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COLLECTION Identifier: RA.A/W615s

Sarah Whitman collection, 1904-2013


Biographical essay about Sarah Wyman Whitman compiled by Betty S. Smith; color slides of Whitman's work; and clippings, tributes, and articles about Whitman's work and family history.


  • 1904-2013

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the biography of Sarah Whitman and the index to the slides of her work is held by Betty S. Smith. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Photocopying of folders 1 and 2 is allowed only with written permission of Betty S. Smith. Other papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


3 folders

This collection contains a biographical essay compiled by Betty S. Smith, and color slides of Sarah Whitman's work. There are also clippings, tributes, and articles about Whitman's work and family history. In addition, there is information about Nahant Village Church in Nahant, Massachusetts, which has stained glass windows by Whitman.


Sarah (Wyman) Whitman was born in 1942, the daughter of William Wyman and Sarah Amanda Treat. Her family moved from Maryland to Massachusetts in 1853, but little is known of her childhood or early education. After marrying lawyer Henry Whitman in 1866, she studied art under William Morris Hunt, William Rimmer, and Thomas Couture. By 1876, her artwork was frequently exhibited, both in Massachusetts and New York. Around 1880, Whitman became renowned for book cover design, stained glass, and interior decoration. She helped to design the interior of Fay House, Radcliffe College, when it was renovated, 1891-1893, and planned the interior decoration of Bertram Hall. Her design for the Radcliffe shield was used until 1936.

Sarah Whitman was active in the community. She was a deeply religious woman, and taught Bible classes for thirty years. She was keenly interested in women's education and served on the Council of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts' School (1897), the Associates and Council of Radcliffe College (1886-1904), was chairman of the Radcliffe House Committee (1894), and was president of the Women's Auxiliary of the Massachusetts Civil Service Reform Association (1901-1904).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: R84-28, R86-10

Folders #1-2 of the Sarah Whitman collection were given to the Schlesinger library by Betty S. Smith in October 1984 and March 1986. Folder #3 was transferred from Radcliffe College Archives biographical file in 1993. Information on the Nahant Village Church (folder #3) was a given to the Schlesinger Library by Polly Lewis Bradley in 2013.

Processing Information

Processed: November 1992

By: Vicky Clisham '95

Updated and additional description added: November 2022

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 Class of 1957 Schlesinger Library Fund and the Kim A. Bendheim 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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