since it is expected that the microfilm itself will be cited without reference to distinctive parent collections.)
Elucidation of some of the crucial events in Carey Thomas's career may be found in her letters to James E. Rhoads and David Scull. To Rhoads she wrote a lengthy treatise in 1893 stating her intention to resign if she were not named president, citing her sacrifices for and contributions to the college, and arguing that the appointment of someone else as president would constitute a vote of lack of confidence in her leadership. This letter is accompanied by a rough draft almost entirely in the handwriting of Mamie Gwinn. Whether it was composed by Gwinn or dictated to her is impossible to determine. Writing to Scull in the same year, Thomas asserted that the faculty fully supported her candidacy. Some, she added, had threatened to resign if an unsatisfactory appointment were made. During the little-documented 1906 crisis Thomas requested of Scull that she be fully apprised of the charges of untruthfulness and poor administration which had been secretly brought against her and that she be allowed to appear before the Trustees to defend herself.
Copies of some of Thomas's letters to John D. Rockefeller, Jr. regarding his father's contributions to the campus building program are present. There are a handful of letters to Alys Smith Russell and one to Edith Finch Russell. Interesting correspondence with Elizabeth Shepley Sergeant regarding a biographical sketch of Thomas she proposed to write for Harper's Magazine concludes the Reel. Thomas provided Sergeant with information and corrected her draft before withdrawing her permission and cooperation because she feared a possible adverse effect on the sale of her projected autobiography. The Reel begins with Thomas's correspondence with longtime assistant to the president, Isabel Maddison, with whom Thomas, when she moved from the Deanery, made plans for the destruction of the bulk of her personal papers (February 3, 1934).
Reel 29: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Outgoing Correspondence: Anna Howard Shaw - Frederick A. Thayer.
M. Carey Thomas's correspondence on Reel 29 is highlighted by her letters to a girlhood friend, her favorite aunt, and her closest associates within the suffrage movement.
Her sixty-three letters to Anna M. Shipley document her romantic attachments, her religious doubts and beliefs, her studies and ambitions. They are particularly rich in information about Cornell, where she reported co-education was a success with the co-eds living under rules and regulations of their own making. She confided to Anna her wish to change her name, adding that her choice, Miriam, had been vetoed by her father who suggested the use of "M. Carey" instead (August 11, 1875).
Thomas's letters to her aunt Hannah Whitall Smith, whom she regarded as a mentor, are deferential, complimentary, and grateful in expression. She wrote to Smith of her ambitions for Bryn Mawr College and her unwavering devotion to the CAUSE, as she always referred to feminist concerns in her letters to her aunt.
To her older cousin Frank Smith, Carey wrote (1868-1872) accounts of her studies, her activities, her amusements, etc., emphasizing her pleasure in outdoor sports and her ambition to acquire a first rate education.
Thomas's three letters each to Anna Howard Shaw and Ray Strachey pertain to both suffrage matters and personal news. Additional letters to Shaw are to be found in Thomas's personal letterbooks.
To Caroline Slade, Thomas wrote about the management of the Deanery and other Bryn Mawr College matters, occasionally asking Slade to interfere specifically in college administration and policy in support of Thomas's points of view. She wrote to both Slade and Hilda Worthington Smith about the Summer School for Women Workers in Industry, in which she retained a deep and active interest.
Reel 30: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Outgoing Correspondence: Allen Thomas - Martha G. Thomas.
M. Carey Thomas's letters to nineteen Thomases, almost all of them close relatives, are microfilmed on Reel 30. By far the largest groups are those addressed to Henry M. Thomas, Sr., Carey's brother, and to her father, James Carey Thomas.
Carey wrote confidentially and informatively to Harry Thomas about matters which touched her most closely. There are, therefore, among her more than 150 letters to him (1901-1924) numerous uniquely personal revelations. As examples, she disclosed her mixed feelings regarding Mamie Gwinn's marriage (July 10, 1904), her regret at Dean Marion Reilly's resignation, the history of Evangeline Andrews's animosity toward Thomas (both February 21, 1916), and her awareness of Edith Hamilton's bitterness following her dismissal as headmistress at the Bryn Mawr School (Spring 1922). Thomas wrote to Harry also about her health, family matters, her travels, and current events. These letters embody a great deal of her egotism and an unconscious and blatant expression of her elitism: "I thought thee meant a real person not a maid when thee asked who was going with me" (July 7, 1922).
Thomas's letters to her father, James Carey Thomas, are far fewer than to her mother, the principal recipient of her family letters. From Cornell and Germany, she described her friends, her classes, her professors, etc. She recounted the debate among German authorities regarding admission of women to University programs in a letter of February 29, 1880. In September 1883 she asked her father's advice about seeking appointment as president of Bryn Mawr College, admonishing him at the same time that if her candidacy were mentioned to him, he should not treat it as a whim but as worthy of serious consideration.
Thomas's letters to her nephew Henry M. Thomas, Jr. about his studies and medical practice and her ailments and medications derive from the last dozen years of her life. She wrote to her brother Frank (37 items, 1901- 1935) about family news and business, her private investments, the financial difficulties of various family members during the depression, and of her efforts to assist them as far as she could.
Only a few items survive from each of the other recipients on this Reel. One of Thomas's letters to her niece-in-law, Dr. Caroline Bedell Thomas, is notable because of the proud and characteristic phrase with which it begins: "In my role of feminist...".
Reel 31: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Outgoing Correspondence: Mary Whitall Thomas. 1871-1881
Carey Thomas's letters to her mother from a crowded, critical decade in her life appear on Reel 31. Beginning with the youthful, homesick vacation letters of a schoolgirl and concluding with the missives of a graduate student in a foreign university, this correspondence embodies the most voluminous and comprehensive recording of events and transitions in Carey Thomas's life at this time. In these letters, which are loving, respectful, and unguarded, Thomas appears to have been trying, through the powers of her descriptions and the fullness of her accounts, to enable her mother to share the studies and travels which she herself found so rewarding.
Approximately the first two hundred derive from the years before Carey Thomas went abroad. Written for the most part from Howland and Cornell, they record Carey's courses, friendships, outings, etc. She often had to ask for additional money to meet her expenses for necessities and diversions. There are recurrent references from Cornell of her care to avoid mixed gatherings, a restriction which she referred to in one letter as a sacrifice (February 26, 1876).
The length and volume of Carey's letters to her mother increased greatly when she departed Baltimore to study in Germany in 1879. (Note: Carey's 1879 letters to her mother recounting the trip to Europe and her early experiences there are preserved in a notebook in Mary Whitall Thomas's handwriting. The originals were probably circulated among other branches of the Thomas and Whitall families. Whether or not they are extant is not known.)
Although there are a few scattered references to homesickness in Carey Thomas's letters from Germany, they are characterized much more pervasively by evidence of high spirits, the excitement of intellectual stimulation, exultation in the pleasures of art, scenery, travel, etc. She described in great detail all aspects of her life. From Leipzig she discussed her courses, her professors, her daily routine, her aspirations, her quarters, her meals. Having found herself living a life that seemed to satisfy all her wishes, she reiterated her longing to be personally and financially independent: "Thee & father will have to make up your minds to the fact of my old maidship ..." (February 15, 1880); "Want of money seems to me a most hopeless thing. I want it more than anything else in the world ..." (December 29, 1880), "I do long for every girl to have the choice of a free single life instead of being forced into matrimony as a livelihood" (February 19, 1881).
Carey occasionally commented on American political events and on women's suffrage (November 21, 1880; October 8, 1881; December 4, 1881), but the overwhelming impression conveyed by these letters is that of happy, unregretful expatriation.
Reel 32: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Outgoing Correspondence: Mary Whitall Thomas - Young People of the Bridesburg M.E. Church. 1882-1888
The alphabetical sequence of M. Carey Thomas's personal outgoing mail is concluded on Reel 32. It begins with approximately 125 letters to Mary Whitall Thomas, 1882-1888, continuing Thomas's correspondence with her mother begun on the previous Reel.
Carey Thomas began the year 1882 ebulliently optimistic about her as yet uncharted career, writing to her mother on January 28, "I expect to shoot up like a rocket some day & cover thee with stars." Thereafter her moods vacillated as she contemplated the various possibilities for her future, fretting in particular about what Bryn Mawr College might become and whether or not she was likely to find it congenial (January 30, 1883; May 11, 1883; November 1, 1883). As are those on the preceding Reel, these letters are replete with expressions of feminist commitment. On February 12, 1882, she wrote that she would be more useful to women's rights in her chosen field than she could be in suffrage work, since she considered intellectual rights even more important than political rights.
In all of her letters to her mother from abroad, Carey Thomas carefully accounted for her expenditures, often coupling statements of her expenses with requests for additional funds. In her desire to prolong her time in Europe, Carey took courses at the Sorbonne, studied languages, and traveled for a year after the successful completion of her doctorate. In her petitions to her mother for continued support abroad and in her delineation of the style in which she expected to be accommodated after returning home, she often seems self-centered and demanding.
From her return to the United States until 1888, the year of her mother's death, Carey wrote to her infrequently, usually when she was traveling either on business or vacation. During the final year of Mary Whitall's life, when she was known to be terminally ill with cancer, Carey wrote more regularly, revealing, as in all her letters, her deep devotion to and limitless admiration for her mother.
The Reel concludes with letters to forty-five recipients. Among them are relatives: John Mickle Whitall, Mary Tatum Whitall, and Harold, Grace, and Mary Worthington; Bryn Mawr College Trustees: Thomas Raeburn White, Asa S. Wing, and James Wood; reformers and suffrage activists: Mary van Casteel, Mary van Kleek, Beatrice Potter Webb, Lilian Welsh, Emma Wold, and Mary Woolley; and a personal friend: Margaret Hicks Volkmann. Thomas's letters to her nephew and niece, Harold and Mary Worthington, numbering about forty altogether, show her friendship with, as well as guidance of, members of a younger generation. Her letters to Mary are supportive of her ambition for a medical career, informative about mutual interests, and, after her niece was stricken with a fatal illness while in medical school, sympathetic, cheering, and kind. Carey Thomas's letters to Harold are about rather routine matters except for one of June 29, 1923, in which she refused his request for financial backing in setting up a business. Warning him first of the economic hazards of attempting to operate an undercapitalized business, Thomas went on to suggest in untactful and even harsh terms that because of the weakness of his heredity, he might find himself unable to withstand the stresses of financial reverses.
The letters to Margaret Hicks Volkmann (erroneously identified by Edith Finch in her biography of Carey Thomas as Alice Hicks), cover Thomas's renunciation of religious faith and its effect on her mother, her study and travel abroad, and her disappointment (August 30, 1881) when she learned of her friend's plans to marry.
Reel 33: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Outgoing Correspondence: Circular Letters.
Microfilmed on Reel 33 are M. Carey Thomas's circular letters, which were passed about among her family and friends before eventually returning to her possession. They were probably written in part to provide Thomas with a permanent record of her most memorable trips and of her impressions and observations from remote and exotic places, and as a substitute of sorts for the lengthy personal journals she had ceased long ago to keep. The thirty-five letters, 1897-1930, are essentially travel reports written from Spain, France, Italy, England, Austria, Norway, Egypt, Northern Africa, the American West, and the Orient. Filed chronologically, they are rich in descriptions of scenery, cultural attractions, accommodations, and local color. Perhaps because they were intended for many eyes, they seem less personal than much of Thomas's correspondence. A few carry noteworthy observations or discuss unusually interesting matters. Writing from Montana in 1918 she commented on Janette Rankin's senatorial campaign and asserted that trousers were the only genuinely liberated dress for women. In 1922, writing from Bombay, she declared that she had been in love with four different men and could have married any of them. A 1927 letter from Bernard Berenson's residence, I Tatti, contained an account of her presentation to the Queen of England. Circulated with it as an enclosure was a letter Thomas had received from Hilda Worthington Smith depicting the eagerness and intensity of students in the Summer School for Women Workers in Industry.
Reel 34: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Outgoing Correspondence: Personal Letterbooks. October 25, 1929 - August 27, 1930
Surviving M. Carey Thomas personal letterbooks are microfilmed on Reels 34 and 35. It would appear that this is an incomplete series; there are gaps in the sequence, even from the 1930s, the years most fully covered by these volumes. Because of the varying lengths of these letterbooks, a strictly chronological arrangement was not feasible for the microfilm. Therefore the earliest of the volumes appears at the end of Reel 35.
Reel 34 is comprised of one volume only, consisting of copies of letters from October 25, 1929 to August 27, 1930. This letterbook may probably be regarded as typical in subject matter and volume of Thomas's correspondence during most of her retirement years. A sizable amount of her mail dealt with personal business and social matters: ordering and returning goods; declining social invitations and requests to speak; managing her private investments and her mother's estate; engaging and instructing servants; and occasionally expressing her views on matters of current interest. In addition there is a great deal of correspondence about Bryn Mawr College, particularly the Board of Directors' composition and business, the College Inn, the Low Buildings, the Summer School for Women Workers in Industry, and fund raising.
(Note: Many of these letters undoubtedly duplicate items filed elsewhere in the collection -- either additional carbons or recipient copies. Expending the staff time necessary to search out and withdraw such duplicates prior to microfilming was not feasible within the time and budget constraints of this project.).
Reel 35: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Outgoing Correspondence: Personal Letterbooks. 1904-1908 and 1931-1935
Microfilm Reel 35 is composed of four personal letterbooks of M. Carey Thomas from the 1930s and one from the years 1904-1908. The technical quality of the 1930s letterbooks is generally very poor with faint carbon copies of handwritten letters comprising much of the content. These letterbooks consist almost entirely of personal business correspondence. The volume deriving from February 29, 1932 - July 19, 1932 discusses Carey Thomas's fear of bankruptcy and her concurrent unwillingness to give up the creature comforts (massage, automobiles, servants, etc.) to which she had become accustomed. A couple of individual items document her persisting interest in the international peace movement and the Bryn Mawr College campus. On January 4, 1932, she congratulated Mary Woolley on her appointment as a delegate to the Disarmament Conference, adding her advice that the Nine Powers ought to agree together not to sell arms to aggressive nations. Writing to Mrs. Edmund B. Wilson on November 11 of the previous year, she affirmed that no honor would please her more than having the Bryn Mawr library named for her.
Perhaps the most potentially useful of the personal letterbooks is the one preserving correspondence dated March 7, 1904 - October 29, 1908. There are no clues as to why this isolated volume survives or indeed as to whether companion personal letterbooks from this period ever existed. If it is part of a series, it is perhaps fortunate that this one is the survivor for it contains substantive letters to numerous addressees about the suffrage movement. Thomas's activity in raising the Susan B. Anthony Guaranteed Fund is extensively documented. Other suffrage topics are the College Equal Suffrage League; Jane Addams's suffrage lectures; and constitutional policy, including Anna Howard Shaw's opinion that men should not be permitted to join the Equal Suffrage League (quoted to Susan Walker FitzGerald in a letter of December 12, 1907).
A second important topic is the renovation of the Deanery, correspondence about which begins in late 1907 and continues in heavy volume through three-quarters of 1908. In addition there is a slight sprinkling of family correspondence, private business letters, and mail about college matters.
Reel 36: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Incoming Correspondence: C.A. Abbey - Brown, Shipley & Co.
Letters from M. Carey Thomas's personal correspondents filed alphabetically begin on Reel 36. Correspondents with surnames beginning with the letter A and most of those beginning with the letter B are microfilmed on this Reel. In addition, letters from authors who could not be identified - either because the signature was missing or because the letter was unsigned or was signed only with initials or a nickname not identified with any known Thomas correspondent - have been grouped together under the rubric "author unknown" and filed and microfilmed in alphabetical sequence.
There are several brief runs of interesting personal letters in this group. Almost fifty letters (1872-1879) from Howland friend, Libbie Conkey Arnes, survive, preserving her observations about her life and her friendship with Carey Thomas. Mary Snowden Thomas Braithwaite, Carey Thomas's aunt, is represented by ten letters spanning fifty-six years (1863-1919). These illustrate the enduring warmth and affection that existed in the extended Thomas family. There are, as well, some thirty-three letters (1866-1934) from Mary Smith Berenson to her cousin. Leavened by Mary's charming style and zest for life, these convey mostly family and personal news with a sprinkling of gossip about the Berensons' international set in the later years.
Although the number of letters focused on women's concerns on this Reel is not great, the variety of interests and issues represented is striking: Madeline Vaughan Abbott (ERA); Jane Addams (suffrage rally); Mary C. Allison (the pointlessness of women's lives); Mary Anderson (ERA and conditions of working women); Lucy E. Anthony (personal news of Susan B. Anthony and Anna Howard Shaw, memorials to the latter); Susan B. Anthony (autographed card and photograph); Vera A. Bailey (child labor legislation); Rachel Barrett (soliciting a contribution for a tribute to Emmeline Pankhurst); Harriot Stanton Blatch (the New York City women's suffrage parade); and Theodora Bosanquet (IFUW).
Among the notable individual items are a letter from Ada Hart Arlett, proposing to dedicate a book to Thomas, and one from Margaret Ayer Barnes, who featured President Thomas as a character in a novel set at Bryn Mawr College. A youthful friend, Edward P. Allinson, solicited from Thomas in 1879 an article on German education for publication in The Alumnus, a Quaker periodical whose collaborators included Bessie King, Francis Gummere, and Richard Cadbury, as well as Thomas and Allinson.
The penultimate group of letters (about 125) on this Reel is that of Lawrence E. Brown & Company regarding Thomas's personal finances, i.e. stock transactions, expenditures, accounts, taxes, loans, and investments. Five Brown, Shipley, and Company items dealing exclusively with banking business follow.
Reel 37: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Incoming Correspondence: Eleanor Brownell - Julia H. Caverno
The bulk of correspondence on Reel 37 is from various members of the Carey family, including M. Carey Thomas's sister, Margaret Thomas Carey. Represented by approximately 130 letters (1872- 1935), Margaret found her subject matter in the daily lives of herself, her husband, her children, and her circle of Baltimore friends and relatives. Her letters from the 1910s and 1920s also provide information about the Bryn Mawr School, on whose Board of Managers she served. The most numerous group of letters on this Reel (about 200 items, 1924-1933) derives from James Carey, 3rd, an attorney who acted for a time as agent and manager of his aunt's real estate investments. Notwithstanding a modicum of personal news, this is essentially business correspondence. In it the oscillations and eventual frustration of Carey Thomas's expectations of huge profits from her real estate holdings in Baltimore and Western Maryland can be traced. Other Carey relatives are typically represented by a few items, usually containing personal news and/or thanks for gifts or entertainment.
Among the remaining correspondence the letters of Richard Cadbury, Helen Maxwell Campbell, Carrie Chapman Catt, and Edward Capps merit special attention. Confiding to her his literary aspirations and experimentation, Cadbury (12 letters, 1879-1881) challenged Thomas to develop her own creative spirit. In 1922 Campbell described the limited educational opportunities in Korea, where she was living, and the problems that Japanese rule had created for that country. Catt's five letters (1924-1931) concern the National Conference of Women's Organizations, the peace movement, and the award of the M. Carey Thomas prize to Jane Addams. There are approximately thirty-five letters from Edward Capps, all on the subject of the Athens Hostel, a primary interest of Thomas's during the first decade of her retirement.
Reel 38: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Incoming Correspondence: Caroline Chadwick-Collins - Duval & Eagen
The only considerable run of correspondence on Reel 38 is the nearly one hundred letters of Lucy M. Donnelly (1904-1935). Deferential in tone and gossipy in content, these letters chronicle personal and Bryn Mawr College events. Because Donnelly remained a close friend of Carey Thomas's sister, Helen Thomas Flexner, her letters occasionally carry Flexner family news. In a letter of April 8, 1922, Donnelly reported that Edith Hamilton, following her resignation as headmistress of the Bryn Mawr School, was openly hostile toward Thomas.
Other correspondence of note is scattered among the small bodies of letters from a number of sources. In four letters (1879-1883) Eva Channing described conditions faced by women scholars studying in Leipzig and Paris. Ada Comstock (14 letters, 1914- 1933) wrote of her career and personal activities, the Athens Hostel, her plans to speak at Bryn Mawr College and to visit Carey Thomas in the Deanery. There are letters from two leading nineteenth century women physicians, Emma B. Culbertson and Elizabeth M. Cushier. Caroline Chadwick-Collins's letters (1922-34) concern current BMC topics: the Summer School for Women Workers in Industry, the Alumnae Association, the college publicity office, Thomas's bust by Paul Manship; plans for the M. Carey Thomas Award ceremony honoring Jane Addams; and the gift of the Deanery to the Alumnae Association.
William C. Dennis's letters reveal that in the 1916 faculty crisis, he advised President Thomas not to file a libel suit against the Public Ledger, although it was his legal opinion that the newspaper had indeed been guilty of libel. Writing in 1935, George W. Corner paid tribute to the scientific work of Florence Sabin, a candidate for the M. Carey Thomas Award. Business correspondence includes Hugh R. Dent's letters regarding Thomas's efforts to sell a part of her art collection.
Among the authors of unusually eloquent or penetrating letters written in appreciation of Thomas's leadership as an educator or of her generosity are the following: George W. Child, Edith B. Chipman, Anne Carey Thomas Clarke, Henry Collins, Ada Comstock, Margaret T. Corwin, Emma L. Davis, Helena S. Dudley, and Esther Claudman Dunn.
Reel 39: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Incoming Correspondence: Mortimer Lamson Earle - D.K. Este Fisher
Two very long runs of correspondence dominate the material microfilmed on Reel 39. The letters of Elizabeth "Bessie" King Ellicott, Carey Thomas's cousin, friend, and confidante, span more than twenty years (1870-1893) and comprise about seventy items. The swaggering, tomboyish quality of the earliest letters is converted in later correspondence into an emphasis on feminist concerns. Aspiring to a career as an artist, Bessie studied painting for several years in Baltimore, but her father's opposition and her own poor health thwarted her hopes to continue her studies abroad. During a period of personal crisis in the early 1880s, she discussed the agonizing conflict between marriage and a career for women. Congratulating Carey Thomas on winning her Ph.D. degree, Bessie concluded: "such a practical demonstration that women can triumph over difficulties and can have better brains than men clears up more difficulties than any amount of talk ..." (December 13, 1882). Because of her delicate health (she suffered from a lung disorder, probably tuberculosis, in her early twenties) Bessie spent several winters in the South to escape the harsh Baltimore weather. During one such exile, she recalled the pleasures of conversation over cigarettes with Carey and wished that they could again share such a diversion. Bessie King's last letters to Thomas concern the Johns Hopkins University Medical School fund drive, which eventually resulted in irreconcilable differences of opinion and finally in the total estrangement of the former companions.
The letters of D.K. Este Fisher, 1908-1935, which occupy more than half the Reel , relate to Carey Thomas's legal and financial affairs. Fisher succeeded his father, Judge William Fisher, as Mary Garrett's attorney. The earliest letters in this group concern Carey Thomas's and Mary Garrett's wills. The settlement of Garrett's estate and defense against a legal action brought by the Garrett interests generated a deluge of letters. After the resolution of the suit and the distribution of Mary Garrett's estate, Fisher continued to advise Thomas about her business interests, particularly her real estate holdings. In the 1930s these letters reveal the serious financial problems Thomas experienced as her expenses exceeded her income and her investments proved to be stubbornly illiquid. During her later years, the writing of her will was a perennial topic of correspondence between Thomas and her counsel.
Of the minor correspondents whose letters also appear on this Reel , only those of George M. Engler (regarding Thomas's real property investments) and of the Fidelity-Philadelphia Trust Company, exceed two items.
Reel 40: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Incoming Correspondence: Irving Fisher - Helen Thomas Flexner. 1880-1924
Except for the first fifty or so frames, Reel 40 is made up entirely of the letters of Helen Thomas Flexner, Carey Thomas's beloved and devoted youngest sister. Prior to her marriage in 1903, Helen's letters furnish information about Thomas family activities, personal news, especially her travels and studies at Bryn Mawr College and abroad, and the BMC English department (Helen was a reader in the essay section from 1896-1903). Letters from the years 1903-1924 record Helen and Simon Flexner's social life, Simon's career and honors, family vacations, their travels and health, the births and boyhoods of their sons, and Helen's progress with a novel she was writing. She was deeply solicitous about the health and welfare of her older sister.
Among the correspondence at the beginning of the Reel , the letters of William Fisher, which are about personal matters rather than legal business, and of Abraham Flexner (mostly about the Athens Hostel) are noteworthy.
Reel 41: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Incoming Correspondence: Helen Thomas Flexner - Hannah R. Garrett. 1925-35
The first five hundred frames of this Reel conclude the letters of Helen Thomas Flexner (1925-1935). Helen's letters continue in the vein of those on the preceding reel, containing family and personal news, appreciation and criticisms of books and cultural events, political comment, and expressions of solicitude about Carey Thomas's health and well-being. In a letter of September 6, 1929, she acknowledged receipt of Lady Chatterley's Lover and other banned books, exulting in Carey's cleverness in having bound them in covers of scientific tomes. As an executor of her sister's will, Helen promised to carry out both its letter and its spirit.
A second five hundred frames bears the correspondence of Helen's husband Simon, her sons William Welch and James Thomas, and a daughter-in-law, Magdalen Hupfel Flexner. Beginning with winsome childhood notes, William's and James's correspondence concludes with adult letters about their respective careers: teaching and writing.
Simon Flexner's correspondence with Carey Thomas conveys his generosity, erudition, affection, and goodwill. His frequent subjects were the illness and treatment of Mary Worthington, who died in 1912 of a congenital heart problem, and Mary Garrett, whose leukemia was diagnosed at Rockefeller Institute and treated according to the recommendations of its staff. (Note: Simon Flexner's Rockefeller Institute Papers at the American Philosophical Society contain additional Carey Thomas correspondence with both Helen and Simon Flexner. A private collection of Thomas and Flexner family Papers remains in the hands of James C. Thomas Flexner.)
Reel 41 concludes with letters of minor correspondents. Roger Fry wrote in 1905 of his plans to be in Philadelphia and of his hopes to call at the Deanery. John J. Foley, who served for many years as superintendent of the Bryn Mawr College buildings and grounds and who oversaw the maintenance of the Deanery, is represented by about twenty letters. Correspondence of Samuel T. Freeman & Co. with Thomas concerns the appraisal of the Deanery furnishings, its decorative and fine art, and arrangements for sale of her prints and engravings on a consignment basis.
Reel 42: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Incoming Correspondence: Letters of Mary Garrett. 1876-1891
Correspondence on Reel 42 encompasses the first fifteen years of the friendship between Mary Garrett and M. Carey Thomas. Though very infrequent at the outset, the letters gradually become more numerous; but at no time during this period does the outflow reach the volume of later correspondence. In tone the letters often are marked by a formal reserve, but intermittently and increasingly they become highly personal, containing frank statements of Mary Garrett's despair over her health and the absence of a central commitment or productive work in her life.
Garrett's personal situation changed drastically during these years. In the late 1870s and early 1880s she wrote often from Europe, from American resorts, and from the west where she traveled with her parents. In their company she met such luminaries as Herbert Spencer, Robert Browning, and California's Romualdo Pacheco. Although she enjoyed the opportunities it provided, she often complained about the restrictions of traveling with her parents. Their control over her life is shown by her father's demand in August 1879 that she give up any further efforts to prepare herself for study at the Harvard Annex in order to devote herself to his interests. This style of life with its mixed benefits and limitations came to an end for Mary Garrett in 1883 and 1884 when first her mother and then her father died.
This was only the beginning of family tragedy for Mary Garrett. In 1888 her brother Harrison died in a boating accident. The same year Mary accompanied her eldest brother, Robert, and sister-in-law, Mary Frick Garrett, on a trip around the world which constituted the first stage of Robert's treatment for mental and emotional illness. From points on this trip some of Garrett's most interesting travel letters were written: the Flathead Indian Reservation in Idaho; San Francisco; Kobe, Japan; the Nile; and Berlin. Mary Garrett probably worked hard on her letters to Carey Thomas at this time, reporting incidents, impressions, cultural events (music and theater, paintings and architecture), and the comforts, or lack thereof, of her accommodations and of the climate.
The change in Mary Garrett's family situation was accompanied by changes in her own mental and physical well being. In her early letters, she exhibits a certain zest for the active life including canoeing and camping out (August 11, 1879), but as her health suffered from the strain of family tragedies and from the stress of her philanthropic and civic activities, her letters become crowded with details of her illnesses, ailments, and treatment. Although in her lifetime Garrett suffered from a trying series of genuine physical disorders, many of her symptoms -- fatigue, backache, insomnia, headaches, depression -- are clearly psychosomatic, and she recognized them as such. During the illness of Carey's mother (December, 1887) Garrett suggested that Carey was fortunate to have work to occupy her: "I am sure that the reason women break down more rapidly than men under great troubles is because they have no absorbing occupation to take their minds from their sorrows and cares."
Garrett made two attempts at creating for herself absorbing occupations in this period. In financial support and time devoted to the enterprise, she was the leading member of the group that founded the Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore. Her letters at this time are laden with comment, information, and anxiety, manifesting unstinting pursuit of the school's welfare. A later undertaking, revealed less in detail, was the organization of women on a national basis to raise a fund to endow the Medical School of the Johns Hopkins University.
Reel 43: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Incoming Correspondence: Letters of Mary Garrett. 1892 - April, 1894
The twenty-eight months covered by correspondence on Reel 43 were busy, and in many ways, pivotal ones in Mary Garrett's life. Perhaps because of the activity and tension involved, she seems to have suffered from very poor health which she treated by cures at a European spa and by a self-imposed and - directed "rest cure" in New York City.
During this period Mary Garrett developed her technique of influencing, through the offer of virtually irresistible gifts, the policies of educational institutions. After a great deal of introspection and financial calculation, she determined that she would personally make up the difference between the funds raised by the Women's Committee for the Johns Hopkins University Medical School and the full amount required for the endowment of the school. On December 9, 1892, she reported to Thomas that she had presented her offer and her conditions to a representative of the Board of Trustees of the University. During the following two months negotiations between the two sides progressed irregularly to an eventual agreement, and the JHUMS ceased to be a primary topic of correspondence.
It was swiftly replaced by another protracted and absorbing concern: the candidacy of M. Carey Thomas for the presidency of Bryn Mawr College and the opposition of a substantial number of the Board of Trustees to her appointment. When Thomas thought the fight might not be worth the effort, Garrett encouraged her to remain steadfast in her ambition (August 30, 1892): "I am not unsympathetic about yr. college reluctances, and I recognize how much you are giving up, but that chained woman does so sorely need the helping hand -- the very strongest -- & needs it now at once, and you can do so much where you are, that I can not help feeling as if you ought to stay there a few years longer."
The following March, Garrett, wishing to add to her moral encouragement an offer of tangible support, consulted with Carey Thomas about her desire to tender the BMC Board of Trustees an annual gift to the college of $10,000 throughout her life if Thomas were president of the college. She was elated when Thomas acquiesced in her plan, and was even more gratified when she finally received word that the appointment had been made. Congratulating Thomas on the appointment she noted, "It will mean so much ... to have the power and opportunities of such a position and I am so happy that you will be much more able to help things as we want them helped..." Garrett continued to support Thomas with wholehearted approval of her policies and by defending her against all criticism. She scornfully dismissed, for example, David Scull's advice that Carey should cultivate meekness, selfconquest, and gentleness (January 23, 1894).
Reel 44: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Incoming Correspondence: Letters of Mary Garrett. May 1894 - April 1895
Mary E. Garrett's letters to M. Carey Thomas, by 1894 of daily frequency, characteristically contain full recapitulations of her daily routine, social engagements, health, travels, and reading. In addition, their content is augmented by Garrett's reactions to Thomas's letters.
Although sometimes cryptic when read in isolation, when associated with Carey Thomas's letters, they provide insight into Garrett's particular contribution -- as advisor, confidante, and steadfast supporter -- to Thomas's career. These letters abound with responses to Thomas's reports of Bryn Mawr College matters. Garrett also comments frequently on Bryn Mawr School business and policy. A typewritten letter of February 6, 1895, addressed to "Dear Girls" (Thomas and Mamie Gwinn) furnishes an example of the "business" or "school" letters which Garrett often mentions having written and of which only a few survive.
Garrett's emerging commitment to women's suffrage (a cause she seems to have adopted with a greater early fervor than Thomas) is expressed in a letter of May 1, 1894: "I am more and more convicted and conscience-stricken over doing absolutely nothing in connection with Woman Suffrage, when it is so absolutely essential to the accomplishment of everything we have most at heart -- I wish I could think of some way --".
Reel 44 is rife with allusions to personal conflicts, as the network of Baltimore friendships, which had provided so much intellectual stimulation to its members and ultimately produced the Bryn Mawr School as a tangible symbol of its value, was wrecked by the pressures of personal rivalries, personality conflicts, and differences of opinion. Garrett wrote on May 21, 1894 that she was glad Julia Rogers was no longer in Baltimore; two months later (July 31) she warned Thomas and Gwinn against reconciling with Bessie King. She also spoke of her difficulties in getting along with Mamie and even to quarrels with Thomas (March 1895). A developing breach with her sister-in-law, Alice Garrett, was mentioned in October 1894 and again the following April.
Reel 45: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Incoming Correspondence: Letters of Mary Garrett. May 1895 - September 1896
Burdensome personal and financial problems converged in Mary E. Garrett's life in the span of time covered by correspondence on Reel 45. Relations with her family, which had already begun to deteriorate, were further inflamed by her decision to press for an investigation of the financial records of her father's estate and to force a division of its holdings among the heirs. To accomplish this, she retained the legal services of Robert deforest and Judge William Fisher, relaying their advice to Thomas and consulting with her about various questions that arose. Garrett's action in this matter was provoked in part by the poor performance of the B & O Railroad under the managers who followed her father and brothers and in part by her own uncertain financial situation. She occasionally wrote of her indebtedness (apparently created by ready cash-flow difficulties rather than a basic failure of income to match outflow) and her efforts to curb her personal expenses.
In spite of the cooling of her relations with her family, her letters bear evidence of the vestiges of her strong attachment to them. When she heard a report that the Princeton glee club, with which one of her nephews was traveling, had been captured by Indians, she telegraphed the Secretary of War and the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to ascertain that the group was safe (July 1895). The death of her brother Robert in July 1896 affected her deeply.
During this stressful period, Garrett apparently relied heavily on Thomas for emotional support. She frequently chided her friend for failure to write regularly or for disappointing her with letters that were hurried and brief.
Reel 46: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Incoming Correspondence: Letters of Mary Garrett. October 1896 - 1897
In addition to recording her health problems and treatment, her daily routine, her social engagements and cultural interests, Mary Garrett wrote extensively at this time about her own and Carey Thomas's personal financial situations. Fearing that knowledge of a Garrett sellout would drive down the price, she secretly divested herself of B & O Railroad stock, in order to raise money to meet her pledge to the Johns Hopkins University Medical School and to cover her other expenses. At this time, she assumed the responsibility of balancing and rectifying Thomas's personal account books, an undertaking which she frequently alluded to in her letters. Although her correspondence remains remarkably discreet about any allowance or financial gifts she may have made to Thomas, Garrett asserted in a July 18, 1897 letter: "I do not want to put any definite limit to the amount for you to use. It is clear that while you stay at the college you will need at least $5000 in addition to your present income."
Several matters which arose during this period indicate a growing tendency for the two women to act jointly whenever circumstances permitted. Garrett financed and supervised an extensive renovation of the Deanery under the artistic guidance of Lockwood deforest She further exercised her penchant for interior design by furnishing an apartment she had rented in New York City, which she referred to in her letters as "our flat." Moreover she actively abetted Thomas's unsolicited and unwanted interference in the divorce of her sister Grace Thomas Worthington by contributing the services of an office employee and soliciting the legal advice of her attorney, William Fisher. The bitter upshot of this episode for Garrett and Thomas was a harsh criticism of Thomas's principles extrapolated from testimony used against Grace. Garrett forwarded to Thomas a letter of Henry K. Douglas to William Fisher, in which this charge was repeated, as an enclosure to an October 10, 1896 letter.
Garrett's rising resentment against the demands Mamie Gwinn made on Thomas's time, such as their summer travel together in 1897, was increasingly being made manifest. Garrett's letters from November 1896 document an unusual degree of absorption in political events, as she explicitly acknowledged her frustration at being disenfranchised and implicitly reflected the dread with which she contemplated a possible William Jennings Bryan victory. She confided that she had influenced her servants to vote for William McKinley.
Thomas's letters to Garrett, informal and often hastily written, bear numerous examples of her lifelong weakness in spelling. In her replies, Garrett listed the misspelled words, often with charming messages excusing her friend from fault in the errors.
Reel 47: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Incoming Correspondence: Letters of Mary Garrett. 1898 - October 1899
As in all of Mary Garrett's letters to Carey Thomas, health is a subject of copious comment in the correspondence on Reel 47. Garrett fretted about Thomas's well being, and also recounted her own complaints and treatments, which may have included an operation in the spring of 1899. (This was possibly a mastectomy; Garrett was unusually cryptic in writing of this problem, which she said she referred to publicly as a shoulder inflammation.) Along with her more or less chronic poor health, Garrett suffered from loneliness, longing to spend more time with Thomas.
When a group of Bryn Mawr alumnae decided to commission a portrait of President Thomas as a gift to the college, Garrett offered her assessment of the most highly regarded active portraitists, suggesting that Cecilia Beaux would be the "safest" choice but that either John S. Sargent or James Whistler would be "infinitely nicer" if he were to do his best work. After Sargent had been decided upon, Garrett accompanied Thomas on a trip to England to sit for the portrait in the summer of 1899.
Garrett's observations on such issues as the war with Spain, Theodore Roosevelt's election, and the danger of the nation's embarking on an imperialist course (November 19, 1898), although infrequent are trenchant.
Reel 48: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Incoming Correspondence: Letters of Mary Garrett. November 1899 - April 1901
Judging from her letters to Carey Thomas, this was a period of discontent for Mary E. Garrett. She spent much of the time covered by correspondence on Reel 48 in Europe. She lived in Italy during the final months of 1899, returning to Baltimore in the middle of January 1900. By the end of February she was en route to Europe once again, this time with Sarah Jewett, the novelist, and Mrs. James Fields as companions. Their travels, which took them to Italy, Greece, Turkey, and France, failed to dispel Garrett's depression. After visiting the Paris Exposition where she saw Thomas's portrait by Sargent on exhibit (May 21, 1900), she returned to the United States in June. Thereafter she divided her time between Baltimore and New York.
Although Garrett was not often explicit about the causes of her low spirits (except for recurrent bouts of poor health), it seems likely that the dispute over the settlement of her father's estate was a contributing factor. In fact, the hope that the matter might be more expeditiously settled if she were not on the scene was one of her stated motives for going abroad. Moreover, she was short of money pending the settlement, a situation that was made worse by expensive renovations of her Baltimore residence and by the heavy legal fees she incurred.
Garrett's civic interest was aroused by the possibility that she might be named to the Baltimore Board of Education (January 1900), and she was probably more disappointed than she revealed when the appointment fell through (apparently because of a failure of Baltimore women to unite behind her candidacy).
However, her continuing interest in education had a ready outlet in the Bryn Mawr School, and its business and policies are never long absent from her correspondence. In February 1901, Garrett and Thomas disagreed about an unspecified BMS matter, provoking Garrett to charge her friend with resorting to unconstitutional tactics.
In spite of her generally depressed spirits, Garrett was capable of being diverted by new experiences. On February 12, 1900, she described an automobile trip: "I assure you the turning around and still more the backing of the thing is a most uncanny experience but while you are going straight ahead it is very nice.".
Reel 49: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Incoming Correspondence: Letters of Mary Garrett. May 1901 - 1902
Much of the contents of Mary E. Garrett's letters to Carey Thomas during this time are a chronicle of the events of her daily life and a register of her reactions to Thomas's own letters. The Bryn Mawr School was, as always, an important interest. More than ever, Garrett commented on Bryn Mawr College matters, particularly the major fund drive which occupied much of Thomas's time and attention from the fall of 1901 through the spring of 1902. On November 14, 1901, Garrett sympathized, "It is dreadful to me to see you wearing yourself out and using all your talents and power without the larger opportunities that great endowments give..." On April 29, 1902, she related her private effort to induce Andrew Carnegie to make a contribution to the Bryn Mawr College building program, an appeal which he turned down. Later she wrote of her distress at not being able to contribute to the drive (May 20, 1902) and of her joy when it was successfully completed (June 1, 1902). Garrett conceived the idea of having John Singer Sargent paint the "great group of doctors -- Welch, Osler, Halsted, and Kelly" of the Johns Hopkins Hospital at this time (December 8, 1902). Comments on current events, her reading, social activities, diversions, etc. occur throughout her letters.
Reel 50: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Incoming Correspondence: Letters of Mary Garrett. 1903-1904
A number of Mary Garrett's most absorbing avocations are represented in her correspondence on Reel 50. Her activities as a Baltimore hostess, a role often combined with her other interests, are documented. In a letter of February 17, 1903, she described a luncheon she had given for Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., repeating salient bits of conversation. On December 6 of the same year, she hosted a dinner arranged for the purpose of introducing Robert deforest to leaders of the Baltimore reform movement. Her plans to entertain Carey Thomas's cousins, Bernard and Mary Berenson, in February 1904 miscarried because of a major fire in downtown Baltimore which resulted in extensive damages to Garrett's rental properties. During this emergency, she lamented (February 8, 1904): "It is a time when having no man to even hear news from - much less to expect help or advice from, is hard." Her personal business is, as always, frequently mentioned, though rarely with substantive information about her holdings or her own management of her property and investments.
Scattered throughout the Reel are observations about the Bryn Mawr School and its headmistress, Edith Hamilton. Garrett wrote on February 12, 1903, that she had discouraged an idea of Hamilton's which might have led to the admission of Jews to the school. She later criticized Hamilton's administration of the business side of the school (March 21, 1904) and even her character (May 26, 1904).
Pursuing her idea of a John S. Sargent group portrait of four Johns Hopkins physicians, Garrett secured the artist's commitment to the project (March 10, 1903). However, when she met him at the mansion of Mrs. Jack Gardner of Boston (April 6, 1903), he protested that he was over-scheduled and requested a postponement. (Garrett described Mrs. Gardner's mansion in a letter of March 21, 1903.) To Mary Garrett's disappointment, the portrait was not painted during the time span covered by this Reel.
Garrett's recreational reading included Henry James and Edith Wharton, and she often expressed her appraisal and appreciation of their work. Asked in April 1904 to accept the nomination of the presidency of the Baltimore Good Government Club, she declined after a few days consideration. Although she did not say so, it seems likely that her decision was based in part on her plans to move into the Deanery following the departure of Mamie Gwinn.
Reel 51: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Incoming Correspondence: Letters of Mary Garrett. July 1904 - Undated
Reel 51 carries all of Mary Garrett's letters written to M. Carey Thomas between the time she moved into the Deanery following Mamie Gwinn's marriage in June of 1904 and her death in April 1915. Undated letters and fragments conclude the Reel. Although the amount of correspondence is light because the two women were infrequently apart during this time, this is an interesting lot of documents.
Garrett's letters concern Bryn Mawr College business (Garrett, when Thomas was away from the Deanery, apparently went through her mail forwarding those letters requiring immediate attention and retaining others pending her return); the health of both women; suffrage matters; Garrett's personal business; news of the Thomas extended family, with whom Garrett developed a warm, quasi-familial relationship, and of her own family; current events; cultural interests; and social events.
Although Garrett's health deteriorated steadily during this time, she rarely complained of her ailments. When she was hospitalized in January 1913 for complications arising from a seriously infected thumb, she was distressed by the sensational tone of newspaper reports about her illness, including an obituary. Garrett's correspondence after she moved into the Deanery is markedly more cheerful than her earlier letters, probably indicating that congenial companionship had relieved her tendency toward depression. There is evidence, however, that the household was not uniformly harmonious and that Thomas exploded from time to time in fits of temper directed against her housemate. Writing on September 3, 1909, of such an outburst, Garrett likened it to "demonic possession."
The undated items, of which there are more than one hundred, are generally letters sent by messenger and telegrams. Some of the subjects of this correspondence are the Johns Hopkins University Medical School fund drive, the Bryn Mawr School, social activities, and holiday greetings.
Reel 52: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Incoming Correspondence: John B. Garrett - Irma Hochstein
Although no correspondent on Reel 52 is represented by a lengthy run of letters (the longest consisting of about 80 items), several groups merit special note.
The letters of Carolyn Ladd Hall (1873-1890), Francis B. Gummere (1876-1880), and Mathilde Gruneisen (1879-1886) derive from M. Carey Thomas's student days in boarding school and in Germany. Hall's letters, beginning with their friendship at Howland, cover their respective advanced educations and conclude with her plans to serve as the first physical education instructor at Bryn Mawr College. Gummere's five letters, for the most part about books, professors, and other intellectual interests, include his announcement on August 3, 1879, of his engagement to Amelia Mott. The fourteen letters of Mathilde Gruneisen, most of which are in German, contain advice as to how Thomas should approach German educational authorities and about living conditions in Germany.
The letters of Virginia Gildersleeve (1919-1935) regard the London and Paris clubhouses of the International Federation of University Women and the Athens Hostel. Josephine Goldmark discussed the need to reorganize the Summer School for Women Workers in Industry in 1926, and Frances Hand similarly wrote about the Summer School and also about the decisions, debates, and policies of the Bryn Mawr College Board of Directors. Laura D. Gill's four 1912 letters present her version of her conflict with Carey Thomas over the reorganization of the Association of Collegiate Alumnae. Ida Husted Harper (1919-1930) enclosed for Thomas a copy of her memorial leaflet in honor of Anna Howard Shaw. Later letters pertain to her aborted effort to write a full scale biography of Shaw.
Dr. William S. Halsted, whose letters are the most numerous on this Reel, wrote mostly about the health and treatment of Thomas and other patients. In 1899, referring to his treatment of Mary Garrett's tumor, he stated that French physicians were absurdly uninformed about this field of medical science. Rather frequently he mentioned his treatment of members of the Bryn Mawr College community. Writing of Nettie Stevens's illness in May 1912, he asserted that he would never accept a fee from a college professor. Halsted's letters, warm and personal even when confined to professional matters, often convey his appreciation for invitations and gifts from Garrett and/or Thomas.
The Reel begins with the letters of members of several Garrett families. John B. and Philip C. Garrett, brothers and members of the Bryn Mawr College Board of Trustees, are represented by letters of condolence following the death of James C. Thomas. Robert Garrett, Mary Garrett's nephew, wrote after her death about financial support for her aunt and brother. Michael Garrett and William C. Garrett, both of whom had been Mary Garrett's retainers, corresponded with Thomas about the care and upkeep of Montebello and the Garrett mansion at 101 West Monument Street in Baltimore.
Reel 53: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Incoming Correspondence: Mamie Gwinn Hodder - Katherine Bell Lewis
Reel 53 begins with the letters of Mary Mackall (Mamie) Gwinn Hodder, M. Carey Thomas's friend and housemate for twenty-five years both in Germany and at Bryn Mawr College. Because they were so rarely apart during that time, Gwinn's letters comprise only about 150 frames. The letters are most numerous from the year 1882 when Gwinn apparently traveled while Thomas prepared herself for her doctoral examinations and completed work on her dissertation and other required papers. From Berlin, Venice, and Florence, Gwinn wrote of her sightseeing, her reading, her accommodations and expenses. Occasionally complaining of loneliness and longing for Thomas's company, she carried on by mail what seems to have been her accustomed role of advisor to Thomas about her studies and her writing. Regarding the latter, she warned in the fall of 1882, "I am seized by anxiety as to your punctuation and terror as to your spelling." Following their return to the United States, her letters reveal her wide ranging and apposite advice regarding the academic program at Bryn Mawr College extending to entrance requirements, methods of instruction, the organization of various departments, the requirements and facilities for gymnasium and music, etc. Gwinn's letters, usually affectionate and often playful, are, however, sometimes bitingly critical of Thomas.
Letters to Thomas about women's suffrage from Edith Houghton, Julia Ward Howe, and Ethel Puffer Howes are microfilmed on this Reel. The campaign for the entry of the United States into the League of Nations is the subject of correspondence from Ellen Gowen Hood, Helen B. Jastrow, and the League of Nations Nonpartisan Association.
Dolly Kirk and Georgianna Goddard King, both of whom Thomas singled out in their undergraduate days and assisted and sponsored in their careers, reiterated their continuing gratitude. King's correspondence pertains, as well, to her scholarship and publications. Susan M. Kingsbury, professor in the Carola Woerishoffer Department of Social Research, discussed problems in the Summer School for Women Workers in Industry, expressed her appreciation for Thomas's advice and assistance, and in a letter of February 3, 1924, announced her opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment. William James's letters recommending candidates for the Bryn Mawr College faculty, including George Santayana (March 22, 1889), are outstanding examples of the genre.
The letters of BMC comptroller Sandy L. Hurst (1923-1935) document Thomas's considerable business with the college following her retirement. John G. Johnson provided legal advice about personal and college matters.
Reel 54: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Incoming Correspondence: Liberty & Co. - M. Mauriac
Nearly half of Reel 54 is composed of the letters of Millicent Carey McIntosh, Carey Thomas's favorite niece. In more than one hundred letters (1915-1934) Millicent recorded for her aunt's information her impressions, activities, aspirations, and progress through Bryn Mawr College, graduate work, a career, and marriage. In her fresh and spirited epistolary style, as a Bryn Mawr College undergraduate (1916- 1920), Millicent wrote of her courses, recreations, May Day, the Christian Association, Student Self- Government, and her numerous other interests. Millicent perceived herself as being less scholarly and more concerned with the welfare of individuals, especially the underprivileged, than Carey Thomas wished her to be. Tactfully and respectfully, Millicent conveyed to her aunt her plans and decisions while in college and upon graduation, apparently accommodating them whenever possible to Thomas's ideals. Thus she undertook graduate study at Newnham in accordance with Thomas's advice, but only after allowing herself a postgraduate year in Baltimore doing YWCA work. Her letters from Newnham provide a full account of her courses, friends, living quarters, and her observations about English society and social conditions. The series concludes with letters regarding her tenure as headmistress of the Brearley School, her marriage to Dr. Rustin McIntosh, and the birth of her twins. (McIntosh was careless in dating letters. In order to achieve chronological sequence, dates have been supplied whenever possible on the basis of content.)
The second largest group of materials (about 150 items, 1916-1935) on this Reel is the correspondence of James Barton Longacre, who handled Thomas's personal insurance business and shared with her an interest in etchings and other fine and decorative arts.
The nine letters of Helen Taft Manning (1929-1934) provide a scant amount of Bryn Mawr College news, along with somewhat more personal information concerning her household, her travels, and her academic work.
Reel 55: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Incoming Correspondence: Lucia Ames Mead - Virginia Roderick
Letters to M. Carey Thomas from some 165 correspondents are microfilmed on Reel 55. Most are represented by one or a few letters of personal business, sympathy, appreciation, etc. There are, nonetheless, a number of interesting groups and individual items
The letters of Thomas's predecessor in the presidency of Bryn Mawr College, James E. Rhoads, and her successors as dean (Marion Reilly) and president (Marion Edwards Park) are present. Rhoads's seven letters (1883-1894) are highlighted by two items. First, his response (fragmentary) to Thomas's application for the presidency in 1883 in which he expressed his appreciation of her strong credentials but confessed to having reservations about her youth and inexperience. Secondly, a confidential 1893 letter reporting the machinations of the nominating committee of the Board of Trustees as it tried to find another candidate for the office, and counseling patience on Thomas's part. Reilly's letters (1913-1927) pertain to Bryn Mawr College and Bryn Mawr School business, the College Inn, and the League of Nations Nonpartisan Association. Over one hundred of Marion E. Park's letters (1922-1935) to her predecessor are preserved. Courteous and informative, these concern college news and business, Thomas's personal business with the college, and Bryn Mawr's Fiftieth Anniversary celebration. (Note: The Marion E. Park Papers in the BMC Archives have been searched for Thomas materials; numerous letters from that collection are included in this group. They have not been separately targeted since it is assumed that the microfilm itself will be cited without reference to distinctive parent collections.)
John D. Rockefeller, Jr.'s letters, (1902- 1910) chiefly regarding his family's gifts to the college, appear on this Reel as do two letters of the Carnegie Foundation's Henry S. Pritchett. In a 1928 letter Pritchett accused Woodrow Wilson of having, in order to support his political ambitions, applied for a Carnegie pension prior to the time when he would have been properly eligible.
Among the women with whom Thomas became acquainted through membership in various women's organizations, Alice Upton Pearmain, whom she apparently met through the Association of Collegiate Alumnae, became one of her closest personal friends. Pearmain's letters provide personal news and social pleasantries along with information about A.C.A. (later The Association of American University Women) affairs. Correspondence from Virginia Newcomb, Ellen Pendleton, and Alice Parsons pertains to support of the education of women on an international scale, particularly the Athens Hostel and the Paris Club House of the International Federation of Women. Seven letters from Emmeline Pankhurst (1911-1927) record news of her private life, her public activities, and her impressions of Carey Thomas. Writing on September 13, 1921, she said to Thomas: "...you who are by temperament a benevolent autocrat..."
Striking correspondence from Carey Thomas's childhood and student days includes the letters of her Nicholson relatives, of Ruth Putnam (1876-1882), and of Gertrude Mead (1879-1883). Thomas's resignation from the Society of Friends in 1927 is documented in a letter from J. Hallowell Park.
Reel 56: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Incoming Correspondence: Julia R. Rogers - Eugene F. Saxton
Reel 56 begins with the letters of Julia Rebecca Rogers (about 50 items, 1879-1888), one of the circle of Baltimore women who referred to themselves as the "Friday Evening." Unreserved, probing, and occasionally caustic, Rogers analyzed the probability of marriage for each of the five friends, the dilemma of deciding between marriage and a career, the demands of passion, and the devotion of women to one another. Her warm friendship with Mary Garrett and her concern for Garrett's health and well being are explicit in her letters. She confided her hopes for travel abroad and her design for private study, including rather elaborate plans for joint engagement of tutors with Mary Garrett. Rogers's letters from 1885-1888 to a large extent pertain to the operation of the Bryn Mawr School. Although these refer obliquely to the dissension within the Board of Managers, which eventually culminated in Rogers's resignation and estrangement from the rest of the committee, they remain friendly for the most part.
A second important group of letters are those of the Russells: Alys Smith Russell, Bertrand Russell, and Edith Finch Russell. Alys's letters (approximately 200, 1880-1934) are sparse prior to 1900 and most frequent in the 1920s and 1930s. All convey personal and family news; the later ones discuss as well Ifuw matters (a major interest of Alys's), plans for travel with Thomas, and British politics. Bertrand's three letters (1897-1903) pertain to his publications and Thomas's friendly criticisms of one of his articles. Edith Finch reported her progress on her dissertation and on cataloguing the Deanery library.
A third major body of correspondence is that of the Safe Deposit and Trust Company (1915-1935). Numbering about 235, these letters regard Carey Thomas's real estate holdings in Maryland. They reveal conditions and characteristics of her property, taxes, purchase offers, etc. Between October 1922 and December 1929, when James Carey 3rd was agent for this property, there is no correspondence.
Reel 57: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Incoming Correspondence: J. Henry Scattergood - Anna Howard Shaw
More than 250 letters of Anna Howard Shaw to M. Carey Thomas constitute almost the entire body of material on Reel 57. Written between 1906 and 1919, this correspondence relates importantly and informatively to suffrage matters, including the financial and personal contributions of Thomas and Mary E. Garrett to the movement. Shaw reported her calendar of activities and travels, laid out her tactics and programs, and revealed conflicts and power struggles within the association. Pervading her letters is her admiration for and appreciation of Thomas's support, her executive ability, and her clear-sightedness; she cited particularly Thomas's "splendid personal presence" (November 24, 1911) and her influence exerted on Shaw's behalf at the Nashville convention (February 14, 1915). Shaw denounced as opponents of the suffrage cause the Catholic church (September 1, 1912) and the liquor industry (April 11, 1913). This valuable group of papers is concluded by approximately fifty undated items, some of them fragmentary. Although undated letters often tend to be of low quality, this lot contains substantive material.
In addition to Shaw's correspondence, the letters of sixteen other individuals are microfilmed on Reel 57. Among these are ten letters of David Scull (1893-1906), all of which are interwoven with a pattern of recurring advice to Thomas to moderate her demands and practice tact in her dealings with the Board of Trustees. Elizabeth Shepley Sergeants six letters (1922-1928) concerning an article she hoped to write about Thomas and the possibility of expanding it into a full scale biography terminate with her gracious acquiescence in Thomas's decision not to let her story be told in advance of her autobiography.
Reel 58: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Incoming Correspondence: Edna Aston Shearer - Hannah Whitall Smith
Reel 58 offers rich veins of information from several sources about early influences on M. Carey Thomas's development.
The more than eighty letters of Anna M. Shipley (1872-1882) preserve a record of a friendship which was for a time intense and confidential. Passionate relationships, between men and women and between women, appear to have greatly interested Shipley. She knew Francis Gummere and Richard Cadbury and was aware of Thomas's attraction to the former. Her letters were often very religious and, when she was ill, rather morbid. As she matured Shipley's interests diverged from Thomas's, and her later letters reflect her not unwilling reconciliation to the typical life style of the nineteenth century woman.
The letters of a correspondent who never became reconciled to the conventional restriction on women's lives, Hannah Whitall Smith, conclude this Reel. From first to last, her writings (84 items, 1861-1911) are a fascinating lot. Following a childhood accident which left Carey Thomas severely burned, Smith wrote her beloved niece a series of remarkable letters to amuse her during her long convalescence. Illustrated with caricatures and pictures cut from magazines, they embodied imaginative stories in which family members appear thinly disguised in real life and fantastic situations. Her husband, Carey's Uncle Robert, often is seen as a buffoon in these anecdotes. Hannah's letters are affectionate, even doting, highly religious, and intensely feminist -- characteristics which persisted in her correspondence with Carey throughout her life.
Smith, whose example and advice were undoubtedly important influences on Carey's life and career, intervened directly on her behalf at the time of the establishment of Bryn Mawr College with a recommendation to the Board of Trustees that they should appoint Carey to the presidency. She then wrote to Thomas (January 15, 1884) urging her not to reject the offer of a lesser position if she was not appointed president. Smith was convinced, she added, that her niece would become so invaluable to the operation of the college that the "old dears" would have no choice but to name her president whenever the office should become vacant. All of her later letters are full of admiration and affection for Thomas and praise for her accomplishments.
Hannah Smith's letters are preceded by about fifty letters (1864-1872) from her son Frank. Two and a half years older than Carey, Frank was obviously a favorite playmate, dear friend, and intellectual companion. His early letters are loving, teasing, jocular. In their correspondence, Frank and Carey called one another by such nicknames as Jo and Laurie or Hiawatha and Minnehaha. In later letters Frank wrote of his ambitions and his education and confided his crushes on girls with whom they were mutually acquainted. Praising Carey's spirit and intelligence, he encouraged her to extend the range of her interests and aspirations. A pocket diary he kept between January and September 1871 is microfilmed with his letters.
The letters of Howland teacher, Jane M. Slocum, though few, were directed toward subjects that were crucial in Carey Thomas's life. Advocating her attendance at Cornell University, Slocum inspired Thomas to think of a career as a scholar: "I have been thinking lately that you are the woman who must fit herself for a chair in some University. That is the next thing to be done." (February 23, 1877).
Additional correspondence on this Reel includes the letters of Caroline McCormick Slade about alumnae business, the Deanery, etc. and of Eva Sikelianos about her efforts to qualify for a Federal Theater Project grant for her work.
Reel 59: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Incoming Correspondence: Hilda Worthington Smith - Henry M. Thomas, Sr. 1872-1919
The letters of a legion of M. Carey Thomas's relatives -- Logan Pearsall Smith, Karen Costelloe Stephen and her daughters, Ray and Christopher Strachey, Anne Tatum, and Rebecca Nicholson Taylor, in addition to a dozen Thomases -- are microfilmed on Reel 59. Although many of them are represented by single or a few items of purely family concerns, the letters of several are of wider interest.
Logan Pearsall Smith's ten letters, 1889-1935, comment on his writing, his activities, and his reading. In 1908 he sent Thomas a pamphlet of his sonnets, and on April 25 of that year he credited her advice with having shattered his "prison walls," freeing him to pursue a literary career.
The correspondence of Rachel Costelloe Strachey (63 items, 1904-1934) records her suffrage work including, most notably a 1908-1909 tour of the United States with Anna Howard Shaw. She related the progress at Smith College toward the establishment of a suffrage society, and from Vassar she reported President Taylor's ban on suffrage meetings (March 1909). Her later letters chiefly regard her political and literary work.
Rebecca (Bessie) Nicholson Taylor's letters, scattered between 1862 and 1934, begin with early childhood missives and conclude with information about the family genealogy to assist Thomas in her work on her autobiography.
The letters of Carey Thomas's youngest brother Frank (1876-1935) are concentrated most heavily in her retirement years and principally concern her investments in securities with Frank serving as her advisor and broker. His letters reveal the severity of Carey Thomas's financial problems after the depression had eroded the value of her investments.
The final groups of letters on this Reel are those of Henry M. Thomas, Jr. (Hal) and Henry M. Thomas, Sr. (Harry) (1872-1929), Carey Thomas's brother and nephew. Both were doctors and their letters contain personal medical advice and general medical news. The letters of both are loving and appreciative, for Carey Thomas was particularly generous toward this family upon whom she relied for companionship, affection, and health care. The letters of Henry, Sr. are concluded on Reel 60.
Among the non-family letters, those of Hilda Worthington Smith dealing with the Summer School for Women Workers in Industry, some of which provide moving descriptions of the students and their appreciation of the opportunities offered by the school, are an invaluable lot.
Reel 60: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Incoming Correspondence: Henry M. Thomas S. - Mary Clark Nicholson Thomas. 1920-1924
Reel 60 is dominated by the letters of Carey Thomas's brother Harry and his wife and of her father James Carey Thomas.
The letters of Henry M. Thomas, are continued from the preceding Reel. As in his earlier letters, Harry chatted about his career, his family, his health, the Johns Hopkins Hospital and Medical School, his avocations and recreation, and other matters of personal interest. In addition, there are intermittent comments on politics, world events, and books. In 1923, he mentioned in a few letters his collaboration with Carey on a peace plan which they entered in the Bok competition.
The letters of Harry's wife, Josephine Carey Thomas (Zoe), number more than one hundred and fifty spanning the years 1899- 1934. These are generally concerned with news of her family, health, activities, travel, etc. The upkeep and rental of Coombe Edge (the family summer cottage), the Bryn Mawr School, and the Mary E. Garrett Memorial Room at the Johns Hopkins Medical School were matters of mutual interest to the sisters-in-law. Carey Thomas was evidently very generous to Harry and Zoe, and the latter's correspondence teems with thanks for gifts, trips, and after Harry's death, for a monthly "allowance."
James Carey Thomas's letters to his daughter (94 items, 1861-1897) are warmly affectionate, sometimes eloquent, and uniformly supportive. His early letters, which are loving and religious in expression, chiefly concern family matters. However, beginning with a letter of March 24, 1874, describing the background of the establishment of the Johns Hopkins University, higher education becomes perhaps the most important topic of his correspondence. On March 22, 1880, he recounted a debate among the Hopkins trustees over the possible admission of women. In June 1889 and thereafter he informed and advised his daughter about progress toward founding a medical school under the auspices of the University. His letters from 1893 reflect the particular blend of pain and pride he felt during the discussions within the Bryn Mawr College Board of Trustees, of which he was a charter member, regarding his daughter's candidacy for the office of president. On March 21, 1893, he promised her, "I may be depended upon to help thee the best I can and to stand by thee...".
Reel 61: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Incoming Correspondence: Mary Whitall Thomas - Charles B. Vibbert
The first thousand frames of correspondence on Reel 61 contain the letters Carey Thomas received from her mother, Mary Whitall Thomas, from childhood into adulthood (1861-1887). From first to last Mary Thomas's letters to her eldest child express maternal love, indulgence, and dedication to her daughter's well being. At the same time, and with perhaps greater emphasis and reiteration, she filled her letters with admonitions regarding Carey's conduct, temperament, and character, and with exhortations urging piety and religious commitment.
In her earliest letters Mary Thomas warned her daughter against being boisterous and entreated her to be polite and good. At Howland she adjured her not to take the lead in pranks (January 27, 1873), to treat all men and boys with "supreme indifference" (May 1873), and not to study too hard (recurrent). In keeping with Quaker teaching, she opposed her daughter's having a class ring, and when she learned that Carey had dressed as a man to take part in a school activity, she professed herself to be surprised and mortified (February 18, 1874).
When Carey went to Cornell, Mary Thomas kept up much the same type of advice and admonition about her personal conduct and religious duties. In addition, she consistently reported family and local news, including her own temperance activities. The establishment of the Johns Hopkins University was a matter of great interest to Mary Thomas, and it was her early judgment (June 10, 1874) that it ought not be co-educational. She later modified this concept, at least as regards the graduate school and suggested that Carey might apply for a University fellowship (April 3, 1876). Her imagination seems to have been completely captured by the prospect of a Quaker college, a "Haverford for girls." On May 2, 1877, she informed Carey of Dr. Taylor's plans to endow such an institution, and thereafter she reported news of the prospective college and encouraged Carey to think of seeking a position there. (See for example letters of January 30, 1880; April 6, 1880; October 5, 1880; February 14, 1881; March 7, 1881; November 16, 1881; and December 27, 1881.)
While Carey Thomas was abroad, her mother wrote to her regularly, reporting family news, particularly of the youngest members, her own activities, and local Baltimore events. Although she wanted Carey to spend money as needed to dress well and be comfortable, she related the family's financial strictures to her daughter and counseled economy. There are very few letters after Carey returned to the United States.
Seventeen letters of Mary Van Kleeck (1924-1925) carry her side of what seems to have been an entirely friendly debate about the Equal Rights Amendment and legislation to protect women workers.
Letters of a number of other minor correspondents, including Carey's elementary school teacher, Rebecca Marble Thomas (12 items, 1871-1899) are microfilmed at the end of the Reel.
Reel 62: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Incoming Correspondence: Margaret Hicks Volkmann - Helen Jane Zillman
Among the letters of more than ninety correspondents on the final Reel of Carey Thomas's personal mail are a number conveying advice, gratitude and affection which were bestowed upon her from diverse sources.
The letters of Margaret Hicks Volkmann, a Cornell friend who signed herself "Clytie," are a small but interesting group (8 items, 1879-1882). The early letters pertain to her thoughts and ideals, her ambition for a career in architecture and her admiration for Carey. In a lengthy 1880 letter, Hicks announced her engagement and defended her decision against the adverse reaction she obviously expected from Thomas. Her fiancé, she noted, shared her belief in the importance of women's equal work outside of the home. Such a union, she hoped, would help to transform the institution of marriage.
The correspondence of Carey's uncle, James Whitall (35 letters, 1883-1894) is pertinent not only to Thomas's personal life but also to her career and to the early history of Bryn Mawr College. As a member of the original Board of Trustees named in Joseph Taylor's will, Whitall advised his niece regarding whom she should address and in what terms she should couch her application for the presidency prior to the opening of the college. A decade later he again counseled her on tactics in seeking appointment as president. Urging patience, tact, and silence, he provided, in addition to advice, his solid support for Thomas personally and for her candidacy.
The letters of Carey's sister, Grace Thomas Worthington, and her nephew, Harold Worthington, both sizable lots, chronicle the ups and downs of intra-family relations. Grace's divorce in 1896 created a major crisis in the Thomas family. In a letter of September 14, 1896, Grace announced with dignity and without rancor her impending divorce. She requested her family to accept the decision and not to create problems for her estranged husband. Grace's later letters concern her personal life and her children's health, activities, and education (which Thomas and Mary Garrett helped to finance).
Harold Worthington's letters recount his studies, travel, recreation, interests, etc. He was inducted into the army in 1917 and sent to France the following year. His several letters from abroad describe the serviceman's life and his own reactions to his situation. Most are accompanied by typescripts which were probably made by Carey Thomas for circulation among family and friends. On June 18, 1918, Harold wrote to his aunt: "I think you would enjoy being a Brigade or Division commander and I think you would be a very good one too ... it requires those qualities of organization and executive ability which you have ..." Following Mary Garrett's death, Harold accompanied Carey Thomas on a trip around the world. Later reminiscing about the experience, he asserted, "Never shall I forget the reception you received in Japan and the difficulty you had in escaping admirers." (June 4, 1927)
Although represented by only one letter each, Beatrice Potter Webb and Frances Willard both communicated interesting feminist principles. Writing in 1888 Willard urged Thomas to influence Mary Garrett to assume the presidency of the B & O Railroad in order to demonstrate concretely women's capacity for executive and business leadership. Webb explained in 1924 why she supported legislative protection of the rights of women workers, in apparent opposition to the principle of equality of the sexes.
Third Party Correspondence
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.
Reel 63: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Family Letters: Author Unknown - Sarah Whitall Nicholson
Correspondence of thirty Whitall and Thomas family members is filmed on Reel 63; most of them are represented by only an item or two. Letters of the minor correspondents are typically from American and English members of the Society of Friends, most of whom were related by blood as well as by sect, exchanging personal news and information about Quaker activities and doctrine. The letters of Elizabeth King and three items relating to health and medicine are exceptions to the pattern. The latter include a letter of Dr. Elizabeth M. Cushier reporting on her examination of M. Carey Thomas in 1896 and two pamphlets advertising a clover blossom cure for cancer.
The letters of Elizabeth (Bessie) King (Ellicott) depict the experiences and observations of a contemporary and close friend of Carey Thomas's when Bessie was a student at Howland and later a private art student in Baltimore. Her ambivalence about her future and her opinion that for a woman marriage was incompatible with a serious career as an artist are explicit and implicit in her letters to Mamie Gwinn.
Two thirds of the Reel consists of the letters of Sarah Whitall Nicholson, 1852-1869; the remainder of her letters, 1871-1885, are filmed on Reel 64. Following her marriage to William H. Nicholson in 1855, Sarah lived on a farm in Linden, N.J., and her letters portray the pleasures and restrictions of life in the country. Sarah's letters are addressed to her sisters, her parents, and other relatives; occasionally they bear messages in her husband's hand. She wrote of housework and household management, books, Quaker Meetings and private devotions, births, illness, deaths, marriages, visits, and other local news. In 1852 she visited a Friends school in Providence, R.I. and described it in some detail. Three years later she wrote a tourist's account of Washington, D.C. where she and William honeymooned. Her letters from January through April 1856, written during her first pregnancy, show that she was apprehensive about the dangers of childbirth. Beginning in 1859, religion -- theological reading, devotions, church meetings, doubts, convictions, sermons, missionary work, personal testimony -- became a recurring and preponderant theme in Nicholson's letters, particularly those addressed to her sister, Mary. Occasional references to the horrors of the Civil War and concern about the Thomases' situation in Baltimore appear in the 1860s. Sarah commented from time to time about Minnie Thomas's childhood activities and developing personality. At the end of the 1860s Nicholson returned to Rhode Island for a visit and attended a service in a Newport synagogue. On the same trip she saw President Grant who impressed her as "almost too democratic" in his appearance and accoutrements.
Reel 64: . M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Family Letters: Sarah Whitall Nicholson - Robert Pearsall Smith
Reel 64 begins with the remaining correspondence of Sarah Whitall Nicholson (continued from Reel 63) and concludes with the letters of Hannah Whitall Smith and her son. Between the sisters' letters is filmed the correspondence of eight other individuals including, most notably, Ann Whitall Scattergood and Joseph Scattergood. These letters of Whitall forebears, 1814-1822, are among the earliest in the collection. They regard family news, Quaker Meetings, schisms within the Society of Friends, and household matters.
The letters of Sarah Whitall Nicholson, 1871-1885 and undated, are similar in content to those on Reel 63, being directed chiefly to family matters and religion. As she grew older, Nicholson wrote increasingly of health and medical treatment. In a letter in the early 1870s she asserted that she considered herself to be as capable as a doctor in treating her children. In the 1880s she became absorbed in the study of faith healing and undertook a personal "mind cure" as her own health began to fail. Sarah Nicholson's correspondence is followed by two of her husband's letters, in one of which he expresses his attitude toward the Civil War, declaring he would not want to see it end at the price of union.
The letters of Hannah Whitall Smith, addressed to her sisters, her parents, and her husband, report her daily life in Millville, NJ, Germantown, Pa., and England. They are enlivened by her often reiterated joy in children, including the young Minnie Thomas, whom she singled out as enjoying a special place in the family circle. In interesting scattered remarks she reflects her own and Quaker attitudes toward the Civil War, the draft, and the welfare of Confederate prisoners (apparently a favorite charity of her husband, Robert). A fragment from 1857-59 gives an account of the release of a prisoner (probably a Negro), who was freed as result of the testimony of a Negro. Quaker opinion had supported the right of the Negro to testify in Court. Many of Hannah's letters are devoted to religious and temperance matters, including occasional reports of responses to her published writings and to her husband's preaching. In a letter of September 28, 1876, she reported with distaste a visit to her parents by Catherine Beecher who was trying to arouse sympathy for her brother in the Victoria Woodhull scandal. The missionary activities of the Smiths are frequently alluded to but are not fully documented in Hannah's correspondence.
Reel 65: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Family Letters: Abraham Taber - James Carey Thomas
Correspondence of Tatum ancestors and Thomas relatives of M. Carey Thomas is filmed on Reel 65. The Tatum letters, 1816-1859, several of which were addressed to Mary Tatum when she was in boarding school, convey contemporary attitudes toward education of young women, as well as family, local, and church news.
The letters of James Carey Thomas, 1848-1865, make up the last part of the Reel. Most of Thomas's letters are addressed to Mary Whitall, his fiancee and later his wife. Prior to their marriage in 1855, James wrote Mary at length about his thoughts and emotions generally, and his longing for her, but included only minimal information about local events and his practice. After their marriage, when Mary typically made two or more trips a year to visit her parents in Philadelphia, Atlantic City, or at their summer place near Haddonfield, NJ, he continued to write chiefly about his affection and concern for his wife and their growing family. His letters from the 1860s report, although usually not in detail, events in Baltimore during the Civil War. Thomas's love for all his children, and particularly his solicitude for Minnie when she was recuperating from her burn in 1864 and 1865, is well manifested in his letters. In addition to his wife, James wrote to Sarah Whitall Nicholson, James Whitall, John Mickle Whitall, and Mary Tatum Whitall. These letters related not only family news but also give considerable information about Quaker services, activities, etc. Although Thomas usually wrote of positive developments, there is an interesting report of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting in a letter of April 20, 1852, in which he describes the factionalism that marred the meeting.
Reel 66: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Family Letters: James Carey Thomas - Mary Whitall Thomas
Most of James Carey Thomas's letters, 1866-1896, addressed to his wife and his in-laws, relate to family matters and to the Society of Friends. Even when he addressed secular issues, it was often in the context of church involvement. In April 1869 he wrote of a Friends Meeting in Philadelphia on the "Indian Matter," and the following year he characterized the treatment of Indians as a "sad, sad history of wrong and outrage." In 1881 and again in the 1890's, he traveled to Europe. From there he wrote to his children not only about sightseeing but also about Quaker functions he had attended and leading Quakers with whom he had become acquainted or reacquainted. There is a small amount of information about Thomas's medical practice and civic activities in his correspondence.
The letters of Mary Whitall Thomas, which comprise nearly 3,000 frames, begin on Reel 66 with her letters of 1854-1867. Mary Thomas's letters are addressed to her parents, her sisters, her husband, and her brother, with those to her parents being the most numerous. In her early letters, she wrote almost exclusively about her family and household routine. Her letters describe Carey Thomas's infancy and childhood years: her health, her education, her relations with her parents and siblings, and her developing personality. Mary Thomas's letters express her deep affection for all of her family and occasionally betray the homesickness of the first years in Baltimore. In addition, she occasionally wrote of her charitable work and frequently of Quaker meetings and of her own doctrinal questions and convictions. There are rare evidences of an un-Quakerlike interest in fashionable clothes.
Reel 67: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Family Letters: Mary Whitall Thomas
Mary Whitall Thomas's letters to her family, 1868- 1877, regard the health, temperament, interests, and activities of Carey Thomas and her siblings. The addressees, as in her earlier letters, were her parents, her sisters, and her husband. After 1874 there are a few letters to her son John, who was a student at Haverford. Several interesting letters describe incidents in Carey Thomas's formative years. On February 19, 1872, Mary wrote to Hannah Smith of Minnie's rebellion against the ideas expressed in a sermon on the theme, "the head of the woman is the man." Later in the same year she commented on the effect Frank Smith's death had on his cousin Minnie. In letters written in the fall of 1872, Mary described a journey to Howland Institute where Carey was enrolled and related her impressions of the school. Thereafter, she remarked from time to time about Carey's letters and her activities during vacations. In addition to the ever present family news, Mary frequently wrote to her sisters about religion and temperance.
Reel 68: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Family Letters: Mary Whitall Thomas - James Whitall
Mary Whitall Thomas's letters are concluded on Reel 68. Her letters, addressed to her parents, husband, siblings, and children, continue to pertain chiefly to her household, her family, her church, and her civic activities. At the end of the 1870s she described Carey Thomas's preparations for her departure for Germany, and in 1881 she wrote a first hand report of Carey's situation after visiting her in the course of a European tour with her husband and two of her children. Mary Thomas served as president of the Maryland Women's Christian Temperance Union in the early 1880s, and although none of her official correspondence is present, she wrote to her sisters in some detail about W.C.T.U. organization, activities, and policies. There are interesting letters in 1882 and thereafter about Thomas's conviction that the temperance cause would be weakened by any linkage with the women's suffrage movement, a position in which Frances Willard did not concur. In contrast with her conservative position on suffrage, Thomas wrote forcefully in 1887 that women would not accept inferior roles within the church. Near the end of her life Mary Thomas, like her sister Sarah, became a believer in faith healing. After she had become terminally ill with cancer, she attempted to cure herself through faith, and, for a while at least, was convinced that her health would be restored.
The letters of James Whitall, 1855-1887, portray him as a loyal and generous brother. His monetary gifts to Mary Thomas after their father's death in 1877, with accompanying letters admonishing economy and repayment of debts, indicate that Carey Thomas's family was rather heavily in debt at the time she was studying abroad. Although James wrote mostly of family and church matters, in an exceptional letter of November 7, 1887, he discussed the electoral strength of the Prohibition ticket and speculated about the probable effects of a court test on the issue of whether or not brewers and distillers should be compensated for losses they might incur as result of prohibition.
Reel 69: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Family Letters: John Mickle Whitall - Thomas K. Worthington
The most numerous and interesting letters on the final Reel of family correspondence in the M. Carey Thomas personal papers are those of M. Carey Thomas's maternal grandparents, John Mickle Whitall and Mary Tatum Whitall
John Mickle Whitall's letters, 1830-1873, include fourteen love letters written to Mary Tatum during their engagement in 1830. The remainder of his letters date from the period after the marriage of his daughter Mary, to whom most of them are addressed. The letters convey local and family news and give glimpses of the Whitall's personal life and private concerns. The general business climate is occasionally mentioned but details of Whitall's business enterprises do not appear. In letters of May and April 1863, Whitall recounts a visit to an insane asylum, a prison, and a military hospital in Harrisburg, Pa., to distribute pamphlets.
The letters of Mary Tatum Whitall fall into two groups: approximately 126 written before her marriage in 1830 addressed to girl friends, relatives, and her fiancé and 143 letters, 1856-1880, to her children, especially Mary Thomas. The early letters to her friends, Catherine Wistar and Lydia Lippincott, reflect her pleasure in reading, her appreciation of the beauties of nature and music, and her attitude toward marriage and death. "Girl talk" about friendship, clothes, suitors, visits, etc. predominates. Her later letters regard household matters, servants, visits, charity work, gifts and invitations to her children, and the health, growth, and characters of her grandchildren. There are two fragmentary journals, 1829-1835 and 1848-1849, which are essentially records of her religious devotions.
Reel 70: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Third Party Correspondence: Author unknown - Edith Heiser
Third party correspondence (except for family letters) in the M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers is microfilmed on Reels 70, 71, and 72. Some of these letters undoubtedly were given or forwarded to Thomas by the recipient and retained by her with her own records. The bulk of these papers, however, are Mary E. Garrett's personal correspondence and came into Thomas's possession as part of Garrett's estate. The letters of Julia Rogers to and from Garrett and Mamie Gwinn Hodder's letters to Garrett make up the largest and most significant groups of correspondence. Other authors, who are listed at the end of each Reel note, are typically represented by very few items. (Note: Mary Garrett's personal correspondence which is not relevant in any way to the principal themes of the Thomas papers -- for example, Garrett intra-family correspondence, personal business papers, letters from her physicians, attorneys, etc. -- has not been microfilmed but is available to qualified researchers in the Bryn Mawr College archives.)
Microfilmed on Reel 70 are Mary E. Garrett's letters to correspondents other than Carey Thomas. The largest lot (more than 100 letters, 1876- 1888) of these are to Julia R. Rogers with whom Garrett had an exceedingly close and unreserved friendship. Garrett sent Rogers very detailed accounts of her travels with her family in the American West (1876) and Europe (1880, 1883). In addition she recounted her reading, discussed her cultural interests, and described her social activities. In 1885 and thereafter she frequently alluded to the Bryn Mawr School and its operations. On September 28, 1885, writing about the school's admission policies, Garrett asserted that of the five members of the Board of Managers, only Mamie Gwinn had consistently opposed admittance of Jewesses.
(Note: In accordance with an agreement dated June 17, 1889 (filed with Julia Rogers's letters to Mary Garrett), Rogers and Garrett reviewed both sides of their mutual correspondence, each expurgating and destroying whatever she chose. There are, therefore, many fragmentary items on both sides of this correspondence. Because they are so numerous, they have not been individually targeted as are fragmentary letters elsewhere in this series. Since dates are often missing, a high percentage of these letters have been filed according to postmarks or dockets which appear on the accompanying envelopes. Although there is no information available about the types of comments which were considered sensitive and removed from this correspondence, it is worth noting that relatively few references to M. Carey Thomas occur in this expurgated correspondence.)
Ten letters from Mary Garrett to Mamie Gwinn Hodder (1879-1894) and a like amount to miscellaneous addressees are interspersed with Garrett's letters to Rogers.
Other correspondence of particular interest on this Reel includes Julia B. DeForest's letters regarding, among other things, her interest in medical education for women, and Andrew Carnegie's letters explaining his refusal to contribute to Bryn Mawr College. In a letter to J.J. McCook he denounced the great extravagance of Bryn Mawr's library. To Mary Garrett he communicated a more general objection: "I am not impressed with the advantages of advanced learning for women. The violet not the Sun Flower, or the American Beauty, is the true type."
Reel 71: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Third Party Correspondence: Mary Mackall Gwinn Hodder - Julia Rebecca Rogers. 1870-1883
Third party correspondence (except for family letters) in the M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers is microfilmed on Reels 70, 71, and 72. Some of these letters undoubtedly were given or forwarded to Thomas by the recipient and retained by her with her own records. The bulk of these papers, however, are Mary E. Garrett's personal correspondence and came into Thomas's possession as part of Garrett's estate. The letters of Julia Rogers to and from Garrett and Mamie Gwinn Hodder's letters to Garrett make up the largest and most significant groups of correspondence. Other authors, who are listed at the end of each Reel note, are typically represented by very few items.
Reel 71 begins and ends with lengthy runs of correspondence addressed primarily to Mary E. Garrett. Beginning with the letters of Mamie Gwinn Hodder, it encompasses thirty-seven minor correspondents (only two - Mary Gertrude Mead and Ella Mench - have more than ten letters), and concludes with letters of Julia Rogers written prior to 1884.
Mamie Gwinn Hodder's letters to Garrett (about 100 items dated 1887-1904) are a fortunate adjunct to the Thomas collection, for her personality is more fully revealed in these letters than in any other part of the collection. Literate, usually cordial, and occasionally touched with whimsy, her letters to Garrett are characterized by felicity of style, a gift for description, and impeccable use of the subjective. She is revealed as more introspective, probing, and philosophical than Carey Thomas. Prior to her final decision to accompany Thomas to Europe, Mamie's letters reflect her hesitation and uncertainty, which persisted up to the day she embarked. Once in Europe, however, she described enthusiastically her pleasure in the intellectual society that existed among professors and students and joyfully related novel experiences in Germany and elsewhere on the continent. After her return to the United States, her letters concern for the most part Bryn Mawr School business, social engagements, and Garrett's invitations and gifts.
Rogers's letters to Garrett, which are far more numerous than Hodder's, are likewise informative about the circle of Baltimore friends who were influential in Carey Thomas's and one another's lives. Rogers wrote very fully about the events of her daily life, her intellectual interests, her literary ambitions, her charitable activities, etc. Often gossiping about friends and beaux in the 1870s, she appears to have been somewhat frivolous. By the early 1880s, however, the focus of her attention had shifted to a deep concern for intellectual training. In 1882 she studied for a term at Newnham, recording her experiences and impressions in her letters to Garrett.
Reel 72: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Third Party Correspondence: Julia Rebecca Rogers - D.W. Wheeler. 1884-1895
Third party correspondence (except for family letters) in the M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers is microfilmed on Reels 70, 71, and 72. Some of these letters undoubtedly were given or forwarded to Thomas by the recipient and retained by her as part of her records. The bulk of these papers, however, are Mary E. Garrett's personal correspondence and came into Thomas's possession as part of Garrett's estate. The letters of Julia Rogers to and from Garrett and Mamie Gwinn Hodder's letters to Garrett make up the largest and most significant groups of correspondence. Other authors, who are listed at the end of each Reel note, are typically represented by very few items.
Julia R. Roger's letters to Mary E. Garrett and others conclude on Reel 72. Although the period of the greatest friendship between Rogers and Garrett had probably ended by 1884, Rogers continued to write warm and interesting letters to Garrett for another decade. Typically, Rogers letters contain recapitulations of her reading, social engagements, moods, health, diversions, and travels. She wrote also of fiction and book reviews which she submitted to Harpers, The Century, and The Nation; of her longings for religious belief (see particularly letters in the last months of 1888); of the furnishing and decorating of her residence in Baltimore (1884 and again in 1889); of the Bryn Mawr School; and of their mutual friends. After a visit to Bryn Mawr College she wrote of M. Carey Thomas (September 18, 1885): "She was friendly and very sweet ... All of her attractions come out there as they would not in society -- her head for business is clear and reasonable."
Outstanding among the remaining correspondence on this reel are letters to and from William Welch. In 1922, William Howard Taft complimented Welch on his speech on the occasion of M. Carey Thomas's retirement, adding: "Miss Thomas is a real Builder." It would appear that Charles W. Eliot also wrote to Welch about this address. Instead of writing to praise Thomas, however, he apparently reiterated his old thesis that higher education disinclined women toward marriage and large families. A carbon copy of a letter from Welch to Eliot, disagreeing with these contentions but noting that reliable data to support final judgments on this matter was not yet available, is present.
Miscellaneous Papers (Reels 73-88)
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.
Reels 73-76: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Autobiographical Materials
From the time of her retirement in 1922 until her death in 1935, Carey Thomas ostensibly was engaged in work on her autobiography. Although no actual draft, or even any very sizable fragments of a draft, survives, the project attracted the attention of a number of publishers (see their letters among the Incoming Personal Correspondence) and employed scores of hours of Thomas's time. The product is thousands of pages of documents collected by Thomas to serve as resource materials, rough sketches of early chapters, and a plethora of notes, many of which consist of a cryptic word or phrase scribbled on a half sheet of paper and squirreled away for the time when it would evoke memories or recall ideas that Thomas wished to include in her memoirs.
For the microfilm publication, this material has been arranged topically, with printed items (Reel 73) separated from manuscripts (Reels 74-76). Under some headings, specific and personal notes have been merged with general or theoretical material.
Reel 73 is comprised of such printed materials as memorial leaflets and volumes, genealogies, and family-related ephemera. A list of titles follows the Reel note on the microfilm.
Reels 74, 75, and 76 are made up of a miscellany of manuscript materials: Thomas's autobiographical drafts (the integrity and continuity of some of these were difficult to establish and may be faulty), notes, memorabilia, excerpts from letters and books, memoranda, articles, documents, photographs, etc. The general headings on each reel are as follows:
A list of the sub-topics under each general heading is microfilmed at the beginning of the Reel.
(Note: Thomas's cache of autobiographical materials also included a considerable number of letters. These have been interfiled with other correspondence in the appropriate series. Before being dispersed, however, each was marked in the upper right hand corner of the first page with a capital "A" lightly penciled in, to indicate that it had been considered by Thomas to have relevance to her autobiography. Many of them also are annotated "Autobio" in Thomas's large, sprawling handwriting. A number of items in this group bear other markings, usually marginal linings in blue pencil, perhaps intended to set off extracts to be copied by a typist. Presumably these are Thomas's, although they may be the work of Edith Finch or someone else.).
Reels 77-78: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Speeches, Articles, and Resource Material
Reels 77 and 78 consist of manuscripts of drafts, a few galley proofs and printed copies, etc. of M. Carey Thomas's speeches and articles, plus items presumably collected for use as resource material in preparation of her public addresses. Many of the speeches exist in the form of small pages of notes from which Thomas spoke, so that the risk that accidental loss or undetected disorder may have occurred is great. Moreover, Thomas cannibalized her speeches for re-use, resulting in numerous incomplete items. In some cases it might be possible to piece together portions from other speeches on the same or related topics to reconstruct an entire speech. When more than one version is present, the finished article or address precedes the draft or drafts. Any notes and source materials are filed last.
A list of topics on each Reel follows the Reel note.
(Note: See also a much larger group of Thomas's speeches among her Official Papers, Reels 181-185).
Reels 79-80: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Travel Notes, Records, etc.
An avid traveler throughout her life, Carey Thomas collected and retained guidebooks, itineraries, and records of her observations, accommodations, travel arrangements, etc. These have been divided by country or area visited and microfilmed on Reels 79 and 80. Generally, materials on Reel 79 pertain to Thomas's travel arrangements (including some correspondence relating solely to travel schedules and accommodations) or to her impressions of the places she visited, etc. Items on Reel 80 consist of guidebooks, railroad schedules, maps, articles, and pamphlets. There is also a sizable lot of postcards and photographs, the majority of which bear annotations in Thomas's handwriting; some of these probably accompanied Thomas's circular letters to her family (Reel 33).
Reels 81-85: M. Carey. M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Personal Business Papers
Microfilmed on Reels 81 through 85 are M. Carey Thomas's extant personal business records (except for correspondence and bound records). Because of her inheritance of the bulk of Mary E. Garrett's property, certain of Garrett's business papers, such as her will, inventories of her personal property, and legal documents pertinent to the settlement of her estate, are included. In addition, there are accounts and other records relative to the estates of Mary Whitall Thomas and Edith Lowber, to Grace Thomas Worthington's investments, and to the Thomas family summer cottage, Coombe Edge.
Reels 81 and 82 consist of general business papers arranged topically; Reel 83 contains inventories, auction lists, etc.; and Reels 84 and 85 are made up of bills and receipts (most of them from foreign travel). A list of materials microfilmed on each Reel follows the Reel note.
(Note: Portions of Thomas's personal correspondence and volumes also concern her personal business. Consult the Reel notes and Reel lists to locate related material.).
Reels 86-88: M. Carey Thomas Personal Papers; Miscellaneous Papers
Reels 86-88 are made up of miscellaneous personal papers filed by subject or by genre. Materials on topics of interest to Thomas during her retirement - the Athens Hostel, the League of Nations Non- Partisan Association, the International Federation of University Women, Bryn Mawr College's buildings and grounds, Carola Woerishoffer Department of Social Economy and Social Research, and Summer School for Women Workers in Industry, and fine and decorative art objects which she purchased or sold - are microfilmed on Reel 86. Such miscellaneous groups of materials as business and personal calling cards, calculations, form letters and advertisements, invitations, lists, schedules for servants, notes, scraps, and fragments, etc. comprise Reel 87. Reel 88 is made up of printed and other materials collected by Thomas concerning health statistics and sundry other subjects and newspaper clippings.
Reel List and Descriptions
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