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World War I collection

Identifier: 1VW-World War I

Scope and Contents

Collection consists of records relating to the Wellesley College experience of and response to World War I, dating from 1914-1925. Series I. Subject files and publicity records (1914-1922) consists of records of news sources, and newspaper clippings of the Wellesley College War Service, and subject files on the Wellesley College War Garden, the Victory Liberty Loan Industrial Honor Flag, the Sophie Jewett ambulance, war prohibition, and food administration. Series II. Council and Committee records (1915-1925) consists of records of Wellesley College’s Mobilization Committee, Patriotic Services Committee, War Records Committee (regarding war work by alumnae), War Service Committee (regarding Wellesley Units Abroad, patterns for war garments, literature and reports) and of the college’s War Council (regarding the War Chest and the Council’s War Relief Committee). Series III. External organization records (1917-1922) consists of files on the Association of Collegiate Alumnae’s War Service Committee, the American Committee for Devastated France, the Franco-American Committee for the Protection of Frontier Children, the Vassar Training Camp for Nurses, the War Work Council of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), the Massachusetts Division of the Women’s Committee of the Council of National Defense, and the Wellesley College Training Camp and Experiment Station of the Women’s Land Army of America. Series IV. Wellesley College Relief Unit (1918-1925, 1958, 1969) consists of the papers of Mary Brownscombe Whiting (who was the director of the Wellesley College Relief Unit and later part of the Reconstruction Unit tasked with reconstructing 12 villages in Northeastern France). Files include official documentation from the Red Cross and French government, news clippings and publications, a booklet of hymns and prayers, ration tickets for bread, personal and Relief Unit correspondence, Reports of the Wellesley College Relief Unit, and a photo album. Series also includes an unbound photo album from featuring the Reconstruction Unit in France, a Wellesley Unit scrapbook (1919-1920), 2 photo albums of Berenice Van Slyke (Class of 1913), two photo albums of Dr. Mary W. Marvell (Class of 1895), and an album titled "The Wellesley College Unit, Lucy-de-Bocage, Aisne, France,' including photos, correspondence, informational sheets, and a map.


  • 1914-1925


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. To make an appointment to view materials, please contact the Archives staff by email at or by phone at (781) 283-3745.

Conditions Governing Use

The Wellesley College Archives welcomes researchers to use materials in the public domain, to make fair use of copyrighted materials as defined by copyright law, and to request permission to use works whose copyright is held by Wellesley College. All materials from the Archives, regardless of copyright status, should be attributed to the Wellesley College Archives, Library and Technology Services when cited, quoted, or reproduced.

Biographical / Historical

German had the highest enrollment of language courses from 1893 until World War I. Wellesley College operated a War Farm (led by Botany Professor Margaret C. Ferguson). Volunteer work was first led by the Wellesley College War Relief Organization, but in Spring 1918 President Ellen Fitz Pendleton established the War Council to lead relief work. Professors Eliza Newkirk and Margaret Jackson both served in the Wellesley Units overseas, of which there were four (composed mostly of alumnae). A Red Cross workroom was established on campus, in the Agora Society House.

[Information from: Glasscock, Jean, and Katharine Canby Balderston. Wellesley College, 1875-1975: a Century of Women. Wellesley College, 1975. Pages 144, 211.]


3.6 Linear Feet (5 boxes, 1 oversize box)

Language of Materials



1VW collections are artificial collections. Artificial collections are created by Archivists bringing together multiple smaller acquisitions to the archives from multiple creators, and organizing them based on their subject. This is unlike most archival collections which are organized by provenance, meaning by the original creator, and which maintain the original creator’s arrangement of the collection. THe World War I collection is intellectually arranged in four series: Series I. Subject files and publicity records, 1914-1922, Series II. Council and Committee records, 1915-1925, Series III. External organization records, 1917-1922, and Series IV. Wellesley College Relief Unit, 1918-1925, 1958, 1969.

Related Materials

See also 1VW World War II collection.
Wellesley College. World War I collection: 1914-1925: a guide
Collection-level description updated by Natalia Gutiérrez-Jones, Project Archivist, May 2020. Series IV. integrated by Natalia Gutiérrez-Jones, Project Archivist, May 2021.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Wellesley College Archives Repository