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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 885

Papers of Margaret Stewart Dismorr Thompson, 1865-1985 (inclusive), 1910-1942 (bulk)


Papers of economic and labor specialist, Margaret Stewart Dismorr Thompson.


  • Creation: 1865-1985
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1910-1942

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Margaret Stewart Dismorr Thompson 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.


2.21 linear feet ((3 file boxes, 1 folio box) plus 1 folio+ folder, 1 oversize folder, 3 photograph folders)

The papers of Margaret Stewart Dismorr Thompson include genealogical and biographical material, correspondence, recipes, photographs, diplomas, published reports, and other writings, documenting Thompson's work as a labor specialist. Correspondence include letters from Thompson's American Red Cross and American Relief Administration colleagues, many of whom continued to work with relief organizations in Europe, particularly with Near East Relief in Armenia and Georgia, as well as professional correspondence relating to Thompson's job searches and government contract work. Also included are two illustrated travel diaries created by Thompson's father, John Stewart Dismorr, recounting trips to England (1865) and Egypt (1891). Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be digitized and available online. Files are arranged alphabetically.


Economic and labor specialist, Margaret Stewart Dismorr Thompson was born in Kent, England, on June 22, 1888, the youngest daughter of Mary Ann Rebecca Clowes and John Stewart Dismorr, a tea merchant and recent immigrant from Australia. She studied Medieval and Modern Languages at Cambridge University (AB 1910), studied economics and politics at Bryn Mawr College (1910-1912) and statistics at Radcliffe College (1912-1913), and received an AM from Cambridge University (1925). From 1912 to 1913, she held a fellowship in social-economic research with the Women's Educational and Industrial Union in cooperation with the Massachusetts State Bureau of Statistics where she reported on women's working conditions in textile and food processing plants. In 1913, she worked as a special agent for the Massachusetts Minimum Wage Commission. From 1914 to 1916, she was a special agent and later expert with the United States Department of Labor in cooperation with the United States Commission on Industrial Relations and others. With the outbreak of World War I, she returned to England to work as a traveling welfare officer in the Welfare and Health Section of the British Ministry of Munitions. In 1918, she joined the American Red Cross and was assigned to Base Hospital 87-B in Toul, France. When the hospital was demobilized, she was reassigned to Czechoslovakia where she worked with the American Relief Administration.

Thompson returned to the United States in 1920 and married James David Thompson, a mathematician, scientist, and a founder of the British Labour Party. The had one daughter, Janet, who was born in 1921. Margaret continued to do investigative research for a number of government bodies, including the National Research Council's Child Welfare Committee, and the United States Children's Bureau. After James's death in 1932, Margaret moved to Rhode Island and later to Massachusetts, though she did return to Washington, D.C., during the Second World War, writing reports on German industrial development. She died March 28, 1969.

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2007-M36

The papers of Margaret Stewart Dismorr Thompson were given to the Schlesinger Library in February 2007 by her daughter, Janet Thompson Keep.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Papers of the Thompson family, 1887-1947 (2001-M1--2007-M205).


Donors: Janet Thompson Keep

Accession number: 2007-M36

Processed by: Johanna Carll

The following items have been transferred to the Schlesinger Library books and printed materials collection:

  1. With the American Red Cross in France, 1918-1919, by Carter H. Harrison, 1948.

Processing Information

Processed: September 2016

By: Johanna Carll, with assistance from Margaret Dalton.

Thompson, Margaret Stewart Dismorr, 1888-1969. Papers of Margaret Stewart Dismorr Thompson, 1865-1985 (inclusive), 1910-1942 (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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