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COLLECTION Identifier: SC 75

Papers of Helen Homans Gilbert, 1942-1986


Correspondence, speeches, minutes, clippings, etc., of Helen Homans Gilbert, Radcliffe College Class of 1936.


  • 1942-1986

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Helen Homans Gilbert 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.


.63 linear feet ((1+1/2 file boxes) plus 1 folio+ folder, 1 folio+ volume, 1 folio+ photograph folder)
This collection consists of speeches, clippings, minutes and correspondence pertaining to Radcliffe and the Harvard/Radcliffe merger negotiations; minutes and correspondence re the Mary I. Bunting Scholarship Fund, appointment book when Helen Homans Gilbert was Acting President, 1964-1965, honorary degree from Tufts and Harvard Medal; the Helen Homans Gilbert Prize Lectureship, oral history interviews with Jane S. Knowles and Anne Meyer, and photographs.


Helen Homans Gilbert was born in Quincy, Massachusetts, October 29, 1913, the third child of Robert Homans, a Boston lawyer, and Abigail Adams Homans. She attended Winsor School, Westover School and was graduated from Radcliffe College (AB, 1936). She married Carl J. Gilbert, Harvard JD'31, Chairman of the Gillette Corporation, immediately after college. When he joined the National Guard and went abroad, Helen was active in medical research at the Harvard School of Public Health, 1942-1944, The Massachusetts General Hospital, 1942-1944, and the Vincent Memorial Hospital, 1945-1947.

Gilber carried on her family's tradition of public service. She was closely associated with Radcliffe as Trustee, 1950-1972, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, 1955-1972, and member of the Council. She was acting President of Radcliffe, 1964-1965, and took part in two presidential searches.

She served on the boards of Westover School (1968-1970), the Permanent Charity Fund of Boston, and the Boston Fenway Program, Inc. She was a member of the Harvard Campaign Committee, and first woman member (1970-1976), then President (1975-1976), of Harvard's Board of Overseers.

In 1965 Gilbert received the Radcliffe Alumnae Recognition Award and in 1969 part of Currier House was named Gilbert Hall in her honor.

In 1978, Radcliffe established the Helen Homans Gilbert Award for Distinguished Volunteer Service and named her the first recipient of the award. She received honorary degrees from Tufts University (1976) and Harvard University (1978).

In 1981, Gilbert joined volunteers at the Radcliffe College Archives where she was cataloguer of Radcliffe presidential papers and did oral history interviews. She served as the Chair of the Schlesinger Library Advisory Committee from 1981 to 1986.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: R82-31, R86-28, R88-34

This collection was given to the Radcliffe College Archives by Helen Gilbert in June 1982, June 1986, and September 1988.

Index to 20vf

  1. Abley, J.F., Treasurer of General Foods Corp, 8
  2. Beal, Thaddeus, 11
  3. Browne, Alice Billings '15, 13
  4. Bunting, Mary Ingraham, 2,5,8,9,18
  5. Commencement, 5,9,11
  6. Cronkhite, Bernice Brown '16, 11
  7. Dry, Isabelle Bland '35, 11
  8. Gilbert, Helen Homans '36, passim
  9. Harvard Board of Overseers, 15-24
  10. Hurley, Miriam Greene '31, 1
  11. Luncheon, 4,13,18
  12. Lyman, Susan Storey '49, 9
  13. Memorial Hall, 9
  14. Moors Hall (Quad), 1
  15. Sherman, Mildred AM '32, 4

Processing Information

Processed: April 1992

By: Isabelle Bland Dry, '35
Link to catalog
Gilbert, Helen Homans, 1913-1989. Papers of Helen Homans Gilbert, 1942-1986: A Finding Aid
Radcliffe College Archives, 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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