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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 206

Papers of Ruth Holden, 1907-1961 (inclusive), 1907-1918 (bulk)


Correspondence, biographical material, etc., of Ruth Holden, paleobotanist.


  • Creation: 1907-1961
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1907-1918

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Ruth Holden as well as 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.


.21 linear feet (1/2 file box)

The collection consists mainly of letters written by Ruth Holden between 1907 and 1917, mainly to her parents or to Louise Hodge Lahee, a Radcliffe classmate. There are also biographical essays and letters about Ruth Holden, her papers, and the Ruth Holden Memorial Fellowship.


Ruth Holden was born on November 27, 1890, in Attleboro, Massachusetts, the daughter of Dr. Charles S. and Mrs. Caroline Sanford Holden. She attended Attleboro High School and Radcliffe College, where she studied paleobotany with Professor E. C. Jeffrey; she graduated magna cum laude in 1911, and earned her M.A. in 1912. In 1913, several fellowships made it possible for her to go to England, where she devoted herself to research at Newnham College, Cambridge.

Shortly after the war broke out in 1914, Ruth Holden took a Red Cross nurses' training course, worked in hospitals in England, and, in January 1916, went to Russia with the first Millicent Fawcett Medical Unit to establish maternity hospitals for Polish refugees. Ruth Holden learned Russian and Polish, and was appointed interpreter and courier for the unit. After some time in Petrograd, she went on to Kazan to help establish a hospital for Polish refugee children. In her spare time she continued some of her work in paleobotany at the university there. She traveled extensively in Russia to distribute supplies to hospitals, and wrote of the hardships involved in letters to her parents and friends. In January 1917 she was stricken with typhoid fever. When nearly recovered, she fell ill with meningitis and died at Kazan in April.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 504, 507

The papers of Ruth Holden were deposited with the Schlesinger Library in 1962 by Mrs. Frederic H. Lahee.

Processing Information

Processed: July 1974

By: Anne Whittington


Holden, Ruth, 1890-1917. Papers of Ruth Holden, 1907-1961 (inclusive), 1907-1918 (bulk): 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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