Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: MC 775: T-215

Additional papers of Ida Sophia Scudder, 1886-1991


Addenda to the papers (MC 205) of Ida Sophia Scudder, medical missionary and physician.


  • Creation: 1886-1991

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Conditions Governing Access

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 Ida Sophia Scudder 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.


4.59 linear feet ((11 file boxes) plus 2 folio folders, 5 folio+ folders, 1 oversize folder, 13 photograph folders, 5 folio photograph folders, 1 folio+ photograph folder, 1 audiotape)

This collection was originally inventoried as 84-M159 and consisted of folders #1-7, 8f+, 9f+, 10-17f, 18v-28v. The order of these folders remains the same and they are represented below by #1.1-1.7, F+D.1-F+D.2, PD.1-PD.7, PD.8f, and 1.8-2.6. The material added in October 2013 is represented by all file units from PD.9 to the end.

This collection complements MC 205 and contains similar types of material, including correspondence, writings, photographs, guest and address books, and printed material concerning Ida S. Scudder and Christian Medical College and Hospital. There are also tributes and an album dedicated to Gertrude Dodd, Scudder's colleague, who gave generously to the college and who served as college bursar and registrar. Also included are diaries, datebooks, correspondence, photographs of Ida B. Scudder.

In June 1984, Ida B. Scudder gave other papers and photographs to the Christian Medical College and Hospital in Vellore and to the Scudder Association. A listing of these papers may be found in #1.1.


Like her parents and many other members of her family, Ida Sophia Scudder was a medical missionary in India. She was born in Ranipet on December 9, 1870, the youngest child and only daughter of John and Sophia (Weld) Scudder.

When she was eight, her parents took a sabbatical and the family went to live on a farm in Nebraska. In 1887 she was sent to the Northfield School for Girls in Northfield, Massachusetts, where she studied until her mother's ill health forced her return to India in 1890.

During this visit with her family Scudder became aware of the great need for women doctors. She returned to the United States to study medicine at the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania (1895), transferring three years later to Cornell Medical College (New York City) as one of the first six women admitted. She received her M. D. degree in 1899 and returned to India in 1900.

Within two years of her return Scudder had built the Mary Taber Schell Memorial Hospital at Vellore; in 1909 a school of nursing for native women was established. Vellore Christian Medical College, the first Christian medical college in South India to train women doctors, was opened in 1918 with Scudder as its principal. Though she retired in 1946, Scudder remained active in the work of the hospital until her death on May 24, 1960, at the age of 89.

For further biographical information on Ida Scudder, see Notable American Women, The Modern Period (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1984).

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 84-M159, 88-M93, 88-M105, 88-M129, 94-M120

These addenda to the papers of Ida Sophia Scudder were given to the Schlesinger Library in September 1984 by Ida B. Scudder, Ida S.Scudder's niece, with the assistance of Susan Swanson. Accession numbers 88-M93, 88-M105, 88-M129 were also given by Ida B. Scudder and were added in October 2013. Accession number 94-M120 was given by Oliver Wooller in September 1994 and was also added in October 2013.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Ida Sophia Scudder Papers, 1853-1967 (MC 205).

Processing Information

Preliminary inventory: February 1985

Updated: October 2013

By: Anne Engelhart

Scudder, Ida Sophia, 1870-1960. Additional papers of Ida Sophia Scudder, 1886-1991: 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.

3 James St.
Cambridge MA 02138 USA