Papers of Sylvia Wright Mitarachi, 1834-1990
Correspondence, poetry, prose, published articles, research notes, conference material, etc., related to Sylvia Wright Mitarachi's work on her unpublished biography, The Life of Melusina Fay Peirce.
Language of Materials
Materials in English.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Sylvia Wright Mitarachi 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. The Sylvia Wright Mitarachi Papers contain numerous annotated photocopies of items from collections in Harvard University's Houghton Library. Researchers must contact the Houghton Library directly to obtain permission to quote from materials in their collections.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.
Extent5.84 linear feet ((12 file boxes) plus 1 photograph folder, 1 oversize folder)
The Sylvia Wright Mitarachi Papers consist of Mitarachi's research material for her unpublished biography, The Life of Melusina Fay Peirce. This material includes a large amount of material photocopied from other collections, including the Fay Family Papers at the Schlesinger Library, and the Benjamin Peirce Papers (1809-1880) and other collections at Harvard University's Houghton Library, among others. Because they have been annotated by Mitarachi, they have been maintained in the collection. Also included is a large amount of original material related to the Fay Family Papers including original correspondence, etc., of Rose Fay Stone, Laura Fay Smith, Amy Fay Stone, Kate Fay Stone, Pauline Stone Jackson, Arthur Loring Jackson, Margaret Garrad Stone Wright, Austin Tappan Wright, and Charles S. Peirce. In addition, there is material related to Melusina Fay Peirce, including correspondence, published and unpublished articles and reviews, and clippings; records of the Poe Cottage Preservation Association in the Bronx, New York, (1895-1896); and records of the Cambridge Co-operative Housekeeping Society (1869-1876).
Series I, MITARACHI WRITINGS AND CORRESPONDENCE, 1957-1990 (#1.1-2.16), contains draft typescripts of Mitarachi's biography of Melusina Fay Peirce, including a typescript with work completed by Mitarachi's friend, Susana Robbins, after Mitarachi's death (#1.1-1.3), notes for further research, material from several conferences at which Mitarachi presented her research, and correspondence regarding her research. A large portion of Mitarachi's correspondence is with Max Fisch, a leading authority and editor of a multi-volume publication on the writings of Charles S. Peirce. Most folder titles were created by Mitarachi with information in square brackets provided by the processor.
Series II, SUBJECT FILES FOR THE LIFE OF MELUSINA FAY PEIRCE, 1834-ca.1981 (#3.1-8.6), consists of research notes, clippings, articles, genealogical material, correspondence, poetry, etc., regarding the Fay family and others compiled by Mitarachi. Some of this material consists of photocopies from the Fay Family Papers and contains Mitarachi's notes and annotations, but much of it is original Fay family material (1854-1953), consisting of correspondence, reminiscences, poetry, prose, articles, clippings, etc., maintained by Mitarachi as source material for her biography of Peirce. It appears that her intention was to add this material to the Fay Family Papers already at the Schlesinger Library, but she died before doing so. Fay family members and others represented in this original material as either writers or recipients include Amy Fay, Charles Fay, Charles Norman Fay, Charlotte Emily Fay, C. Jerome Hopkins, Rose Fay Thomas, Theodore Thomas, Austin Tappan Wright, and Margaret Garrad Stone Wright. Of particular note are the original writings, correspondence, clippings, etc., of Melusina Fay Peirce, commonly referred to as "Zina," as well as records of the Cambridge Co-operative Housekeeping Association (#4.9-4.12) and the Poe Cottage Preservation Association (#4.13), both with which she was deeply involved. Also included in Peirce's original correspondence are a number of letters regarding the publication of New York: A Symphonic Study (#5.13). In instances where original material accompanied photocopies, etc., it was moved to a separate folder immediately following the copies. Also included in this series are index cards (ca.1978-1981) listing published sources (#6.20-7.2), unpublished sources by repository (#6.16-6.19), and subject notes (#7.3-8.6) for Mitarachi's biography of Peirce. The series is arranged alphabetically by family member with miscellaneous files and index cards following. Most folder titles were created by Mitarachi with information in square brackets provided by the processor.
Series III, CHRONOLOGICAL FILES FOR THE LIFE OF MELUSINA FAY PEIRCE, 1840-ca.1981 (#8.7-12.9), includes research notes; transcriptions of letters, poetry, and prose; annotated copies of letters; original letters; recipes; etc., compiled by Mitarachi during her research. The bulk of the copies of correspondence were annotated by Mitarachi during her research; the originals are currently in the Fay Family Papers in the Schlesinger Library and in the Benjamin Peirce Papers (1809-1880) and other collections at the Houghton Library. Original Fay family letters in this series were maintained by Mitarachi as source material for her biography of Peirce. It appears that her intention was to add this material to the Fay Family Papers already at the Schlesinger Library, but she died before she doing so. Fay family members and others represented in this original material as either writers or recipients include Amy Fay, Charles Norman Fay, Rose Fay Thomas, Katherine Fay Stone, William Eben Stone, Margaret Stone, Amy Fay Stone, Pauline Stone Jackson, Arthur Loring Jackson, Laura Fay Smith, and Melusina Fay Peirce. Many letters were either written to or by Melusina Fay Peirce or make mention of her activities. Included in this original material are letters written to Melusina Fay Peirce regarding her work with the Co-operative Housekeeping movement. In instances where original material accompanied photocopies, etc., it was moved to a separate folder immediately following the copies. Also included in this series are index cards (ca.1978-1981) maintained by Mitarachi during her research, consisting of a chronology of the Fay family (#12.8) and a general chronology of women's history (#12.9). The series is arranged chronologically. Most folder titles were created by Mitarachi with information in square brackets provided by the processor.
Series IV, PHOTOGRAPHS AND OVERSIZED, ca.1870-1923 (#PD.1, #OD.1), consists of several photographs of Margaret Garrad (Stone) Wright and several unidentified family members and friends, both in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and on Fisher's Island in Long Island Sound (ca.1905-1906); one image of the Washington Elm in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and one of its removal in 1923; and one carte de visite of Harvard professor of Ancient, Byzantine, and Modern Greek , Evangelinus Apostolides Sophocles (ca.1870). Also included are a Fay family genealogical chart, and an article. All of the photographs in this collection are or will be cataloged in VIA, Harvard University's Visual Information Access database.
Sylvia Wright Mitarachi was born Sylvia Wright on January 21, 1917, to Austin Tappan Wright and Margaret "Margot" T. Stone Wright in Berkeley, California. Her father was a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley. Her mother was the niece of pianist Amy Fay. She was one of four children. She married Paul J. Mitarachi and the couple had one son, John Paul, in 1962.
Mitarachi was a graduate of Bryn Mawr College. Following graduation, Mitarachi edited and prepared for publication her father's book, Islandia. During World War II, she worked for the Office of War Information and, following the war, for the United States Information Service, known in the United States as the United States Information Agency. During the 1950s, Mitarachi was an editor at Harper's Bazaar and contributed numerous articles. A collection of her articles was published in 1957 under the title Get Away from Me with Those Christmas Gifts. In 1969, she published the a collection of three novellas, A Shark Infested Rice Pudding.
In 1977, Mitarachi became a fellow at the Bunting Institute at Radcliffe College. During this time she continued research on her biography of her great aunt, Melusina Fay Peirce, an early feminist, author, and founder of the Cambridge Co-operative Housekeeping Society in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Following her fellowship year, she continued her research for the book. Mitarachi died of cancer on May 9, 1981, leaving the biography of Peirce unfinished.
The collection is arranged in four series, which roughly follow Mitarachi's original order:
- Series I. Mitarachi writings and correspondence, 1957-1990 (#1.1-2.16)
- Series II. Subject files for The Life of Melusina Fay Peirce, 1834-ca.1981 (#3.1-8.6)
- Series III. Chronological files for The Life of Melusina Fay Peirce, 1840-ca.1981 (#8.7-12.9)
- Series IV. Photographs, ca.1870-1923 (#PD.1, F+D.1)
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Accession numbers: 88-M182, 90-M29, 2006-M178, 2008-M129
The papers of Sylvia Wright Mitarachi were given to the Schlesinger Library between 1988 and 2008 by her husband, Paul J. Mitarachi. An early typescript of Mitarachi's unpublished biography, The Life of Melusina Fay Peirce, was given to the Schlesinger Library by John Smith in 2006.
Processed: September 2008
By: Mark Vassar
- Mitarachi, Sylvia Wright. Papers of Sylvia Wright Mitarachi, 1834-1990: A Finding Aid
- Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
- Language of description
- EAD ID
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