Mildred Louise Boie Saunders papers
Scope and Contents
Half of the collection (two document boxes) contain Louise's letters to her twin sister, Maurine, dating from 1928 to the 1960s. The letters serve as Louise's personal journal, in which she shares with her sister intimate reflections on her life, including family relationships, her romances, her experience in psychoanalysis, her observations of world events (especially of World War II), thoughts about her career, her writing, and books she's read. The letters offer an in-depth look at the daily life of a single, working woman in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s, written by a talented and very thoughtful writer. The rest of the correspondence (one document box) includes letters to and from other family members, friends, and colleagues of both Louise and Maurine.
Louise's writings fill half a box and consist of published magazine and newspaper articles, book reviews, and poems, including her book, Better Than Laughter. The writings also include typescripts of articles, poems, and short stories, dating from 1926 to 1944. Some of these relate to her work with the Red Cross. Included with her writings are a travel journal from a 1930 trip to Europe (including photographs) and a few pages of journal entries describing her Red Cross work during World War II.
The remainder of the collection (half a document box) consists of biographical material relating to Louise and Maurine, newspaper clippings, memorabilia, and photographs.
- Majority of material found within 1928-1960
- Saunders, Mildred Louise Boie (Person)
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
Biographical / Historical
From 1935 to 1937, Louise served as assistant professor of English at Smith College. She left Smith in 1937 to be associate editor of poetry for the Atlantic Monthly in Boston, under editor Ted Weeks. She remained there until 1940 when she took a position as publicity head for the American Unitarian Association and Service Committee, organizing humanitarian work in Europe and America, and serving as editor for their publication, the Christian Register. During this time Louise also edited books for Bacon Press. Sometime in the late 1930s, while living in Boston, Louise began psychoanalysis with Dr. Leslia Dalrymple.
Feeling that she needed something more stimulating and rewarding in her life, in 1943 Louise applied for overseas work with the American Red Cross and, until 1946, was stationed at various United States Army bases in France, Italy, and Egypt, where she assisted in civilian relief. She was awarded the Bronze Star by the United States Army for her service. While overseas, Louise wrote several articles and short stories about her experiences which were published in various journals, including Ladies Home Journal, Glamour, and Radcliffe Quartery. In 1946, her book of poems, Better Than Laughter was published by the University of Minnesota Press.
In 1948, Louise married Lt. Colonel William (Bill) Saunders and moved to Fort Bragg in North Carolina, where Bill was chief engineer. After a series of health problems, Bill received an honorable discharge and they moved off base into the city of Fayetteville, where he found work as an architect.
Louise was active in numerous community services in Fayetteville. She did volunteer work for the United Services Fund, the Red Cross, the Mental Health Association, and served on the board of the County Guidance Center Advisory Council. During the 1970s and 80s Louise was executive director of the Cumberland County Council on Older Adults. In 1991, when the Sophia Smith Collection received her papers, Louise was living with Maurine and Weston LaBarre at the Carol Woods Retirement Village in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Although both Louise and her twin, Maurine, were active career women and travelled frequently, usually living in different cities, they always remained extremely close and corresponded regularly, sometimes on a weekly basis. Maurine Boie received her Masters in Social Work from Bryn Mawr in 1934, and thereafter she alternately taught and practiced social work in New York, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. During the late 1930s and early 40s, she was editor-in-chief of the The Family, journal of the Family Welfare Association of America in New York City, and in 1943 she wrote the New York Baby Book which was given to every new mother in the city.
In 1939, Maurine married Weston LaBarre and they eventually moved to Durham, North Carolina. There she helped start the Durham Child Guidance Clinic and was founder of the Durham School for Pregnant School Girls. In 1960, Maurine was appointed assistant professor of Psychiatric Social Work at Duke University, where Weston LaBarre also taught, and in 1971 she returned to psychiatric social work at the Duke University Medical Center.
Louise's sister, Maurine Boie LeBarre, died on September 16, 1991 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Louise Boie Saunders died on November 10, 1997 in Goldsboro, North Carolina.
- born in Plainview, Minnesota, May 20, to Mr. and Mrs. Emil Boie
- attended Mankato Teachers College, Mankato, Minnesota
- received B.S. degree in Education, University of Minnesota
- assistant in Educational Psychology summer school, Minneapolis
- editor, civic magazine
- account executive and assistant to head of creative dept., Harrison-Guthrie Advertising Agency, Minneapolis
- worked for C. & C. Publishing Company
- free-lance writer in England
- studied modern English literature and adult education at Newnham College, Cambridge University, England
- Instructor in English and head of English Dept., University of Minnesota Extension Division
- editor of
- received M.A. at University of Minnesota; thesis title: “Louisa May Alcott”
- M.P. Sears and F.Z. Gilbert Fellowship in creative work at Radcliffe College, Cambridge, Massachusetts
- Instructor of correspondence courses in English and literature, Department of Education, Boston
- Assistant Professor in English, Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts
- Associate editor, Atlantic Monthly under editor, Ted Weeks, Boston
- psychoanalysis with Dr. Leslia Dalrymple, Boston
- Maurine Boie marries Weston LaBarre
- publicity head for American Unitarian Association and editor, Christian Register radio program, "Religion at work"
- ca. 1940s
- editor, Bacon Press
- Red Cross service in Italy, Egypt, and Germany (awarded Bronze Star by U.S. Army)
- Better Than Laughter published
- living in Boston
- compiled bulletin for U.S. Office of Education entitled Making Democracy Work and Grow
- marries Lt. Col. William Saunders and moves to Fort Bragg, North Carolina
- William Saunders receives honorable discharge
- William and Louise move off-base to Fayetteville, N.C.
- ca. 1960-1970s
- chairman, United Fund, Educational Division Drive
- member of board of County Guidance Center Advisory Council; United Services Fund; Mental Health Association
- Executive Director of Council on Older Adults, Fayetteville, N.C.
- ca. 1980s
- living at Carol Woods Retirement Village, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with Maurine and Weston LaBarre
4 boxes (1.5 linear feet)
- I. Biographical
- II. Photographs
- III. Writings (of Mildred Louise Boie)
- IV. Correspondence
Immediate Source of Acquisition
- American Universalist Society
- Atlantic Monthly
- Bates, H.E. (Herbert Ernest), 1905-1974
- Boie family
- LaBarre, Ann
- LaBarre, Maurine Boie, 1907-
- LaBarre, Weston
- Sisters -- United States -- 20th century
- Travelers' writings
- Twins -- United States -- 20th century
- Women and psychoanalysis -- United States -- 20th century
- Women editors -- United States -- 20th century
- Women in higher education
- Women in the professions
- Women poets
- Women poets -- 20th century
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives, American
- World War, 1939-1945 -- War work -- Red Cross
- Mildred Louise Boie Saunders papers
- Finding Aid
- Margaret Jessup
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
- 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (https://github.com/harvard-library/archivesspace-preprocessor)
- 2005-09-23: mnsss62 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02-5c.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
- 2017-07-26T17:48:23-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton MA 01063