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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 467

Papers of Evelyn Lorraine Schmitt Wallace, 1934-1981


Diaries and correspondence of Evelyn Lorraine Schmitt Wallace, homemaker and teacher.


  • Creation: 1934-1981


Language of Materials

Materials in English.


Access. Unrestricted.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. 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.


4.17 linear feet ((10 file boxes) plus 1 folio folder, 1 photograph folder)

The collection consists primarily of diaries, notebooks, correspondence, and household account books detailing her daily activities, menus, housekeeping chores, and finances. Also included are papers and certificates from Wallace's childhood and from her academic career. There are also some photocopies of photographs in the collection, the originals were not included (see folders #14,15, and 121).

Her diaries, which were transcribed and annotated in detail by her husband, describe her daily activities as a housewife and mother. The later diaries become more personal and reflective, as her illness progresses. She describes her experiences as a cancer patient and her ways of coping with the disease. There is one letter in particular that is addressed to her family, in which she reveals her acceptance of the disease and, ultimately, her fate. The letter was inserted by Wallace in the 1980 diary (see folder #43).

In organizing Wallace's correspondence, David Wallace arranged it by correspondent and provided short biographical descriptions. As a young adult, Wallace would use her last name (Schmitt) and the anglicized version (Smith) interchangeably. She is also addressed by an apparent nickname, "Mike," in the early correspondence with her sister Edith and friend Doris (Borrup) Kelly.

Many of the notebooks and diaries were held together with metal fasteners. These were removed and the pages numbered. There were also many clippings, cards, lists, and photographs which were included in various volumes. Most of these items were removed and refoldered as necessary. Wallace had a habit of flagging sections in the household journals with tabs attached with tape. These were removed and replaced with strips of acid free paper with the appropriate titles printed on them.


Evelyn Lorraine (Schmitt) Wallace was born in Stratford, Connecticut, on September 18, 1923, to Irma (Bunnell) and Percy J. Schmitt. She attended Bridgeport Junior College and studied isometric draftsmanship at the Academy of Aeronautics, East Elmhurst, New York. In 1945, she moved to New York City where she earned her B.A. in English literature (Barnard College, 1947) and an M.A. from Columbia University (1951). In May 1954, she married David Harold Wallace, an assistant editor for the New York Historical Society and a Ph.D. candidate in American history at Columbia University. Evelyn worked in the personnel office at Columbia University until shortly before the birth of their first child, John Rogers, in August 1955. They had two more children: Anne Bradstreet (1957) and Edith Bunnell (1959).

In 1957, David joined the National Park Service as Park Historian at Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia. Wallace split her time between raising her children and keeping house. By the time she was fifty years old, she was determined to re-enter the workforce and earned her teaching certificate from Hood College. She began teaching English at St. John's Literary Institute at Prospect Hall in Frederick, Maryland, in 1973, and soon became head of the English Department. In July 1974, Wallace had a mastectomy in order to remove a lump which proved to be malignant. In 1979, due to her declining health, she resigned from her teaching post. A seizure in 1980 left her partially paralyzed, and she was admitted into Homewood Retirement Center in Frederick, Maryland. She died on August 15, 1981.

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 97-M75, 97-M96, 99-M151

These papers were given to the Schlesinger Library by David H. Wallace between June 1997 and September 1999.


  1. Box 1: 1-2, 4-19
  2. Box 2: 20v-25
  3. Box 3: 26v-34
  4. Box 4: 35v-48
  5. Box 5: 49-65
  6. Box 6: 66-73
  7. Box 7: 74-79
  8. Box 8: 80-84
  9. Box 9: 85v-104
  10. Box 10: 105v-122

Processing Information

Processed: May 2000

By: Samantha Boyle

Wallace, Evelyn Lorraine Schmitt, 1923-1981. Papers of Evelyn Lorraine Schmitt Wallace, 1934-1981: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description

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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