Browse Exhibits (11 total)

My College Years: A Snapshot of the Class of 1917

This is an exhibit about life for the Class of 1917 at Mount Holyoke College. The images and letters from Archives and Special Collections here will introduce you to their college life, fashions, and traditions. We hope that these materials will inspire you to visit ASC and consider where your story fits into the College's history. 


Mary Woolley & Jeannette Marks: Life, Love, & Letters


Mary Woolley and Jeannette Marks were educators and partners who lived and worked at Mount Holyoke College during the early 1900s. The letters and photographs in this exhibition will introduce you to their life together, from their first meeting as Wellesley College professor and student to their retirement in upstate New York. We hope that these materials will inspire you to visit the Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections, and learn more about these women and their important place in the history of the College.


The Photographs of Asa Kinney

From 1899 to 1939, Asa Kinney held the position of Botany and Plant Science Associate Professor Emeritus at Mount Holyoke College. Over the course of 41 years, Kinney extensively photographed the Mount Holyoke College campus, community, activities, natural environment, and architecture with a 5"x7" glass plate view camera. As a result, a collection of approximately two thousand glass plate negatives resides in Archives & Special Collections. This online exhibit highlights some of these long-hidden glimpses of campus life. Over time, more of the plates will be digitized and added to this site.

View Links to photo series.

When Kinney arrived at the College, the present campus was just beginning to take form as new buildings were being built after the main building was lost in a fire in 1896. Kinney was responsible for much of the beautiful landscaping around campus we enjoy today. He was exceptionally skilled in planting and laying out gardens, and after consulting with landscape architects, he took charge of this task himself. In an ironic twist of fate, his last years of landscaping work in 1938-39 were spent primarily in clearing up hurricane damage that had uprooted some of the oldest and most beautiful trees. 

In writing of Mr. Kinney’s work, Professor Emeritus Alma Stokey said, "The campus has attained its present beauty not by the expenditure of large sums of money but by the generous giving of such thought, foresight, and devotion as we can hardly hope to see again."

Mr. Kinney's interest in people was reflected in his dedication to his craft of photography, which included images of College history that traced the fashions, enthusiasms, and many activities of the campus in his time.

Image Series for the Asa Kinney Collection:

South Hadley
Mary Lyon
Physical Education
Fundraising Endowment Fund
German Summer School
Academic Departments
Academies - Sanderson
75th Anniversary
WWI: Farm Work, Victory Gardens, etc.
Special Events

Persistence and Existence: LGBTQ History at Mount Holyoke College

This exhibit exists to bring to light the numerous histories of queer culture on the Mount Holyoke campus and to show the necessary change over time that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning student organizations underwent. This exhibit can make no broad claims about queer people or LGBTQ+ culture -- Mount Holyoke communities are located in a specific contextual time and place that fosters the creation of particular types of organizations. This exhibit cannot account for the experiences of all LGBTQ+ MHC students throughout time, nor is it reflective of each student’s individual experience; rather it showcases organizations, events, and dialogues that these students created. In short, Persistence and Existence was assembled to showcase how the struggles that LGBTQ+ students faced influenced the ways in which they combated their oppressions through the creation of numerous groups.  


Love for the Earth, Loyalty to the Land: Caroline Henderson's Letters from the Dust Bowl

Caroline Boa Henderson, Mount Holyoke College Class of 1901, farmed a land claim in the Oklahoma Panhandle from 1907 until 1966. She struggled against recurring droughts, dust storms, extreme blizzards, and other disasters. And yet, through all of these troubles, she and her husband chose to stay on their land. 

Henderson's firsthand accounts of the Dust Bowl years are preserved in Archives and Special Collections through the letters she wrote to her Mount Holyoke classmate Rose Alden and to Alden's mother, along with other writings that she published in Practical Farmer and the Atlantic Monthly

A Mount Holyoke Woman in Macedonia: Mary Matthews and the American School for Girls, 1888 to 1920

Curator Liz Knoll, Class of 2016 and a Lynk intern, tells the story of Mary Matthews, who was a Mount Holyoke student in the 1880s and then spent thirty-two years as a missionary educator in the turbulent Balkans. Matthews became an institution in the city of Monastir through the Balkan Wars and World War I. Throughout her tenure, she helped women and girls from all religious and ethnic backgrounds and provided refuge to many families who were affected by war. Her work was recognized by the U.S. Department of State and in 1937 Mount Holyoke gave her its Medal of Honor.
This exhibit also marks the official opening of the Mary Matthews Collection of letters, diaries, photographs, and other personal items to the public since the material was donated by her family to Archives and Special Collections.
Peggy Hanson, a grandniece of Mary Matthews, will give an introduction to the collection's history on September 15 at 4:30pm in Dwight Hall 101 and a reception will follow at 5pm in Archives and Special Collections. 


The Class of 1920: A Peek Into the Past

This exhibit explores the lives of the Mount Holyoke Class of 1920 during their years at the College. It paints a picture of their academic efforts as well as the social scene on campus, which reveals not only their dedication to their studies, but also their enthusiasm for Mount Holyoke traditions and connection to one another as a class. Despite the time lapse of 100 years, it's possible that you may even see a reflection of yourself in these students! 

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Goodnow Park and the Pepper Box

A Gathering at the Pepper Box, 1888-90

Goodnow Park! the Pepper Box! Lake Nonotuck! Hardly anyone today recognizes these names, yet between 1882 and 1920 they were the sites of lively activities at Mount Holyoke. They have been utterly lost. Only the Pepper Box has literally disappeared, torn down in 1920. The other two remain but their names have changed. Goodnow Park is now simply Prospect Hill, and Lake Nonotuck has reverted to the prosaic Lower Lake.

This exhibition brings these abandoned places back to life by displaying postcards, photographs, stereopticon views, glass negatives, lithographs and engravings from the college’s Archives and Special Collections. Also on display will be an unpublished hand-drawn plan of 1882 for Goodnow Park and several early written documents. However, the recovered history of the park depends largely upon the photographs for which a chronology has been established. They offer a pleasant and often delightful excursion into the years between 1875 and 1914. In them we’ll see the progressive changes in the hill above the campus which had long been a pasture, and at the summit we’ll find the picturesque pavilion, the Pepper Box. We’ll also see students sunning themselves in the pastures of Prospect Hill just before the Seminary acquired it, as well as find them boating and skating on Lake Nonotuck. Their hats and clothing punctuate the passing decades of the era.



Essay by Robert L. Herbert, Professor emeritus of art history

Co curation and digitization by James Gehrt, Digital Projects Lead

Digital Exhibition Design by Carmen Paul

Exhibition coordination by Aaron F. Miller, Assistant Curator of Visual and Material Culture

This exhibition has been co-sponsored by the office of the President and the Miller-Worley Center. Copies of this catalogue have been provided to visiting classes by the Art History Department.

With special thanks to Leslie Fields, Head of Archives and Special Collections, and Deborah Richards, Special Collections Archivist

A more detailed history of Goodnow Park, written by Robert Herbert can be found here "The Recovered History of Prospect Hill, 1879-1920: Goodnow Park, the Pepper Box and Lake Nonotuck."

Mount Holyoke College Art Museum exhibit - October 10, 2016 to December 18, 2016 

Mount Holyoke Votes: The History of Student Voting Rights Activism


The 19th Amendment preventing voter discrimination on the basis of sex passed Congress in June 1919 and was ratified in August of 1920. This exhibition commemorates Mount Holyoke’s early suffragettes while also recognizing the continuation of student activism to enfranchise Black citizens who were not fully protected by the 19th Amendment until the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Mount Holyoke Votes explores over 120 years of student activism for voting rights.