Records of Radcliffe College President Elizabeth Cabot Cary Agassiz, 1879-1978
Correspondence, speeches, reports, etc., of Elizabeth Cabot Cary Agassiz, first president of Radcliffe College.
Language of Materials
Materials in English.
Extent1 linear feet (1 carton)
This collection consists of incoming correspondence, some draft outgoing letters, speeches, reports, commencement addresses, and other papers by and about Agassiz. The papers document the Harvard-Radcliffe relationship, Radcliffe's incorporation (1894), the alumnae revolt protesting the denial of the Harvard degree to Radcliffe students, and negotiations over the award of the Ph.D at Radcliffe. There is information about bequests to the college, and fundraising campaigns. The papers were collected by Lucy Allen Paton, Agassiz's biographer, and some were published in LAP's biography The Life of Elizabeth Cary Agassiz (Boston, 1919).
Elizabeth Cary Agassiz, educator and college president, was born in Boston, December 5, 1822 and married the Swiss naturalist Louis Agassiz in 1850. She was an educational reformer, member of the Woman's Education Association, but never an advocate of women's suffrage or of co-education. Agassiz administered the Agassiz School for Girls from 1855 to 1863. She was one of the managers of the program for the Private Collegiate Instruction for Women (also known as the Harvard Annex); was president of the Society for the Collegiate Instruction of Women (1882-1894), first president of Radcliffe 1894-1900, and then honorary president, 1900-1903.
Agassiz guided the college through its early years. She negotiated the permanent institutional tie with Harvard and the incorporation of Radcliffe College in 1894 as a degree-granting agency. Her addresses at "parlor meetings" elicited substantial support for the college and made possible the purchase of properties bordering on Brattle, Mason, Garden, Streets and Appian Way which eventually formed the Radcliffe Yard, and the Phillips and Bemis estate on Concord Avenue which was laid out by her nephew Guy Lowell as the dormitory quadrangle. The funds for Agassiz House were raised largely by the Agassiz family as an eightieth birthday tribute in 1902, and became the student center and third permanent building in the Yard.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Accession number: R87-32
This collection was received from Bay Bank Harvard Trust Company and deposited in the Radcliffe College Archives on loan in August, 1978.
Processed: November 1987
By: Jane S. Knowles
- Agassiz House (Cambridge, Mass.)
- Eliot, Charles William, 1834-1926
- Harvard University. Graduate School of Education
- Paton, Lucy Allen
- Radcliffe College
- Radcliffe Yard (Cambridge, Mass.)
- Women--Education--Great Britain--History--19th century
- Women--Education--United States.
- Agassiz, Elizabeth Cabot Cary, 1822-1907. Records of Radcliffe College President Elizabeth Cabot Cary Agassiz, 1879-1978: A Finding Aid
- Radcliffe College Archives, Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
- Language of description
- EAD ID
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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