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COLLECTION Identifier: SC 144

Papers of Edith Culver Hagar, 1905-2000


Diaries and other Radcliffe and Harvard papers of Edith Hagar documenting the social lives of college students and cultural life in Boston and Cambridge.


  • Creation: 1905-2000

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 Radcliffe Archives. 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.


8.6 linear feet ((17 + 1/2 file boxes, 1 folio+ box) plus 3 folio folders, 1 folio+ folder, 1 oversize folder)

This collection is divided into two series: the papers of Edith (Culver) Hagar (Series I), and the papers of her husband, Donald Chisholm Hagar (Series II). The Harvard/Radcliffe related papers document the social lives of college students, including their activities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and social/cultural activities in Cambridge and Boston. There are few mentions of political events. Additional materials received in June 2015 (accession number 2015-M97) were added to the collection in June 2015. These materials are housed in #3a and 223a. All other files remain in the same order.

Series I, Papers of Edith (Culver) Hagar (#1-245), contains personal and biographical information about Hagar; photographs; elementary school papers and notebooks, 1905-1914; yearbooks, literary magazines, playbills, dance cards, notes, and other papers from Hagar's student days in Taunton (Mass.) High School, 1915-1919; scrapbook, class notes, syllabi and exams, theater programs, dance cards and other ephemera from Radcliffe College, 1918-1922; diaries (#62-85), engagement calendars (#86v-145v), and items found within (#146-203), 1911-2000; correspondence (#204-239) with family, friends, boyfriends and future husband, 1910-1946 (scattered); and papers related to her trip to Europe in 1922.

Hagar made entries of varying lengths in diaries and engagement calendars for almost 90 years, beginning at age ten in 1911. Although the earlier diaries are more reflective, later ones consist largely of brief notations re: social plans, sailing excursions, menus and meals, wardrobe, weather, and health. Loose items originally folded up in these volumes have been removed and are foldered separately. Included are letters and postcards to Hagar; notes by Hagar; programs, invitations and ticket stubs; announcements and newsletters of garden clubs and women's clubs; loose pages, etc. There are also several letters from Hagar to her daughter Cynthia.

The correspondence includes letters from Hagar to her mother, 1913-1924; correspondence between Donald and Edith Hagar, 1922-1926; and letters to Hagar from boyfriends, friends, and others, 1914-1946 (scattered). Hagar's letters to her parents and grandmother (most are to her mother) describe summer camp in Vermont, her college days at Radcliffe College, travels through Europe after graduation, and her marriage to Donald Hagar. There is an extensive courtship correspondence between Edith and Donald Hagar, as well as numerous letters from earlier (and contemporaneous) suitors.

Series II, Papers of Donald Chisholm Hagar (#246-332), contains Donald Hagar's 5-year line-a-day diary, 1921, 1923, 1929; expense records while at Harvard College, ca.1918-1922; letters to Donald Hagar from family members, girlfriends, Harvard classmates, and others, 1917-1942 (scattered); his compositions for Harvard English courses, including professors' grades and comments, as well as class notes in other subjects; dinner and dance invitations and dance cards; The Tomahawk, 1921-1922; and miscellaneous items.

Donald Hagar's correspondence includes many letters from Edith and other girlfriends, as well as from Harvard classmates and other friends, some of whom traveled in the United States (especially the South) and sent him their impressions. Some of these letters discuss World War I, as well as his fraternity, Alpha Sigma Pi. Many of the letters and diary entries concern the health of Edith Hagar, Estella Carey Culver, Donald Hagar, and others.


Edith (Culver) Hagar was born May 2, 1901 in Taunton, Mass. The daughter of Henry Herbert Culver (1860-1959), owner of the Elizabeth Poole Cotton Mill in Taunton, and Estella Carey (Foulds) Culver (1872-1944), she graduated from Taunton High School in 1918, and received her A.B. from Radcliffe College in 1922. She had one brother, Henry (whom she sometimes called "Hen"), and a half-sister, Elizabeth. In 1924 she married Donald Chisholm Hagar (1900-1998), Harvard Class of 1922. They had two children: Donald (1926- ) and Cynthia (1929- ). Hagar was active in volunteer work, raising money for local hospitals, participating in garden clubs, church groups and women's clubs. She took courses through the Radcliffe Seminars. On July 9, 2001, Edith Hagar died in Sunrise Assisted Living, Cohasset, Massachusetts. She is buried in the Marshfield Hills Cemetery in Marshfield Hills, Mass. For additional biographical information, see the Radcliffe reunion reports for the Class of 1922.


The collection is arranged in two series:

  1. Series I. Papers of Edith (Culver) Hagar (#1-245)
  2. Series II. Papers of Donald Chisholm Hagar (#246-332)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: R2001-21, 2015-M97

The papers of Edith Culver Hagar were given to the Radcliffe Archives by her daughter, Cynthia Hagar Krusell, in October 2001 and in June 2015. Accession number 2015-M97 was added to the collection in June 2015 and is represented by #3a and 223a.


  1. Box 1: 1- 7; see Box 18 for 3a
  2. Box 2: 18-27, 29-33, 37
  3. Folio+ Box 3: 28vf+
  4. Box 4: 38-54
  5. Box 5: 55-69
  6. Box 6: 70-80
  7. Box 7: 81-97v
  8. Box 8: 98v-119v
  9. Box 9: 120v-137v
  10. Box 10: 138v-164
  11. Box 11: 165-198
  12. Box 12: 199-225
  13. Box 13: 226-243
  14. Box 14: 244-255
  15. Box 15: 256-271
  16. Box 16: 272-283, 285-290
  17. Box 17: 291-326
  18. Box 18: 3a, 327-332

Processing Information

Processed: May 2002

By: Katherine Kraft, Jennifer de Forest, Adina Gerver, Michael Guinan, Gregory Morisse, Melissa Hackman, Amy Lee, Katie Rohde

Updated and additional materials added: June 2015

By: Anne Engelhart

Hagar, Edith Culver, 1901-2001. Papers of Edith Culver Hagar, 1905-2000: A Finding Aid
Radcliffe College Archives, 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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