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MC 206

Holden, Ruth, 1890-1917. Papers of Ruth Holden, 1907-1961 (inclusive), 1907-1918 (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

Call No.: MC 206
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Ruth Holden, 1890-1917
Title: Papers of Ruth Holden, 1907-1961 (inclusive), 1907-1918 (bulk)
Date(s): 1907-1961
Date(s): 1907-1918
Quantity: .21 linear feet (1/2 file box)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Correspondence, biographical material, etc., of Ruth Holden, paleobotanist.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession numbers: 504, 507
The papers of Ruth Holden were deposited with the Schlesinger Library in 1962 by Mrs. Frederic H. Lahee.

Processing Information:

Processed: July 1974
By: Anne Whittington

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Ruth Holden as well as 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:

Ruth Holden Papers, 1907-1961; item description, dates. MC 206, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.


Ruth Holden was born on November 27, 1890, in Attleboro, Massachusetts, the daughter of Dr. Charles S. and Mrs. Caroline Sanford Holden. She attended Attleboro High School and Radcliffe College, where she studied paleobotany with Professor E. C. Jeffrey; she graduated magna cum laude in 1911, and earned her M.A. in 1912. In 1913, several fellowships made it possible for her to go to England, where she devoted herself to research at Newnham College, Cambridge.
Shortly after the war broke out in 1914, Ruth Holden took a Red Cross nurses' training course, worked in hospitals in England, and, in January 1916, went to Russia with the first Millicent Fawcett Medical Unit to establish maternity hospitals for Polish refugees. Ruth Holden learned Russian and Polish, and was appointed interpreter and courier for the unit. After some time in Petrograd, she went on to Kazan to help establish a hospital for Polish refugee children. In her spare time she continued some of her work in paleobotany at the university there. She traveled extensively in Russia to distribute supplies to hospitals, and wrote of the hardships involved in letters to her parents and friends. In January 1917 she was stricken with typhoid fever. When nearly recovered, she fell ill with meningitis and died at Kazan in April.


The collection consists mainly of letters written by Ruth Holden between 1907 and 1917, mainly to her parents or to Louise Hodge Lahee, a Radcliffe classmate. There are also biographical essays and letters about Ruth Holden, her papers, and the Ruth Holden Memorial Fellowship.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Scientists--United States
Soviet Union--Description and travel
Women in science--United States
Women in war
Women scientists--United States
World War, 1914-1918--War work--Red Cross
World War, 1914-1918--Hospitals--Soviet Union
Jeffrey, Edward Charles, 1866-1952
Lahee, Louise Hodge
Radcliffe College
Radcliffe College--Alumni and alumnae