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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 1244

Congratulatory letters to Sybil H. Holmes on her election to the Massachusetts Senate, 1936


Letters sent to Sybil H. Holmes congratulating her on being elected to the Massachusetts Senate in 1936.


  • Creation: 1936


Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Sybil H. Holmes 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.


.21 linear feet (1/2 file box)

The collection contains letters sent to Sybil H. Holmes congratulating her on being elected to the Massachusetts Senate in 1936. Several letters note Holmes's accomplishment of being the first woman to serve in the Massachusetts Senate.


Sybil Henry Holmes, daughter of Henry T. and Helen E. Bangs Holmes, was born June 20, 1889, in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts. She graduated from Bellingham High School in Chelsea, Massachusetts, and received legal training in the office of Francis P. Garland. She was admitted to the Massachusetts bar in 1911, becoming the youngest woman to become a lawyer in the United States. Holmes became active in the Republican Party and began participating in local politics in Brookline, Massachusetts, where she ran unsuccessfully for the board of selectman in 1923. In 1922, she was appointed to the Massachusetts Commission on Unemployment and Minimum Wage and served on the Massachusetts Bay Colony Tercentenary Committee. From 1930 to 1934, she served as Assistant Attorney General. She later became the first woman appointed master by the Massachusetts courts. In 1936, she became the first woman elected to the Massachusetts Senate. On February 14, 1938, she presided over an afternoon Senate session, becoming the first woman to do so. She lost her bid for reelection in 1938. She launched a failed campaign to become state treasurer in 1942. From 1948 to 1959, she was recorder of the Massachusetts Land Court. In 1961, she ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Boston City Council. Holmes died July 22, 1979, in Roxbury, Massachusetts.

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2023-M22

The letters congratulating Sybil H. Holmes on her election to the Massachusetts Senate were acquired from Between the Covers Rare Books in February 2023.

Processing Information

Processed: August 2023

By: Johanna Carll

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.

Holmes, Sybil H., 1889-1979. Congratulatory letters to Sybil H. Holmes on her election to the Massachusetts Senate, 1936: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by the Alice Jeannette Ward 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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