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MC 459/M-26

Skinner, Yvonne, 1911-1997. Papers, 1915-1977, n.d.: A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America


Radcliffe College
August 1999

© 1999 Radcliffe College


Call No.: MC 459/M-26
Repository: Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
Creator: YVONNE ("EVE") (BLUE) SKINNER, 1911-1997
Title: Papers, 1916-1977, n.d.
Quantity: 3 file boxes and 1 folio folder of photographs

Processing Information:

Reprocessed: August 1999
By: Deborah A. Richards

Acquisition Information:

Accession numbers: 83-M104, 83-M241, 85-M195, 90-M38
The papers of Yvonne (Blue) Skinner (YBS) were given to the Schlesinger Library by YBS in May and November 1983, September 1985, and March 1990. Preliminary finding aids to the collection were produced by Beryl Satter in 1985 and Susan von Salis in 1987. The collection was reprocessed and microfilmed with funds provided by Joan Jacobs Brumberg, Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow and Professor at Cornell University.


Access. Unrestricted. Originals are closed; use microfilm (M-26).

Use Restrictions:

Copyright. Copyright is held by Radcliffe College for the Schlesinger Library.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


Yvonne ("Eve") (Blue) Skinner was born on May 9, 1911, in Chicago. Her parents were Harriet (Read) and Robert Blue; her father was an ophthamologist and her maternal grandfather was Chicago novelist and humorist Opie Read. She grew up in Chicago and in nearby Flossmoor , and attended the high school of the University of Chicago and the University, where she majored in English and minored in the history of art. She spent her sophomore year at Beloit College . In July 1936, while visiting friends in Cambridge, Mass., she met psychologist and educator B.F. Skinner, who was then doing post-doctoral research as a member of Harvard's Society of Fellows. They were married on November 1, 1936. They had two daughters, Julie (Skinner) Vargas and Deborah (Skinner) Buzan, and lived in Cambridge. For many years, YBS was a lecturer and gallery instructor for the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston . She died on August 30, 1997. For further biographical information, see B.F. Skinner, The Shaping of a Behaviorist: Part Two of an Autobiography (1984), and A Matter of Consequences: Part Three of an Autobiography (1984).


This collection consists of diaries, notebooks, poems, stories, and school papers by YBS, as well as letters and postcards from YBS's parents and friends. The diaries cover the years 1923 to 1934 (with one passage written in 1937) and record the family life, activities, friendships, thoughts, and feelings of a young girl from a moderately well-off professional family. They include some original poetry and prose. The later journals record "Bohemian" life at the University of Chicago during the late 1920s and early 1930s, when YBS became, in the words of her disapproving parents, "the personification of wild modern youth." One of her college papers (see folder #25) contains YBS's reflections on one of her diaries. Between 1921 and 1927 YBS kept notebooks recording favorite quotes, ideas for stories, popular phrases and expressions, ideas for "self-improvement," and notes about India. The letters and postcards to YBS from childhood friends were written while she was away at school (1923-32). Topics discussed included campus life, suitors, travel, and future plans. There are letters and postcards between YBS and her parents written when her father was at a sanitarium (1919), while YBS was at summer camps (1924-25), and a Christmas letter to YBS from "Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus."

Other Descriptive Data



For a list of the contents of MC 459, see the inventory that follows. Numbers in first column are folder numbers. When requesting microfilm material, please use the microfilm number and the reel number.
MC 459, folder M-26, reel
#1-4 1
#5v-12 2
#13-33 3


Additional catalog entries.

The following catalog entries represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. An entry for each appears in the Harvard On Line Library Information System (HOLLIS) and other automated bibliographic databases. THIS IS NOT AN INDEX.
Skinner, B.F. (Burrhus Frederic), 1904-
Chicago (Ill.)--Social life and customs--20th century
College students
Europe--Description and travel
Reducing diets--United States
School children--Social life and customs--20th century
Teenage girls--Books and reading
Teenage girls--Sexual behavior
Teenage girls--Social life and customs--20th century
University of Chicago--Students
Voyages and travels