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COLLECTION Identifier: A/S474

Letters from Gladys Sen to Corinne Serpe, 1937-1939


Letters from Gladys Sen to her pen pal, Corinne Serpe, who lived in Illinois, describing teenage life in Hawaii.


  • 1937-1939


Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Gladys Sen as well as copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


1 folder

The collection consists of eleven letters from Gladys Sen to her pen pal, Corinne Serpe, who lived in Summit, Illinois. The letters describe teenage life in Hawaii. Sen recounts her favorite hobbies, such as fashion, sewing, and drawing, as well as sports like basketball, volleyball, hiking with her friends, and swimming at the beach. She also mentions reading magazines such as Look and Click, and movies she likes. Sen describes her course of studies in high school, including House Planning and Decorating, Weaving, Physical Education, and Core Studies, and her work running the school carnival. In addition, the letters vividly describe the landscape of Hawaii, including the beaches, mountains, flowers, and fruit trees. Sen also describes Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve celebrations in Honolulu with firecrackers, crowds, and decorated palm trees. She also writes about her appearance and mentions her brother Mannfried's reaction to Serpe's photograph ("Connie is very gorgeous and carries a sweetest smile").


Gladys Sen lived in Honolulu, Hawaii, in the late 1930s. In 1938 she was a senior in high school and had a brother named Mannfried. The family was probably Chinese American. They lived on North Kukui Street, near the border of Honolulu's Chinatown.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2021-M33

The letters from Gladys Sen were acquired from Read 'Em Again Books in March 2021.

Processing Information

Processed: December 2021

By: Paula Aloisio

The Schlesinger Library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.  Finding aids may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.


Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by gifts from the Pforzheimer Fund for the Schlesinger Library and Class of 1957 Schlesinger Library Fund.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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