Planning for this exhibition began when Mary Matthews’ grand-niece Peggy Hanson donated her Aunt’s extraordinary letters, diaries, photographs, and artifacts to the Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections. Archives Assistant Liz Knoll, Mount Holyoke Class of 2016, processed that collection and it is open for research. Liz curated this exhibition and created the five zines that chronicle Mary Matthews’ life and the American School for Girls.
Peggy Hanson recognized the remarkable story and the historical importance of her Aunt’s life. We are grateful to her for sharing “Aunt Mary” with all of us and with future generations of researchers through this collection donation, and for her overall enthusiasm for the exhibition project. We also wish to recognize and thank all of Mary Matthews’ extended family members, especially Virginia Capan, to whom Mary Matthews’ quilt was willed.
In addition, we wish to recognize and thank Katherine Dibble and James Hanson for their boundless interest in Aunt Mary’s adventures and care for the archival materials; Ginny Eisemon for sharing her research and writing about Mary Matthews’ quilt; Elaine Bergeron, who manages the College’s historic clothing collection, for arranging the historic clothing shown here; summer Lynk intern Katia Kiefaber, Class of 2017, who co-curated this virtual exhibition; and Archives Assistant Samantha Snodgrass, Class of 2018, who created the reading room slideshow.