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Martha Tolles papers

Identifier: SSC-MS-00755

Scope and Contents

The majority of this collection consists of manuscripts of Tolles' published and unpublished works, mostly typescripts with handwritten annotations. There are also some financial and legal documentation from the publishers such as invoices and contracts, as well as final published versions of the works.

The largest remainder of the collection is correspondence between Tolles and her editors, rejection letters from editors, and fan mail. Most of the fan mail was from children, and the collection includes a photograph album of pictures of themselves that the child fans sent to Tolles.

There are also publicity materials and articles about Tolles' work, small articles written by Tolles, recordings of interviews with Tolles, and photographs of Tolles.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1945 - 2022


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

To the extent that she owns copyright, Martha Tolles has assigned the copyright in her works to Smith College; however, copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators.

For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For instances which may regard materials in the collection not created by Martha Tolles, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Biographical Note

Martha Tolles is a Smith College graduate and author of numerous works of popular childrens' fiction, including the "Darci" and "Katie" series of books, which were published in the 1980s.

Born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the daughter of Natalie Dunbar and Willis Gregory, Martha Tolles grew up in Rye, New York. She graduated from Smith College in 1943 with a degree in English. While at Smith, Tolles served as a reporter and then assistant editor for the college newspaper,"The SCAN" and was a member of the College Radio Board. After college, she worked as a reporter for"Port Chester Daily Item." Shortly after graduation, Martha Gregory married E. Leroy Tolles, founder of the prominent law firm Munger, Tolles and Olson, based in Los Angeles. Together, the couple had six children and were married sixty-three years; Mr. Tolles died in 2008 at the age of 85. In 1965, the busy mother of six was sidelined by a back injury. With time on her hands, Martha Tolles turned to writing children's fiction and saw her first novel, entitled "Too Many Boys"(a nod to the fact that of her six children, she had only one daughter) which would later be named"Katie and Those Boys."

Since then, Tolles has published more than a dozen titles, including "Who's Reading Darcie's Diary?" (1985), "Katie for President" (1988), and "Marrying Off Mom" (1990). A member of the Authors Guild and the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and twice a recipient of the Children's Choice Book List Award, Tolles'fiction continues to delight young readers with more than 2.3 million copies sold to date.


4.562 linear feet (6 containers)

Language of Materials



Martha Tolles is a Smith College graduate and author of numerous works of popular childrens' fiction, including the "Darci" and "Katie" series of books, which were published in the 1980s. This collection of her papers documents her writing through drafts, correspondence with her editors and fans, and publicity materials, including interviews conducted with Tolles.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

As a preservation measure, researchers must use digital copies of audiovisual materials in this collection. Please consult with Special Collections staff to request the creation of and access to digital copies.

Some content was received from the donor in digital form and is not currently available online. Please consult with Special Collections staff or email to request access to this digital content. Note that Special Collections may not be able to provide the required software to read all files

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was donated by Martha Tolles in 2015. Additions were donated by Tolles in 2020 and 2023.


During accessioning, duplicates and widely available images were removed from the 2023 addition to the collection and returned to the donor.

Processing Information

Accession 2023-S-0024 was accessioned by Claire Clusin, 2023.



Finding Aid to the Martha Tolles papers
Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2017-07-26T17:48:24-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
  • 2018-03-21: Container listing added and finding aid published
  • 2018-11-03: Updated to conform to DACS
  • 2021-06-09: Added Accession 2020-S-0017

Repository Details

Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063