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MC 677

Lillibridge, Florence Julie, 1919-1999. Papers of Florence Julie Lillibridge, 1923-2001: 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

Processing of this collection was made possible in part by a gift from G. Donald Lillibridge.

Descriptive Summary

Location: Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Call No.: MC 677
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Florence Julie Lillibridge, 1919-1999
Title: Papers of Florence Julie Lillibridge, 1923-2001
Date(s): 1923-2001
Quantity: 9.16 linear feet (22 file boxes) plus 1 photograph folder, electronic records)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: The papers of educator, wife, and mother, Florence Julie Lillibridge, include correspondence with her husband Donald Lillibridge and family; diaries; notes, and other writings; photographs; and clippings.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession numbers: 2000-M116, 2001-M32, 2001-M94, 2002-M109
The papers of Florence Julie Lillibridge were given to the Schlesinger Library by G. Donald Lillibridge between 2000 and 2002.

Processing Information:

Processed: May 2012
By: Laura Peimer

Access Restrictions:

Access. The following diaries (#1.1-1.3, 2.1, 3.1-3.3, 4.1, 5.2, 5.3, 6.2, 6.3, 7.1, 7.3, 8.1, 8.2, 9.1-9.3, 10.2) and diary transcriptions (#12.1-12.3, 12.5, 13.7, 13.8, 14.1-14.7, 15.3-15.5, 15.7, 16.1-16.5, 16.8, 16.9, 17.1-17.4, 17.7, 17.8, 18.1-18.4, 18.7, 19.1) are closed for eighty years from date of creation due to sensitive information about third party individuals. Digital copies of the diary transcriptions have been screened and redacted.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Florence Lillibridge 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:

Florence Julie Lillibridge Papers, 1923-2001; item description, dates. MC 677, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.


Florence Julie Belson was born in Sloan, Iowa, on January 18, 1919, to Georgette and Maurice Belson. She attended high school in Vermillion, South Dakota, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of South Dakota with a degree in English in 1941. She met Donald Lillibridge during her junior year when he was a freshman. Don graduated a year early in 1942 in order to join the Marine Corps. Florence joined the WAVES and took a teaching job in Vermillion, while waiting to be called to active duty. On January 5, 1942, she and Don married in Quantico, Virginia. They would have four children together: Michael, Linda, Jennifer, and Catherine.
After arriving for duty in Northampton, Massachusetts, in 1943, Florence was discharged for being pregnant. While Don was serving in the Marine Corps, Florence returned to South Dakota to live with her parents and to teach in the English department at the University of South Dakota. Don was a Second Lieutenant in November 1943 when the Marines landed on Tarawa Island, where he survived one of the bloodiest battles of the war. In June 1944, he returned to the United States after being wounded in Saipan; after he recovered, he was sent to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Florence would soon join him.
After the war, Florence taught at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where Don was a graduate student in history. They moved for a year to Chatou, a suburb of Paris, and Don traveled to London to conduct his thesis research. After Don finished his course work, he accepted a teaching position at the State University of New York at Albany; in 1952, he became a history professor at Chico State University in Chico, California. For the first two years in Chico, Florence taught part-time in the University's English department. In 1958 she left to take a teaching position at Paradise High School (Paradise, California), where she taught English until 1965, when she became head of the English department at Pleasant Valley High School (Chico, California), and subsequently served as dean of girls and head counselor until her retirement in 1981. After her retirement, until she became ill, she was a volunteer at Enloe Hospice, the Chico branch of the Butte County Library, and a substitute teacher. She died on January 23, 1999, due to complications from pneumonia.


The papers of Florence Julie Lillibridge include correspondence with her husband Don Lillibridge and family; diaries; notes, and other writings; photographs; and clippings. The papers document her life as an educator, wife, and mother; reveal her close and loving relationship with Don; and provide information regarding her husband's life, including his time as a Marine in World War II. The letters and diaries illustrate the details of daily life, the challenges of work and teaching, parenting, managing the home and housework, family issues and dynamics, personal and family health, and travel. Of note are letters describing separation and uncertainty during World War II and impressions of Paris and London soon after the war, when Don was doing his dissertation research.
Florence wrote her diaries in Gregg shorthand; they have been transcribed at the request of her husband by the following individuals: Becky Anonich (1989), Jackie Clough (1994), Roxie Eggert (1969, 1971, 1981, 1982, 1993, 1996-1998), Sandy Holt (1970), Sharon Koehler (1991), Kathleen Martin (1978, 1986), Doris Meador (1974, 1992), Oakland County Chapter, International Association of Administrative Professionals, Royal Oak, Michigan (1990), Faye Owens (1972, 1973), Carol Rakowski (1977), Laura Sante (1995), Rita Thorson (1967, 1968, 1975, 1976, 1979, 1980, 1983-1985, 1987, 1988).
Transcripts of the diaries were received in hard copy and/or on computer disk, and are available as electronic files. Sensitive information relating to third party individuals, access to which would constitute an unwarranted invasion of privacy, has been redacted from these electronic versions. The original non-redacted diaries and transcriptions, which contain sensitive information, are closed for eighty years from the date of creation.
Many of the diaries contained loose material, now filed separately, including cards and letters from Don, their children, grandchildren, friends and co-workers; poems written for Florence by Don; clippings; pocket calendars; notes; and various programs and ephemera, including drawings from grandchildren.
The files are arranged alphabetically.
A selection of the photographs in this collection are or will be cataloged in VIA, Harvard University's Visual Information Access database. Others, referred to as "uncataloged" photographs, are not of sufficient research interest to warrant cataloging and are simply treated as part of the documents they accompany; they are marked on the back with an asterisk in square brackets [*].

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Childbirth--United States
College teachers--California
Cooking--United States
Courtship--United States
Electronic records
High school students--California
High school teachers--California
High school teaching--California
Love-letters--United States
Marriage--United States
Motherhood--United States
Paris (France)--Social life and customs--20th century
Pregnancy--United States
South Dakota--Social life and customs--20th century
Tarawa, Battle of, Kiribati, 1943
World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives, American
World War, 1939-1945--Women--United States
California State University, Chico
Lillibridge, G. D. (George Donald), 1921-2012
United States. Naval Reserve. Women's Reserve