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Records of the Radcliffe College Office of the Dean, 1951-1979


Records of Radcliffe College's Office of the Dean, which was responsible for student counselling, housing and extra-curricular affairs


  • 1951-1979

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. RG VA is closed for 50 years from the date of creation except with the permission of the Dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Student records are closed for 80 years from the time of separation. Records must be screened by archivist before research use. Appointment may be required. Contact public services.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the records created by the Radcliffe College Office of the Dean 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. Records may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


6.67 linear feet (16 file boxes)
This collection contains the papers, 1959-1976 of Katherine Overmyer Elliott who held office from 1958 until her retirement in 1976, successively as Dean of Instruction, 1958-1963, Dean of the College, 1963-1971, Dean of Students, 1971-1973 and Vice-President, 1968-1976. Katherine Overmyer Elliott's office files reflect her overall responsibilities for academic affairs, student counselling and career planning. Annual reports illustrate, in addition to the changing functions of the office, the problems of student/staff relationships in the late 1960s arising from radical protest and altered social mores, and also the abiding and continuing intellectual achievement of students. There is information on the merger of the Administrative Boards of Harvard and Radcliffe in 1971 and on awards, prizes and Phi Beta Kappa selection which were Katherine Overmyer Elliott's responsibility until her retirement in 1976. Also included is information about the administrative structure which replaced the Office of the Dean of Students: the Office of Women's Education.

For related material see RG V, ser. 1, ser. 2, and ser. 3, Records of the Dean of Instruction RG Vc, ser. 1 and ser. 2 Records of the Office of Women's Education and Radcliffe Forum.

In 2015, Boxes 5, 7, 10, 11, and 13 were screened by an archivist. Some files were determined to need closure due to the presence of student or personnel records. These closures are noted in the inventory.


The Office of the Dean was created in 1894, after the incorporation of Radciffe College, with overall responsibility for graduates' and undergraduates' academic and extra-curricular life. In 1934 the Radcliffe Graduate School became administratively separate, and the Dean's office was divided into the Office of the Graduate Dean and the Dean of the College. In 1946 the office was again divided. The Dean of Instruction took over responsibility for academic affairs while the Dean of the College retained responsibility for advising, for residence and student extra-curricular affairs. A reorganization in 1950 led to further expansion: the Dean of Instruction retained control over academic affairs, the Dean of Residence (first appointed in 1949) was in charge of housing and student affairs, and the Dean of College Relations in charge of liaison with alumnae, fundraising, and special projects. The title and office of the Dean of the College was in abeyance from 1950-1963. 1961-1970, with the creation of the House system, the corpus of Deans was increased by the appointment of the Deans of South, East and North House. They were replaced in 1970 by Senior Tutors.

In 1963, the title and office of the Dean of Instruction was dropped and that of the Dean of the College revived. The merger of the Harvard Radcliffe Administrative Boards in 1971, led to the demise of the position of Dean of the College. Undergraduate houses came under the aegis of the Dean of Harvard College. A part-time position of Dean of Students, 1971-1973 was created to liaise between the Dean of Freshmen and the Radcliffe freshmen who were not as yet supervised by his office, and to administer prizes, fellowships and Phi Beta Kappa awards.

Changes of title frequently but not always reflected a change of personnel:

Deans of Radcliffe College:
  • 1894-1909Agnes Irwin
  • 1909-1913Mary Coes
  • 1913-1914Caroline L. Humphrey (Acting)
  • 1914-1920Bertha May Boody
  • 1920-1921Christina (Hopkinson) Baker (Acting)
  • 1921-1922Marion E. Park
  • 1922-1923Christina (Hopkinson) Baker (Acting)
  • 1923-1934Bernice (Brown) Cronkhite
Deans of the College
  • 1934-1939Frances (Ruml) Jordan
  • 1939-1940Mildred Percival Sherman (Acting)
  • 1940-1942Katherine Elizabeth McBride
  • 1943-1950Mildred Percival Sherman
  • 1963-1971Kathleen (Overmyer) Elliot
Deans of the Graduate School
  • 1934-1959Bernice (Brown) Cronkhite
  • 1959-1962Wilma Kerby-Miller
Deans of Instruction
  • 1946-1959Wilma A. Kerby-Miller
  • 1959-1963Kathleen (Overmyer) Elliott
Dean of North House
  • 1961-1970Catherine Doreen Williston
Dean of South House
  • 1961-1970Kathleen Overmyer Elliott
Dean of East House
  • 1961-1970Barbara Miller Solomon
Dean of Students
  • 1971-1973Kathleen Overmyer Elliott
Dean of Students
Kathleen Overmyer Elliott

Physical Location

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

Processing Information

Reprocessed: January 1980

By: Jane S. Knowles

Updated: October 2015

By: Jenny Gotwals
Link to catalog
Radcliffe College. Office of the Dean. Records of the Radcliffe College Office of the Dean, 1951-1979: 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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