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College anniversaries records

Identifier: 1VA

Scope and Contents

Collection consists of records from college anniversaries, dating from 1925-2000, including correspondence, event materials and programs, planning documents, publicity records, and fundraising records, related conferences, reports, and publications. Collection is arranged in four series. Series I. 50th Anniversary (1925) consists of records from the college’s 50th Anniversary in 1925, including letters of congratulations, event programs, records from Semi-Centennial Fund campaign, records of schools, colleges, associations, and individuals regarding participation in the event, and a scroll from the French government which accompanied a gift of statues and vases. Series II. 75th Anniversary (1946-1950) consists of records from the college’s 75th Anniversary (1946-1950) including a report on expected expenses, conferences and events held, and the 75th Anniversary edition of the Alumnae Magazine. Series III. Centennial (1950, 1975) consists of records from the college’s 75th Anniversary (1946-1950) including a report on expected expenses, conferences and events held, and the 75th Anniversary edition of the Alumnae Magazine. Series IV. 125th Anniversary (2000) includes records of fundraising and events held.


  • 1925-2000


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

This collection covers the planning and events of anniversary celebrations held by Wellesley College, including the 50th in 1925, the 75th in 1950, the 100th in 1975, and the 125th in 2000.

The Fiftieth Anniversary celebration (also referred to as the Semi-Centennial) took place on May 29th, 1925. The day involved academic exercises in the Chapel in the morning including an address by President James Rowland Angell of Yale University, a luncheon with multiple speeches, open tours of college buildings and outdoor games during the afternoon, followed by a dinner held by the Eta of Massachusetts Chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. The celebration also involved three nights of performances of a pageant titled “The Winged Soul,” on May 28-30th. Efforts to fundraise for the Semi-Centennial Fund preceded the celebrations, beginning in 1921. By 1927, the total raised for the fund was $7,255,076. [Information from: Report of the President 1924-1926, page 18; Report of the President 1926-1927, page 12.]

The 75th Anniversary of the college was marked by convocations, including a Science Conference held in March 1949, a three-day Conference on Constructive Forces in Education held in October 1949, and a two-day Conference on Significant Sources of Security held on June 13-14. On the anniversary of the signing of Wellesley College’s charter, March 17, 1950, the college installed new President Margaret Clapp and conferred honorary degrees to eleven women. A Seventy-Fifth Anniversary Fund campaign ran from 1947-1950, and raised a total of $4,357,794 as of June 30, 1950. [Information from: Report of the President 1950, pages 7-11.]

The college launched a Centennial Fund campaign in 1972, with a goal of raising $70.7 million. The Centennial Ball was a student-sponsored event that took place in Alumnae Hall on April 19th, 1975 to fundraise for the campaign. A Centennial Carnival took place on April 28, 1975. The college hired Jean Glasscock (Class of 1933) to write a history of the college as Centennial Historian (she had previously served as Director of Publicity and Coordinator of Special Events). Glasscock worked with thirteen trustees, professors, and administrators on this history, and conducted oral history interviews as part of the process. Their book titled “Wellesley College 1875-1975: A Century of Women” was published in March, 1975. A Centennial Office was opened in September 1971 to plan the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the college, led by Nancy Lewis. A Centennial Steering Committee was established, led by chairman Margaret Watts Case (Class of 1937), and including students, faculty, staff, and alumnae. The slogan “Here Begins a New Life” or in Latin “Incipit nova vita” was chosen for Wellesley’s second hundred years. The official Centennial year was determined to be March 1975 (marking the anniversary of the signing of the college charter) to June 1976 (marking Commencement). A program put on by students and faculty was held on September 8, 1975 (the anniversary of the college’s opening); the same day there were exhibits of historical materials from the college’s earliest days. [Information from: Report of the President 1950, page 19, and from file “Centennial, 1975-1976” in 1SD Records of the Publicity Office, Box 3 Folder 15. See also: "Wellesley College 1875-1975: A Century of Women” by Jean Glasscock, 1975, at URL:]

From late March to mid-June 2001, the exhibit “Bricks and Mortarboards: Wellesley College 1875-1975” was held at the Davis Museum, featuring clothes, photos, furniture, and art from Wellesley College’s first 100 years. The weekend of Friday, April 20th, 2001, the anniversary conference "Women Who Will: A Celebration of Wellesley College Alumnae and their Life Paths” took place, featuring Hillary Clinton and Madeleine Albright as keynote speakers. [Information from: Cassidy, Tina. “Classic Couture Shows,” Boston Globe, March 31, 2001. Fran, Riley. “Clinton, Albright Encourage Students.” Boston Globe, April 21, 2001.]


1.6 Linear Feet (4 boxes)

Language of Materials



This 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. 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.

Collection is arranged in four series: Series I. 50th Anniversary (1925), Series II. 75th Anniversary (1946-1950) Series III. Centennial (1950, 1975), and Series IV. 125th Anniversary (2000). Files within series arranged chronologically.


Wellesley College. College anniversaries records, 1925-2000: a guide
File-level description by Student Assistant Sophia Pechaty, collection-level description by Natalia Gutierrez-Jones, Project Archivist.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Wellesley College Archives Repository