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COLLECTION Identifier: 75-166--75-400

Papers of Lura Beam, 1900-1969


Writings, correspondence, photographs, etc., of Lura Ella Beam, educator and writer.


  • Creation: 1900-1969


Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Lura Beam is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in published books is retained by Lura Beam's heirs. 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.


2.09 linear feet ((5 file boxes) plus 1 folio+ folder, 1 oversize folder)

Correspondence, diary, 1925-1969, manuscripts, articles, scrapbook, diplomas, photos, and clippings concern Beam. Collection includes correspondence, drafts, and reviews regarding Beam’s books; a 1900 Marshfield, Maine, tax list with manuscript entries; printed articles and other material on AAUW art exhibitions and classes from the 1940s and 1950s; volumes of material for a seminar on human relations, entitled "Marriage and Sex Adjustment"; and material on the American Missionary Association, the Association of American Colleges, and the Council of Church Boards of Education, with reports, 1922-1923, of research. The arrangement follows the chronological order of Beam's career, as outlined in her autobiographical sketch.


Lura Beam spent her life studying and writing about what she described as "the poor in life; minorities, some women, some Causes like education and the arts." Born in Marshfield, Maine, in 1887, she attended the University of California, Berkeley (1904-1906), and graduated from Barnard in 1908. In 1917, she earned an M.A. from Columbia. She worked at the American Missionary Association (AMA), 1908-1919, beginning here the work that she would pursue, in one form or another, for the rest of her life. For three years she worked for the American Missionary Association as a teacher at two black schools: the Gregory Normal Institute in Wilmington, North Carolina, and then the LeMoyne Normal School in Memphis, Tennessee. She then became the American Missionary Association's Assistant Superintendent of Education in charge of the Deep South, visiting schools and colleges throught the South to determine their most successful teachers and programs. Her reports were sent to all American Missionary Association schools so that they could improve the quality of education they offered.

From 1919 to 1926 Beam researched and wrote reports for the Association of American Colleges. The research and travel for "Art in the Liberal College," an extensive study of art curricula in seven representative colleges, provided a basis for her later work for the American Association of University Women (AAUW), 1937-1952, where Beam organized and mounted art exhibitions and surveys of community art projects. First, however, Beam worked for the National Committee on Maternal Health (1927-1933), the General Education Board in New York City, and a Federal research project in industrial unemployment.

After retiring in 1952, Beam continued to write, organize art exhibitions, and compile information on aging and retirement. She died in 1978.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 75-166, 75-193, 75-400


  1. Box 1: Folders 1-9a
  2. Box 2: Folders 10-16
  3. Box 3: Folders 16a-24
  4. Box 4: Folders 25-29
  5. Box 5: Folders 30-42

Processing Information

Processed: September 1979

By: Jane S. Knowles

Beam, Lura, 1887-1978. Papers of Lura Beam, 1900-1969: 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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