[OASIS] Harvard University Library
OASIS: Online Archival Search Information System
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:RAD.SCHL:sch00588View HOLLIS Record   Frames Version
Questions or Comments   Copyright Statement

On July 1, 2018, OASIS will retire. It will be replaced by HOLLIS for Archival Discovery. Please explore.
MC 343

Friends of Framingham, Inc.. Additional records of Friends of Framingham, 1938-1973: 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

Call No.: MC 343
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Friends of Framingham, Inc.
Title: Additional records of Friends of Framingham, 1938-1973
Date(s): 1938-1973
Quantity: .63 linear feet (1 + 1/2 file boxes)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Minutes, committee reports, correspondence, etc., of Friends of the Framingham, Inc., formed in support of Miriam Van Waters and the progressive changes she had implemented as superintendent of the Massachusetts Reformatory for Women at Framingham.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession numbers: 70-29, 74-15, 78-M91
These papers were originally part of the Miriam Van Waters and Dorothy Kirchwey Brown collections in the Schlesinger Library.

Processing Information:

Processed: August 1982
By: Deborah Tucker

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the records created by the Friends of Framingham as well as copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Records may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.

Preferred Citation:

Friends of Framingham, Inc. Additional records, 1938-1973; item description, dates. MC 343, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Friends of Framingham, Inc. Records (B-18).


The Friends of Framingham, Inc. was formed in 1948 in support of Miriam Van Waters and the progressive methods she had implemented as Superintendent of the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Framingham, with emphasis on rehabilitation of women prisoners rather than on punishment.
Miriam Van Waters had served with distinction and to the satisfaction of six Commissioners of Corrections from 1932 to 1948. Eliot McDowell became Commissioner in February 1948; Miriam Van Waters was summarily fired in January 1949. McDowell's deputy, Frank A. Dwyer, was permitted to make an "investigation." Governor Paul Dever then appointed an impartial commission composed of Erwin Griswold, Dean of Harvard Law School, Mrs. Roger Lowell Putnam of Springfield, and Robert G. Clark, Jr., Assistant District Attorney of Norfolk County. The Commission completely vindicated Miriam Van Waters of the 27 charges against her and she was restored to her position in March 1949. McDowell and Dwyer remained in office, however; their efforts to harass and discredit Miriam Van Waters continued.
The small group of citizens that rallied behind Miriam Van Waters in the summer of 1948 grew into an organization called "Friends of Framingham, Inc." Its purposes included the development of modern and scientific methods of treatment and rehabilitation of individuals committed to correctional institutions in Massachusetts; the promotion of public education in the techniques, purposes and potentialities of modern penology; helping to improve practices in the work of government agencies concerned with those accused or convicted of crimes.
The original focus of the organization was modified over the years. In 1964, the group established a Friends of Framingham Half-Way House for former Framingham prisoners. Barbara Johnson is currently secretary of "The Friendly Visitors," an outgrowth of Friends of Framingham. The population at the Reformatory now includes women and men.


The collection consists of correspondence, largely to and from LaRue Brown as Chairman of Friends of Framingham and Dorothy Kirchwey Brown; it includes letters to and from Miriam Van Waters. There are also Executive Board minutes, publications, articles, and clippings about Miriam Van Waters, Friends of Framingham, women at Framingham, and prison conditions in general. The records cover a thirty five year period.
Correspondence (#3-11) includes letters to and from LaRue Brown, Dorothy Kirchwey Brown and Miriam Van Waters; memos of Dorothy Kirchwey Brown, drafts of letters, and publications of Friends of Framingham (reports, dinner programs, announcements, fund-raising letters, invitations, leaflets, treasurer's reports).



Container List

Additional Index Terms

Correctional institutions--Massachusetts--Framingham
Female offenders--Massachusetts
Prison administration
Prison reformers
Reformatories--Law and legislation--Massachusetts
Women prisoners--Rehabilatation
Brown, Dorothy Kirchwey
Brown, Herman LaRue, 1883-1969
Cross, Claude B., 1893-1969
Davis, Saville R.
Dever, Paul Andrew, 1903-1958
Friends of Framingham Reformatory
Griswold, Erwin N. (Erwin Nathaniel), 1904-1994
League of Women Voters of Massachusetts
Massachusetts Reformatory for Women (Sherborn, Mass.)
Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
Van Waters, Miriam