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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 647; T-284

Papers of M. Madeline Southard, ca.1878-2016


Journals, family correspondence, photographs, and oral histories of Methodist minister, missionary, and author, M. Madeline Southard.


  • 1878-2016

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Unrestricted, except #1.8 and #1.10 are closed as noted. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by M. Madeline Southard 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.


5 linear feet ((12 file boxes) plus 12 photograph folders, 1 folio+ photograph folder, 13 audiotapes)
This collection documents the personal and professional life of Methodist minister, missionary, and author M. Madeline Southard. The bulk consists of diary-like journals and correspondence. Southard began keeping a journal at the age of 14, and continued until she was 87. Other materials include photographs and clippings from Douglas Moore's Carry Nation opera (Southard and Yellin attended opening night); a few of Southard's writings; and Carol Yellin's transcripts of the journals, and correspondence and grant applications from her attempt to edit and publish Southard's journals. Most of the folder titles, and the arrangement, were created by the processor; Yellin's titles, when used, appear in quotation marks. Additional material received in June 2017 (accession number 2017-M127) was added to the collection in July 2017 and is housed in #1.17. Files are listed in intellectual, not numerical, order.

Series I, M. MADELINE SOUTHARD, 1891-2016, n.d (#1.1-10.18, 12.9-12.10, PD.1-PD.3), includes biographical and personal material, correspondence, writings, miscellaneous publications, etc., of M. Madeline Southard.

Subseries A, Biographical and personal, 1891-2016, n.d. (#1.1-1.7, 1.17, PD.1-PD.3), is arranged alphabetically.

Subseries B, Journals, 1892-1964 (#1.8-8.11, 12.9-12.10), contains the journals Southard began keeping when she was 14 and continued into her 80s, writing about day-to-day life, including her classes at school, rooming with friend Nola, and not having enough to eat. Her entries are sporadic, ranging from daily to weekly to monthly; occasionally months would elapse between entries. She mentions going to school without a corset for the first time, and asking her "physical culture" professor how to breathe properly. (This same professor showed the class her underclothes without the corset.) On November 21, 1919, the first meeting of the International Association of Women Preachers was held in Saint Louis, Missouri, and Southard notes in her journal, "We have been making history today." Throughout the journals she comments on her ministry, missionary trips for the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, visits and visitors, current events, family members, and her health. Her last entry is from April 10, 1964, at 3:45 AM. It begins, "I can still see the stars. Thank God for that." Transcripts of the journals are typewritten, created by Yellin during her project to edit and publish the journals. The subseries is arranged chronologically. Photocopies of original journals are boxed separately to facilitate future duplication requests by researchers.

Subseries C, Correspondence, 1901-1967, n.d. (#8.12-9.12), includes letters with family, friends, and others working for the WCTU and the Methodist church about her ministry and missionary work. Of note are the Christmas letters that Southard sent to her friends and family describing her life over the preceding year. The subseries is arranged alphabetically.

Subseries D, Ministry, 1919-1978, n.d. (#9.13-10.11), includes printed material about Southard's ministry and the IAWM. The subseries is arranged alphabetically.

Subseries E, Writings, 1919-1983, n.d. (#10.12-10.18), is arranged alphabetically.

Series II, CAROL LYNN (GILMER) YELLIN, 1911-1998, n.d. (#10.19-12.7, PD.4), includes correspondence and writings of Carol Lynn Yellin, Southard's distant cousin and friend. Yellin had planned to edit Southard's journals for publication, but died before completing the project; most of the correspondence regards this effort. Family correspondence contains information about Southard's childhood and other members of her family. The series is arranged alphabetically.

Series III, AUDIOVISUAL AND PHOTOGRAPHS, ca.1878-1984 (#12.8, T-284.1 - T-284.13, PD.5-PD.13), includes oral histories given by Southard and others about her life and her family history, and photographs of Southard, her family, and her professional life.

Subseries A, Audiovisual, 1966-1984 (#12.8, T-284.1 - T-284.13), is arranged with Southard's oral history and transcript followed by those of family members Eulala (Rogers) Gilmer, Myron Northrup, Carol Lynn (Gilmer) Yellin, and Ahwilda Rogers Gray; friends Grace Haynes Jones, and Susan Ruby Lamb; and members of IAWM Rosemary Skinner Keller, Barbara Brown Zikmund, Hilda Seaton, and Rosemary Radford Reuther.

Subseries B, Photographs, ca.1878-ca.1966, n.d. (#PD.5-PD.13), is arranged with photographs of M. Madeline Southard followed by those of family, friends, and places.

Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be cataloged in VIA, Harvard University's Visual Information Access database. Others, referred to as "uncataloged" photographs, are not of sufficient research interest to warrant cataloging and are simply treated as part of the documents they accompany; they are marked on the back with an asterisk in square brackets [*].


Mabel Madeline Southard was born on July 29, 1877, in Rock, Kansas, the second daughter of James and Madeline (Rogers) Southard. The family was living in Michigan, but James died before Mabel Madeline was born. Madeline and older daughter Stella (born 1871) went to live with her mother Almira (Santee) Rogers in Rock, Kansas. In August of 1893, Madeline (Rogers) Southard died, leaving Stella and Mabel Madeline with their grandmother. She attended Southwestern College, Winfield, Kansas (AB 1899) and Northwestern University (MA 1919), and was the founder of the American Association of Women Ministers (1919). Ordained in the Methodist Church in 1925, she had pastorates in Colorado, Montana, and Kansas, and preached throughout the United States, in the Philippines (1928, 1930, 1947-1948), and India (1931-1932, 1947-1948). She was a delegate to the General Conference of the Methodist Church (1920, 1924) and worked tirelessly to secure equal rights for women within the church. From 1925 to 1927 Southard was head of the history department at Taylor University in Indiana. A national field worker for the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, Southard was president of the International Woman-Preachers' Association, and editor of the Woman's Pulpit, the journal of the American Association of Women Ministers. Southard was also the author of The White Slave Traffic versus the American Home (1914), The Attitude of Jesus toward Women (1927), and The Christian Message on Sex (1931). Southard died on September 19, 1967 in Topeka, Kansas.

Friend and distant cousin of Southard, Carol Lynn (Gilmer) Yellin was born on March 3, 1920, in Clinton, Oklahoma, to Thomas and Eulala (Rogers) Gilmer. In 1945, Yellin served with the Red Cross during World War II. Later she was an associate editor for Reader's Digest, and co-produced the television show Face to Face with her second husband David Yellin. Together they won the 1988 Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights Award for their work during the 1968 sanitation strike in Memphis, Tennessee. Carol Yellin died in March of 1999.


The collection is arranged in three series:
  1. Series I. M. Madeline Southard, 1891-2016, n.d. (#1.1-10.18, 12.9-12.10, PD.1-PD.3)
  2. Series II. Carol Lynn (Gilmer) Yellin, 1911-1998, n.d. (#10.19-12.7, PD.4)
  3. Series III. Audiovisual and photographs, ca.1878-1984, n.d. (#12.8, T-284.1 - T-284.13, PD.5-PD.13)

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 99-M26, 99-M178, 2017-M127. Accession number 2017-M127 was added in July 2017.

The papers of M. Madeline Southard were given to the library by Thomas G. Yellin in 1999; one folder (#1.17) was given by Jerry L. Wallace in June 2017.


Donors: Thomas G. Yellin

Accession number: 99-M26

Processed by: Cat Lea Holbrook

The following items have been transferred to the Schlesinger Library Books and Printed Materials Division:
  1. The Attitude of Jesus toward Women, by M. Madeline Southard, 1927
  2. The White Slave Traffic versus the American Home, M. Madeline Southard, 1914

Processing Information

Processed: October 2010

By: Cat Lea Holbrook

Updated: July 2017

By: Anne Engelhart
Link to catalog
Southard, M. Madeline (Mabel Madeline), 1877-1967. Papers of M. Madeline Southard, ca.1878-2016: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Processing of this collection was made possible by gifts from the Steiner Book and Manuscript Fund and the Zetlin Sisters Fund.

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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