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Margaret Long papers

Identifier: SSC-MS-00095

Scope and Contents

The Margaret Long Papers document her friendship with Dorothy Reed Mendenhall at Smith College and Johns Hopkins University as well as her later years and historical avocation in Denver, Colorado. The small collection dates from 1893 to 1954 and consists of correspondence, notes, and her published books.

The first series consists of obituaries; brief, undated reminiscences about her youth and Smith classmates; and a line-a-day diary completed by Long and Reed from 1899 to 1907, some time of which they lived together in Baltimore. SERIES II. CORRESPONDENCE makes up the bulk of the collection and consists of letters from Dorothy Reed to Margaret Long, nicknamed "Patsy." It documents their friendship at Smith and Johns Hopkins and the early years of Reed's medical career, first at the New York Infirmary for Women and Children and then at New York City's Babies' Hospital. It becomes more sporadic after Reed's marriage to Charles Mendenhall. The letters illuminate student life at Smith and Johns Hopkins as well as the early career of a preeminent woman physician. Later letters from Mendenhall trace the enjoyment and difficulties of raising children, particularly for an ambitious professional. Other correspondents include Louise Griswold and Smith friend Mary Goodman. Long's letters to Goodman in the 1940s detail her research techniques and growing interest in the history of white settlement in the West. SERIES III. PUBLICATIONS consists of six volumes of family history, travel writings, and poetry.

Dates of Materials

  • 1893-1954

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

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

Conditions Governing Use

Materials in this collection may be governed by copyright. 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. 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 / Historical

Margaret Long was born in 1873 to Mary Woodward Glover and John Davis Long, a politically ambitious lawyer who practiced in Hingham, Massachusetts. John Long was elected to the Massachusetts General Court in 1874 and from there embarked on a career with the Republican Party, serving as governor of Massachusetts from 1880 to 1883 and secretary of the Navy in President William McKinley's cabinet from 1897 to 1902. Mary Glover Long died in 1882; John Long remarried Agnes Peirce in 1886 and had a son, Peirce, in addition to Margaret and her sister, Helen, from his first marriage. The family lived in Hingham, Massachusetts and owned a vacation property in Buckfield, Maine.

Margaret Long entered Smith College in 1891. Among her fellow students were Florence Rena Sabin, class of 1893, and Dorothy Reed (Mendenhall), class of 1895. At Smith, she and Reed lived in Wallace House and belonged to a tongue-in-cheek social club, the "Anti-Matrimonial Alliance." After Long's graduation in 1895, she traveled and studied in Europe, undertook preparation for medical school at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and entered the Johns Hopkins Medical School three years behind Reed. Reed, Sabin, and Long came to distinguish themselves as graduates of the new medical school and pioneer researchers and activists in medicine and public health.

Long was awarded a M.D. in 1903, and in 1905, she moved to Colorado to recover from tuberculosis, from which her sister had died in 1901. Anticipating the public health work of Florence Sabin, who left a position on the Johns Hopkins faculty to implement a public health program in Colorado in the 1940s, Long became active in the fight against tuberculosis. In addition to her epidemiological research in Denver area hospitals, she helped found the Sands House Sanatorium and served on its board for many years.

After her retirement in the 1940s, Long took an interest in the history of the West. She had a passion for the trails of the pioneers and published her reconstructions and research of their paths in several travel-oriented works, including The Shadows of the Arrow (1941), The Smoky Hill Trail (1953), The Oregon Trail (1954), and The Sante Fe Trail (1954). She also published a book of poetry, The Enchanted Desert (1942), and edited volumes of family papers. Her edition of her father's journal, published in 1956, remains a significant source for research into one of the primary administrators of the Navy during the Spanish-American War and a party to Theodore Roosevelt's controversial and imperialistic tenure in the Department of the Navy.

Margaret Long's later years were spent among a community of bachelor women in Denver, which included her long-time companion, Elsie Pratt, and sisters Florence and Mary Sabin. Long died in 1957.


0.875 linear feet (2 containers)


Physician, Travel writer, Historian. Includes correspondence, a 10-year journal (1897-1907), short manuscript sketches and reminiscences. Closely related to the papers of Dorothy Reed Mendenhall and Florence Sabin who were both medical students at Johns Hopkins with Long. Also documents the year of her internship at the New York Women's Infirmary and her first years of epidemiological research in Denver, CO.


This collection is organized into three series:


Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Margaret Long Papers were donated to the Sophia Smith Collection by Mary A. Goodman (Smith, 1896) and Dr. Elsie Seelye Pratt (Smith, 1895) from 1959 to 1960.

Related Material

Associated material located in Smith College Archives, student files, and the Dorothy Reed Mendenhall Papers.

See also Margaret Long on Colorado. [Microform] in Neilson Library, Smith College.

Processing Information

Processed by Amanda Izzo, 2005.

Margaret Long papers
Finding Aid
Amanda Izzo
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:12-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.

Repository Details

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

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063