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Chew, Martha Elizabeth, 1941-1984. Papers of Martha Elizabeth Chew, 1924-1985: 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.: 85-M33--87-M110
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Martha Elizabeth Chew, 1941-1984
Title: Papers of Martha Elizabeth Chew, 1924-1985
Date(s): 1924-1985
Quantity: .42 linear feet (1 file box) plus 1 folio+ folder, 2 motion pictures)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Correspondence of Martha Elizabeth Chew, teacher.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession numbers: 85-M33, 85-M45, 87-M110
The papers of Martha Elizabeth Chew were given to the Schlesinger Library by Helen Vendler in February 1985 and by Marian Connor in March 1985.

Processing Information:

Preliminary inventory: September 1985
By: Anne Engelhart,Michael G. McDonald

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Martha Elizabeth Chew 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:

Martha Elizabeth Chew Papers, 1924-1985; item description, dates. 85-M33--87-M110, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.


Martha Elizabeth Chew was born on January 9, 1941, in Statesville, North Carolina, to Robert Lee Chew and Sarah Catherine (Cox) Chew; the family moved to Winston-Salem early in Chew's childhood. With a B.A. in English (1963) from Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia, she attended summer writing workshops at the State University of Iowa in Iowa City, and received an M.A. from Johns Hopkins University(1964), and a Ph.D. in English from Boston University (1976) with a dissertation on Flannery O'Connor. She married Robert Stephen Blaisdell in 1966; they were later divorced. She taught at Boston University, Tufts Experimental College, and Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Sciences, where she was associate professor of English. She founded the Women's Center at MCP/AHS in 1982 and died on October 9, 1984.


The bulk of the collection is correspondence and concerns Martha Elizabeth Chew's childhood in North Carolina during the 1940s and 1950s, and her college years, 1959-1963. Most of the letters were written by Chew to her parents and grandparents, although others are included. In particular, the letters and photographs provide a continuous record of her life at Agnes Scott College. Later correspondence centers on her studies and teaching at Boston University. Also included are samples of Chew's writing, ranging from stories written in grade school through high school poetry competitions to several theater pieces. Of particular interest for its glimpses into the mind of an adolescent is a photograph album from a trip she took to Florida with a group of girlfriends in 1958.
Because much of the correspondence during the college years was repetitious, the processors have weeded it considerably. Letters detailing conflicts with parents or other unusual matters were retained, but generally only one letter in five remains in the collection.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

College students
College teachers
North Carolina--Social life and customs
Teenage girls
Women--Southern states
Agnes Scott College
Boston University
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Sciences (Boston)