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World War II collection

Identifier: 1VW-World War II

Scope and Contents

Collection consists of the records relating to the Wellesley College experience of and response to World War II, dating from 1940-1989. Includes news clippings, records on the Navy Supply Corps School hosted at Wellesley College, records of Air Raid Precautions including drills and assemblies, log book and Warden’s Office reports and directions, records of buildings with descriptions, maps, and indicated safety zones. Includes files on the college’s telephone system, and the launching of the S.S. Wellesley ship. Includes records of Wellesley service and relief efforts, including of the Wellesley Committee of Public Safety, defense measures regarding the library (from Librarian Blanche Prichard McCrum), and a war ration book.


  • Majority of material found within 1940-1989

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

College President Mildred Helen McAfee Horton served in World War II as the Captain of the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) force of the United States Navy. During this time she was on leave from Wellesley, and Trustee Marie Rahr Haffenreffer and Deans Ella Keats Whiting and Lucy Wilson took on her duties. Enrollment in German language courses declined significantly during World War II. Before Commencement in the Spring of 1940, the college administration announced that the campus and buildings were being volunteered to temporarily support refugee children, and many students volunteered to return to campus after the semester ended to support them. It was the following summer of 1941 that refugee children from Britain lived at the college. Other aid efforts included the Faculty Fund for Dispossessed Scholars. Like during World War I, the college established workrooms to sew and knit clothes, and to make surgical dressings. Other efforts included gardening and farming, Air Raid Protection (ARP), and blood drives. During the war Navy Supply Corps trainer officers, who were housed in Cazenove Hall and Pomeroy Hall.

[Information from: Glasscock, Jean, and Katharine Canby Balderston. Wellesley College, 1875-1975: a Century of Women. Wellesley College, 1975. Pages 97, 152, 219-220, 402.]


1.2 Linear Feet (3 boxes.)

Language of Materials



1VW collections are artificial collection. 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.

Related Materials

See also 1VW World War I collection.
Wellesley College. World War II collection, 1940-1989: a container list
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Wellesley College Archives Repository