Papers of Edith Gratia Stedman, 1833-1978 (inclusive), 1913-1978 (bulk)
- Majority of material found within 1913-1978
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Use
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.
2.5 linear feet ((6 file boxes) plus 1 oversize folder)
Series I, Personal and Employment, contains photographs, personal correspondence with friends and colleagues, diaries and accounts of her work in France and China, and the source material for a study of the Appointment Bureau under her Directorship during the Depression (1930-1941); this study was carried out by Nancy (Harper) Creshkoff in 1968-1969.
Series II, Dorchester Abbey, contains the records of her fundraising activities on behalf of Dorchester Abbey and her journal and writings about the Abbey. Audiotapes of meetings and interviews with Stedman about the Abbey are shelved as T-98.
Series III, Writings, consists of Stedman's other published and unpublished writings.
In 1917 she and two friends, Margaret Deland and Sylvia Anable, volunteered for service overseas; she served as a canteen worker with the Young Men's Christian Association in France and occupied Germany until 1919. In 1920 she went overseas again, as a medical social worker in the Episcopal Mission of the Diocese of Hankow, under Bishop Logan Roots, in Wu Chang, China. The eruption of civil war there in 1927 forced her to leave. On her return to Boston she was offered a position as executive secretary at the Judge Baker Foundation, the guidance clinic for children.
In 1930, Ada Louise Comstock invited her to head the Appointment Bureau at Radcliffe. Challenged by shrinking job opportunities, Stedman introduced vocational programs to give students training in marketable skills: the summer secretarial course, waitress course, and counseling and camp handicrafts course. She created the Summer Playgroup, which employed students under a professional director, and began the Publishing Procedures Course in 1936 and the Training Course in Personnel Administration in 1937. Stedman served as Director of the Training Course until 1941. Its scope expanded until, in 1962, it merged with the Harvard Business School.
Formal retirement from Radcliffe in 1954 opened a new range of activities for Stedman. In 1955-1959 she volunteered at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital. Beginning in 1959 she spent six months of every year in England, living with friends at the Manor House, Dorchester, Oxfordshire. She founded the American Friends of Dorchester Abbey, which raised money for the conversion of the Cloister Garden into an Anglo-American Garden, to restore the great Jesse window in the East End, to erect a memorial to Sir Winston Churchill, and to restore the fabric of the Abbey. She created and ran a gift shop in the old monastic guest house, and was instrumental in arranging a Festal Evensong attended by Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, in 1970. In appreciation of her efforts her English friends had her likeness carved on a corbel at Dorchester Abbey, and in 1976 she was awarded an honorary O.B.E.
After retirement, Stedman also had time for writing. Her Dorchester Abbey Journals were copied and circulated among the American Friends. Besides an unpublished autobiography, she wrote numerous works that were published: A Monastery Guest House Cookbook (1965, with nine subsequent editions), A Yankee in an English Village (1972), Anglo/American Double Talk (1972), Finger Prints, and many articles. She also wrote stories, religious pieces, poems, and essays on old age that were not published but that are in this collection. Menieres disease and deafness prevented her from travel at the end of her life and she spent her last years in Sherrill House, an Episcopal nursing home in Boston. She died on July 16, 1978.
- I. Personal and employment
- II. Dorchester Abbey
- III. Writings
Immediate Source of Acquisition
This collection was given to the Schlesinger Library by Edith Gratia Stedman beginning in March 1962, and after her death by her estate.
- Box 1: 6-14
- Box 2: 14a-26a
- Box 3: 27-40
- Box 4: 41-53
- Box 5: 54-67
- Box 6: 67a-82
By: Jane S. Knowles
Rehoused: April 2017
By: Margaret Dalton
Updated and additional material added: June 2018
By: Anne Engelhart
- China--Description and travel
- Church architecture--Conservation and restoration
- College administrators
- Depressions--1929--United States
- Europe--Description and travel
- Fugitive slaves
- Great Britain--Description and travel
- Journals (notebooks)
- Manuscripts (for publication)
- Medical social work
- Social workers
- Vocational education
- Voyages and travels
- World War, 1914-1918--Women
- Stedman, Edith G. (Edith Gratia), 1888-1978. Papers of Edith Gratia Stedman, 1833-1978 (inclusive), 1913-1978 (bulk): A Finding Aid
- Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
- EAD ID
Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository
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