Spring 1938, "May dearest: quite the pleasant event on my horizon"

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Spring 1938, "May dearest: quite the pleasant event on my horizon"


Mount Holyoke College
President Ham


Marks speaks of tensions among the faculty, her depression


Jeannette Marks


March 13 1938





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Department of English Literature and Drama Mount Holyoke College South Hadley, Mass.

March 13, 1938

May dearest: quite the pleasant event on my horizon is the arrival of a
cheerful California or transcontinental letter. Afflicted with the limited
human horizon with which most of us seem to suffer, I cannot help [cross-out]
hoping that the “flood” does not create difficulties for you! At least
you did not arrive at its height.
For you I enclose a copy of Charlotte’s speech to the Faculty.
It made a great impression on this weary, battered, and almost
hopeless group. It was given with that peculiar interesting
characteristic of Charlotte when she cares. The words which I asked
her to set down scarcely convey the effort, yet they are fearless
and strong. Charlotte is at her best in a crisis like this,
for all her emotional life is concentrated in her scholarship,
her love for nature and a kind of passion for justice to
women…..Mr. Ham “ruled” against any courses in play production
being given in the Speech summer school, and that despite the
fact that Mr. Caufield had withdrawn from any summer teaching
either at Amherst or here….But so far the Encumbrance [??] has not
succeeded in steamrolling the Faculty as a whole, whatever he is
succeeding in doing to our Department. You will be interested to
hear that Davey Footer [??], Miss Adams, Miss Mayree, and Miss Swell [??] had luncheon
together, the first three tackling Miss Swell on the work she
had done against the Dept. of English Lit and Drama. Finally Miss Mayree
Department of English Literature and Drama Mount Holyoke College South Hadley, Mass.

in that “blithe” way she has, said, “Well, Ada, your real
reason for doing what you have done is that you don’t want
Miss Marks to teach her course?” “Yes, it is,” said Miss
Swell. This is the deepest you have nursed in your books
all the years and and to whom you have yielded such right
of way that she has done what she has this year! Too
bad. Miss Swell went to Mr. Stoke who is Secretary of
the Academic Committee to get him to face something [?]
for her in connection with Curtis Caufield. After Mr. Stoke
has listened to enough of her vilification of my work, Mr.
Stoke said, “You ought to be ashamed of yourself for
being so disloyal to the Faculty. The Laboratory Theatre
cannot be as bad as you say it is, for it is still here;
and it should not be passed over like this.” ….The
injustice to what I have tried to do concerns me, of course, but
the worst of it all for me is inpersonal: this terrible
disloyalty among women. All these years I have kept
the peace with Miss Swell and behaved [??] decently above
anything the English Department ordered us to do, and at that
when other members of the English Department did not wish the
peace kept…..I fight the depression when it overcomes

me, with simple food, exercise, and hard work, but it has
all too often been the depression which has been the victor….at
least some of us under bitter circumstances are having the chance
to work for justice to women.
A valuable book in the History of Women in Medicine by Dr.
Hurd-Mead [??] has come in. Dr. Jacobson wishes me to review
it for the Medical Times. I will bring the book to Westport for
you to read aloud to me and write the review when I am
home….I can’t yet tell you when I shall reach Fleur
de Lys. College does not close until noon Friday, and it
may be Saturday before I can get off. Probably Evelyn
will drive up with me and stay for a day or two before
she goes home. Harriet will come up for part of the
vacation and you will have the pleasure of her gallant
flag waving. She has been away all this week, and under the
circumstances within and without this house, I find it
hard when she is not here.
I liked Mr. Stevens. I hope you did….Mrs.
D’Evelyn is [?] ready in Thursday all putting-off you [??],
so I am seeing quite a little [?]
Your loving Jeannette




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