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Objects collection

Identifier: Objects

Scope and Contents

Series I. Jewelry (1880-2005) includes pins, rings, a necklace, a West African Baule mask pendant, a Wellesley College seal pendant, and political campaign buttons from Bill Clinton’s 1992 Presidential campaign. Pins and rings show affiliation to various class years, societies (Phi Sigma, Zeta Alpha, Alpha Kappa Chi, Tau Zeta Epsilon, Shakespeare Society, Agora organizations (Wellesley Cheer, Wellesley College Choir, Colorado Club, Association of Collegiate Alumnae), and Wellesley College at large. Also includes pins with slogans related to various departments and movements at Wellesley, regarding racism, wellness, the Honor Code, and the Slater International Center. Of note is a ring given to President Alice Freeman Palmer (1881-1887) by George Herbert Palmer.

Series II. Dining ware (1882-1992) consists of plates, saucers, platters, cups, bottles, pitchers, a jar, napkin rings, sugar bowls, salt and butter dishes, spoons, a tankard, and bowls. Multiple are Wedgwood fine china, and many feature designs related to Wellesley College, such as the College Seal, images of college buildings, or the Wellesley symbols acorns and oak leaves. Some dining ware is commemorative, and was sold to alumnae for fundraising. Includes pieces of the first set of china owned by Wellesley College, and a set of Alpha Kappa Chi china with an “AKX” design.

Series III. Tools and games (circa 1775, 1882, 1915-1975) includes tools such as letter openers, a stereoscope, a wall sconce, an ashtray, a megaphone used for Float Night, a bell and stand that was used to close the library, trowels used a cornerstone laying ceremonies, a Nuclear Absorber set (likely used in the Physics Department), the gavel of the Debating Club, and a kettle. Also includes a Wellesley baseball, two jigsaw puzzles of Galen Stone Tower (sold to fundraise for the centennial), and a bicycle plate from a member of the Class of 1944. These objects had various uses in daily life and at special events at the college; some objects personally belonged to alumnae, faculty and staff, and some were used by particular departments.

Series IV. Printing plates, embossing stamps, and seals (circa 1934-1957 and undated) consists of printing plates featuring images of buildings and campus views, and portraits of individuals (Hygiene and Physical Education professors, anonymous students, and Rowland G. Hazard (grandfather of President Caroline Hazard); some printing plates feature simply text, appearing to be titles or mottos, and abstract designs. Also includes embossing stamps featuring various seals (of the Library, the Agora Society, the Department of Hygiene, the Boston Normal School of Gymnastics, the Centennial), and the Wellesley College Seal.

Series V. Textiles and clothing (circa 1884-2000) consists of reunion clothing (class caps, a parasol, a muff), clothing and textiles from travels (fans and a silk hanging from China), and Wellesley-branded pillow cases, a handkerchief, and a banner from the 125th Anniversary of the college. Also includes a fire hat worn by Pomeroy Fire Chiefs for four decades, and a net lace collar worn at Commencement.

Series VI. Photographic materials and portraits (1874-1974) consists of glass plate photographs, glass plate negatives, glass lantern slides, a photogravure plate, framed photographs and portraits (one in cameo). Images are of Wellesley College Presidents (Bates, Clapp, Freeman, Howard, Newell, McAfee), students, founder Pauline Durant and her son Harry, buildings and views on campus as well as some from the town of Wellesley, organizations and teams (Glee Club, Orchestra, Basketball, Crew, Hockey, Archery, Ethos Choir, Senate, Barnswallows), activities (students studying, domestic work), and events (plays, a 1919 political rally, Tree Day).

Series VII. Awards, medals, plaques, and memorials (1875-2001) consists of cups won at college competitions, both athletic and academic, and plaques and a vase in memory of Wellesley College affiliated individuals (Mary Whiton Calkins, Carla Wenckebach, and Katharine Lee Bates). Includes medals from various schools (Yale University, Hunter College, University of Brussels, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Athens University), organizations (the Massachusetts Horticultural Society), and commemorations (the centennial of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, the centennial of the Battle of Lexington, the centennial of the Town of Wellesley). Of note is the Presidential Medal of Freedom won by Marjory Stoneman Douglas in 1993 to honor her conservation of the Everglades, and a medal issued by the German government following the sinking of the British RMS Lusitania (1915).

Series VIII. Stone and tile (1915 and undated) consists of a fragment of the cornerstone of the Central Dormitory (with an accompanying program for the Corner Stone Ceremony), a fragment of Plymouth Rock (supposedly where the Mayflower Pilgrims landed in 1620), a tableau and a tile fragment (provenance unknown).

Series IX. Boxes (circa 1877, 1946 and undated) consists of a leather jewelry box and a metal jewelry box with the Wellesley College crest, a Class Letter Box to hold Round Robin letters (of the Class of 1888), and a jewelry box made by a student as a gift for President Ada L. Howard. See also Series X. which includes a jewelry box belonging to the Fowle family.

Series X. Fowle and Durant family (circa 1775, 1823-1863) consists of objects relating to college founders Mr. and Mrs. Durant’s grandfather, Captain John Fowle, and his time serving in the Revolutionary War, including three bullets from a supply of ammunition stored in a colonial meeting house in Lincoln, Massachusetts, the Insignia of the Order of the Cincinnati, and a framed invitation to attend the Standing Committee meeting of the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati. Series also consists of personal objects of Pauline Adeline Fowle Durant, including her wedding handkerchief, a locket with a picture of her son Henry “Harry” Fowle Durant Jr., a jewelry box, a brooch, embroidery by relative Mary Cooke Fowle, cousin Mrs. Bissell, and portraits of family members including her parents, her husband Henry, and herself in wedding garb. Series also includes objects of Pauline Adeline Fowle Durant’s father, Major (later Lieutenant Colonel) John “Jack” Fowle, such as his pocket guide of the United States, a “Little Housewife” doll made for him by Pauline, a mourning pin containing a lock of his hair, a book by Revered Charles Caleb Colton.

Series XI. College Hall and the College Hall Fire (1881-circa 1915) consists of objects found in the ruins of College Hall after the 1914 March 17 College Hall Fire, including two keys and a belt buckle. Also includes other College Hall objects, such as a fragment of marble and of flooring from the hall, a glass paperweight with College Hall's image, and a stamp box with a College Hall design. Of note are two “Waste Not, Want Not” plates which were sold to alumnae to fundraise for reconstruction after the College Hall Fire.


  • circa 1775, 1823-2009


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research, but contains some material which has been restricted as per the Wellesley College Archives Access Policy: To make an appointment to view unrestricted 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.


54.6 Linear Feet (24 boxes, 45 oversize boxes)

Language of Materials



Greek, Ancient (to 1453)



The Objects collection is an 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 or format. 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.

This collection was artificially created because archival objects are often used in different ways from documents, and this finding aid will aid in their discovery. Some items in the Objects collection also pertain to other collections in the Wellesley College Archives. For example, the 1MF Founders collection overlaps with Objects collection Series VIII. Fowle and Durant family, 1823-1863, and the 1VF College Hall Fire collection overlaps with Objects collection Series IX. College Hall and the College Hall Fire, 1881-circa 1915. Archives staff aim to crosslist all objects so that they are discoverable in this finding aid as well as in related collection finding aids, but that work is in progress. In the meantime, if you would like assistance identifying a related collection, please contact Archives staff.

The collection is arranged into eleven series. Series I. Jewelry, 1880-2005; Series II. Dining ware, 1882-1992; Series III. Tools and games, 1882, 1915-1975; Series IV. Printing plates, embossing stamps, and seals, circa 1934-1957 and undated; Series V. Textiles and clothing, circa 1884-2000 and undated; Series VI. Photographic materials and portraits, 1874-1974; Series VII. Awards, medals, plaques, and memorials, 1875-2001; Series VIII. Stone and tile, 1915 and undated; Series IX. Boxes, circa 1877, 1946 and undated; Series X. Fowle and Durant family, circa 1775, 1823-1863; and Series XI. College Hall and the College Hall Fire, 1881-circa 1915. The first nine series of this collection were grouped by object format and function. The tenth and eleventh series were grouped by subject.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Because this is an artificial collection, items within the collection have varied sources of acquisition. When that information was known, it was included in an item-level Immediate Source of Acquisition note.
Wellesley College. Objects collection, circa 1775, 1823-2009: a guide
In Progress
Item-level description and rehousing by Kendall You Mak, Student Assistant. Collection and series-level arrangement and description by Natalia Gutiérrez-Jones, Project Archivist.
2019 September 16
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Wellesley College Archives Repository