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Batten, Pluma Burroughs Penton, 1894-1996. Papers of Pluma Burroughs Penton Batten, 1948-1964 (inclusive), 1950-1956 (bulk): A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Call No.: A-158
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Pluma Burroughs Penton Batten, 1894-1996
Title: Papers of Pluma Burroughs Penton Batten, 1948-1964 (inclusive), 1950-1956 (bulk)
Date(s): 1948-1964
Date(s): 1950-1956
Quantity: 5.21 linear feet (12 + 1/2 file boxes) plus 1 folio+ folder)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Correspondence, notes, financial records, etc., of Pluma Burroughs Penton Batten, president of the American Federation of Soroptimist Clubs and educator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession numbers: 59-8, 74-327
The papers of Pluma Batten were given to the Schlesinger Library in August 1957, June 1958, July 1959 and November 1974 by Pluma Batten and were processed under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (RC-0051--79-1260).

Processing Information:

Reprocessed: July 1981
By: Madeleine Bagwell Perez

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Pluma Burroughs Penton Batten is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. 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.

Preferred Citation:

Pluma Burroughs Penton Batten Papers, 1948-1964; item description, dates. A-158, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.


The following items have been removed from the collection (June 1981):


Pluma Batten, educator, was born in Salem, New Jersey, on November 26, 1894, the daughter of Elsie Maud (Burlew) and Charlton Harris Penton. During high school she organized the first student council and international relations club at her school and was graduated as valedictorian of her class. On March 8, 1914 she married Albert B. Batten. Graduated with honors and a B.S. in Education from the University of Pennsylvania in 1929, she continued with postgraduate work at the University of Pennsylvania (1929-1930), Rutgers University (1930-1931), and New York University (1932-1933) before beginning her teaching career.
As rural supervisor for the New Jersey Helping Teachers (1930-1943), Batten taught every grade for at least one year; wrote "A Story of Salem County as told by Children in the Elementary Schools"; and edited a manual on teaching arithmetic. Her accomplishments during her tenure as a member of the Pilesgrove (New Jersey) Board of Education, and as supervising principal and superintendent of schools for the Woodstown-Pilesgrove District (all 1943-1956), included tripling the school budget, inaugurating a full-time guidance program, replacing report cards with teacher-parent conferences, and integrating a racially segregated school system. In addition, she was an active member of the legislative committee of the New Jersey Education Association and the education committee of the American Association of University Women.
In 1937 she joined the American Federation of Soroptimist Clubs, a professional women's organization devoted to the political and economic advancement of women. She served as president of the Salem (New Jersey) club, as director of the North Atlantic region, and on the regional board; she was then elected to the National Board and served as treasurer, second vice-president, first vice-president, and president (1954-1956). While she was chair of the Extension Committee (1952-1954), seventy-three clubs were added to the organization.
Batten retired from public education in 1957 but continued to be interested in education and the advancement of women. She remained active in various organizations, including the American Association of University Women.


The collection is arranged in two series:


Papers concerning Pluma Burroughs Penton Batten's career as a New Jersey educator are housed at the New Jersey Historical Society in Newark. The papers at the Schlesinger Library concern primarily her term as president of the American Federation of Soroptimist Clubs (1954-1956); they give no information about her personal life or her family.
Series I, subseries A, General records (including correspondence), is a chronological arrangement (1950-1956) of correspondence, memos, drafts and corrections of minutes, reports, ballots, by-laws, committee appointments, as well as material on conferences, conventions, and finances. The bulk of this subseries consists of memoranda between the president and executive secretary. There is one folder of printed material about the AFSC and Soroptimist International Association, and one folder of clippings.
Series I, subseries B, Organization, consists of the policy handbook for the board of directors and committee chairmen; information about the constitution and by-laws; and other papers of the executive committee, officers, and committees. Also included are recommendations for committee personnel, committee appointments, committee directives, and a speech given by Batten (as first vice-president) on "Sorptimism--East and West."
Series I, subseries C, Biennial conventions and regional meetings, contains official calls, agenda, minutes, reports, and proceedings of the 13th (1954) and 14th (1956) biennial conventions and of annual meetings of various regional groups of the AFSC.
Series I, subseries D, Soroptimist International Association, includes papers on various meetings, the Soroptimist International Association constitution and by-laws, and on cooperation between the Soroptimist International Association and UNESCO (1948-1956).
Series II, Other papers, consists of material concerning Batten's association with the American Association of University Women; her editing of a report for the Counseling Service of Northern Virginia; and her continuing interest in the status of women, represented by a collection of articles and clippings, with some annotation by Batten.



This is a selected index of writers of letters. Recipients of letters have not been indexed; nor have subjects.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Age and employment--Virginia
Equal rights amendments
Women--Legal status, laws, etc.
Adkins, Bertha Sheppard, 1906-1983
Allen, Florence Ellinwood, 1884-1966
American Association of University Women
American Federation of Soroptimist Clubs
Blitch, Iris, 1913-1993
Church, Marguerite Stitt, 1892-1990
Counseling Service of Northern Virginia
Eichelberger, Clark M. (Clark Mell), 1896-1980
Eisenhower, Dwight D. (Dwight David), 1890-1969
Farrington, Elizabeth Pruett, 1898-1984
Fay, Marion Spencer
Fuller, Jean Wood, 1912-1991
Griffiths, Martha W. (Martha Wright), 1912-2003
Harden, Cecil Murrary, 1894-1984
Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964
Howorth, Lucy Somerville, 1895-1997
Kee, Elizabeth
Keller, Helen, 1880-1968
Kelly, Edna F. (Edna Flannery), 1906-1997
Knutson, Cornelia Gjesdal, 1912-1996
Leopold, Alice K., 1906-1982
Paul, Alice, 1885-1977
Pfost, Gracie Bowers, 1906-1965
Rawalt, Marguerite, 1895-1989
Rogers, Edith Nourse, 1881-1960
Schlesinger, Arthur M. (Arthur Meier), 1888-1965
Servis, Martha R.
Smith, Margaret Chase, 1897-1995
Soroptimist International Association
Thompson, Ruth, 1887-1970
Werner, Ella Christine, 1899-1986
Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania
Wright, Elizabeth S.