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Olive K. Damon papers

 Collection
Identifier: SSC-MS-00521

Scope and Contents

The Olive Warner Kellogg Damon Papers consist of 4.75 linear feet of diaries, correspondence, memorabilia, and photographs. Fifty-eight volumes of diaries that she kept beginning in 1930 at the age of 19 and ending in 2002 a year before her death comprise the bulk of the papers. Supplementing the diaries is a self published memoir of her life, correspondence with her son Alan ("Pete") along with some writings and material documenting her art work. The papers are arranged in five series.

Dates

  • 1925-2005

Creator

Language of Materials

English

Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection without any additional restrictions.

Conditions Governing Access

Until we move into New Neilson in early 2021, collections are stored in multiple locations and may take up to 48 hours to retrieve. Researchers are strongly encouraged to contact Special Collections (specialcollections@smith.edu) at least a week in advance of any planned visits so that boxes may be retrieved for them in a timely manner.

Conditions Governing Use

The executors of the estate retain copyright ownership. Copyright to materials authored by persons other than Olive Damon and Alan Damon Jr. may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Biographical / Historical

Olive Warner Kellogg Damon was born on November 3, 1911, in Vernon, Connecticut. She was the third of six children of Walter Edward Kellogg, a farmer, and Elinor Belle Warner. The Kellogg family moved often but finally in 1918, when Olive was seven, the family moved to the Warner family farm in Haydenville (Williamsburg), Massachusetts. She was educated in the Haydenville schools and graduated from Smith Vocational and Agricultural School in Northampton, Massachusetts, in 1931. She married Alan Wells Damon of Williamsburg in 1937. They settled in Whately, Massachusetts, where together they operated a dairy farm from 1937 to 1979. A premature son, born in 1937, died shortly after birth. A second son, Alan Wells Damon Jr. ("Pete") was born March 25, 1939. Alan Wells Damon Sr. died in 1999 and Alan Wells Damon Jr. died in 2005.

A self taught local artist, Damon painted murals and oil paintings and made more that 30,000 hand-made pressed flower cards which she sold privately, at craft fairs, and through commercial outlets. She was a founding member of the Williamsburg Brush and Palette Club, an active member of the Whately Congregational Church, the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and the Williamsburg (Massachusetts) Grange. An avid diarist, she self published Memoirs, Things I Remember in 1999. She died September 11, 2003, at the age of 91.

Olive Damon represents a generation of women whose lives were formed by the Depression and World War II, and who lived within the confines of the daily hard work and unpredictability of rural life. Her world centered around home, family, church, and a close knit community. Despite hardships and domestic trials, Olive made a life for herself in a supportive community of extended family and women friends. In 1984 she wrote, "1984 has ended and in spite of adversities.... [I]t was happy because I made it that way. I made up my mind to 'do my thing' as people say today and not try to change what I knew couldn't be changed.... Along with counting my blessings, I made big strides in a small business I had started a couple of years ago. This has been a great pleasure." She was especially close to her son, "Pete," with whom she kept up a lively correspondence when he was away and with whom she traveled frequently. In her final diary entry, July 2002, she writes about her wedding: "Alan told me when Dad brot (sic) me down the stairs I looked like an angel. Pete told me I have always been beautiful."

Extent

10 boxes (4.75 linear feet)

Overview

Farmer, Homemaker, amateur artist. The bulk of the collection consists of fifty-eight volumes of personal diaries, beginning in 1930 at age 19 and ending in 2002. Subjects include local history of Whately, Massachusetts, women's daily life and connections, marriage, and farm life. Supplementing the diaries is a self-published memoir of her life, correspondence with her son, and material documenting her artwork.

Arrangement

This collection is organized into five series:
  1. I. BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS
  2. II. DIARIES
  3. III. CORRESPONDENCE
  4. IV. WRITINGS AND ARTWORK
  5. V. MEMORABILIA AND PHOTOGRAPHS

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Olive Warner Kellogg Damon Papers were a gift of the estate of Alan Wells Damon Jr. in 2005.

Processing Information

Processed by Susan Boone, 2005.
Title
Olive K. Damon papers
Subtitle
Finding Aid
Author
Susan Boone
Date
2005
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (https://github.com/harvard-library/archivesspace-preprocessor)
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:13-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.

Repository Details

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

Contact:
Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton MA 01063