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COLLECTION Identifier: 85-M33--87-M110

Papers of Martha Elizabeth Chew, 1924-1985


Correspondence of Martha Elizabeth Chew, teacher.


  • 1924-1985

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Martha Elizabeth Chew 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.


.42 linear feet ((1 file box) plus 1 folio+ folder, 2 motion pictures)
The bulk of the collection is correspondence and concerns Martha Elizabeth Chew's childhood in North Carolina during the 1940s and 1950s, and her college years, 1959-1963. Most of the letters were written by Chew to her parents and grandparents, although others are included. In particular, the letters and photographs provide a continuous record of her life at Agnes Scott College. Later correspondence centers on her studies and teaching at Boston University. Also included are samples of Chew's writing, ranging from stories written in grade school through high school poetry competitions to several theater pieces. Of particular interest for its glimpses into the mind of an adolescent is a photograph album from a trip she took to Florida with a group of girlfriends in 1958.

Because much of the correspondence during the college years was repetitious, the processors have weeded it considerably. Letters detailing conflicts with parents or other unusual matters were retained, but generally only one letter in five remains in the collection.


Martha Elizabeth Chew was born on January 9, 1941, in Statesville, North Carolina, to Robert Lee Chew and Sarah Catherine (Cox) Chew; the family moved to Winston-Salem early in Chew's childhood. With a B.A. in English (1963) from Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia, she attended summer writing workshops at the State University of Iowa in Iowa City, and received an M.A. from Johns Hopkins University(1964), and a Ph.D. in English from Boston University (1976) with a dissertation on Flannery O'Connor. She married Robert Stephen Blaisdell in 1966; they were later divorced. She taught at Boston University, Tufts Experimental College, and Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Sciences, where she was associate professor of English. She founded the Women's Center at MCP/AHS in 1982 and died on October 9, 1984.

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 85-M33, 85-M45, 87-M110

The papers of Martha Elizabeth Chew were given to the Schlesinger Library by Helen Vendler in February 1985 and by Marian Connor in March 1985.

Processing Information

Preliminary inventory: September 1985

By: Anne Engelhart,Michael G. McDonald
Link to catalog
Chew, Martha Elizabeth, 1941-1984. Papers of Martha Elizabeth Chew, 1924-1985: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America

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.

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