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COLLECTION Identifier: 89-M116--89-M176

Papers of Freda M. De Pillis, 1936-1976


Journals and letters of Freda M. De Pillis, social worker.


  • Creation: 1936-1976

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research. As of April 2018, journals dated after September 30, 1950 are no longer closed.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Freda M. De Pillis 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.


1.25 linear feet ((2 file boxes, 2 half file boxes) plus 1 folio folder)

This collection consists almost entirely of writings - journals and letters - by Freda M. De Pillis. The journals begin in 1936, when she was eleven; she continues to add to them. Included Freda Mae (Rustemeyer) are both the original journals, 1936-1976, and typed transcripts for the same period. De Pillis has recorded her daily life, her observations, activities and concerns, and often her feelings. In the earliest journals she describes farm life, chores, the seasons, and school in rural Missouri. Later, at Chicago, she discusses her feelings as a woman of twenty-five beginning college alongside eighteen- and nineteen-year-olds; she describes her social life and her relationships with peers, teachers, employers, and family, and chronicles her failures and successes in various courses and the process of deciding what to study and choosing a career. In later years, De Pillis has continued to write of her work, family, and other experiences and describe her responses to them, her doubts, hopes, worries, and joys.

In her letters from Japan, De Pillis wrote to her family about her work with the occupation forces, describing her social life, her travels in Japan, and her impressions of the country. Miscellaneous papers from this period include occupation forces newsletters and clippings.


Freda Mae Rustemeyer was born and raised on a farm outside Linn, Missouri; her parents were Fred and Julia (Bogler) Rustemeyer, and she had three sisters: Dorothy, Marcella, and Mary Ellen. She worked in Japan with the occupation forces of the United States Army, as a clerk in the Adjutant General's office, 1947-1949.

Upon her return to the United States, she attended the University of Chicago, earning a Master of Social Work degree in 1954. While there, she met and married a fellow student, Mario S. De Pillis, who became a professor of history; they had three sons: Vincent, Mario, Jr., and Alexander. The family lived in Chicago, New Haven, Connecticut, and Berkeley, California, before settling in Amherst, Massachusetts. De Pillis pursued her profession of social work in all these places.

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 89-M116, 89-M176

These papers were given to the Schlesinger Library by Freda M. De Pillis in June and September 1989.


  1. Box 1: 1-16v
  2. Box 2: 17v-24
  3. Box 3: 25v-36v
  4. Box 4: 37-42

Processing Information

Preliminary inventory: July 1990

By: Aviva Dorfman

De Pillis, Freda M.. Papers of Freda M. De Pillis, 1936-1976: 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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