Margaret Goddard Holt papers
Scope and Contents
The Margaret Goddard Holt Papers consist of 55.25 linear ft. of correspondence, diaries, writings, artwork, photographs, short run and small circulation newsletters, periodicals, and publications. The collection primarily concerns Margaret Holt, and also includes significant amounts of material generated by her husband, Lee E. Holt and by several generations of extended family. The collection dates from 1814 to 2004 (bulk 1960-2000).
The papers offer a rich account of Margaret Holt's intellectual interests, political concerns, and personal affairs. Her lifetime diaries are detailed and introspective, and document her inner life, her relationships with family and friends, and her evolving world view from adolescence through old age (the diaries are closed until Jan. 1, 2028). There is extensive correspondence between Holt and her sister, Eleanor Goddard Worthen; her husband, Lee E. Holt; her close friends, including her Jungian analyst and later friend, Paula Elkisch, and the painter, Sarah Blakeslee Speight; and a wide range of more casual friends and acquaintances, fellow activists, and death row prisoners. The personal correspondence is particularly valuable in that in several instances it includes the letters of both Holt and her correspondent. Significant topics covered in letters to the editor and to politicians and elected representatives include the civil rights movement (1960s); the Vietnam War, and Watergate (1960s and 1970s); biological warfare, and the Iran-Contra scandal (1980s); the Persian Gulf War (1990s); and the Iraq War (2000s).
Materials generated by Lee E. Holt and his family, notably family correspondence and photographs, provide context to Margaret Holt's own papers and add a valuable dimension to the collection as a whole. Major topics in the papers include world peace and nuclear disarmament; economic, political, and social justice for disadvantaged peoples in the U.S. and abroad; and objection to U.S. militarism and military interference by the U.S. in the affairs of other nations. There is extensive documentation of the Arab-Israeli conflict, as Holt was sympathetic to the Palestinian position. The collection also contains a rich assortment of short run and limited circulation newsletters and printed materials generated by small, local grassroots organizations in the United States and abroad.
Dates of Materials
- Creation: 1814 - 2009
- Creation: Majority of material found within 1960-2000
- Holt, Margaret (Person)
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
The papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection with the following exceptions:
- Margaret Holt's diaries are closed until January 1, 2028.
- Access to audiovisual materials will first require production of research copies.
Conditions Governing Use
All rights are owned by the Sophia Smith Collection. Permission is required beyond "fair use." Copyright to materials authored by persons other than Margaret Goddard Holt 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
Margaret Goddard Holt was born on October 4, 1911 in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania to Fanny Whiting Reed and Harold Clarke Goddard, professor of English at Swarthmore College; she had one sister, Eleanor Goddard Worthen. She was raised a Quaker and absorbed the values of that tradition, but never joined the Society of Friends. She was also guided by Zen Buddhism, especially the teachings of Lao Tse. After graduating from Swarthmore High School in 1929, she studied art at various institutions, including the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Art Students' League in New York City, and the Cummington (Massachusetts) School of the Arts. She taught at the Shady Hill School in Cambridge, Massachusetts and at the School in Rose Valley in Rose Valley, Pennsylvania (both progressive schools), prior to her marriage in 1939 to Lee Elbert Holt (March 23, 1912 - January 23, 2004). The Holts were married for sixty-four years and had two children, Geoffrey Lincoln and Alison. In 1947, after living in Indiana, Wisconsin, New York and Connecticut, the Holts settled in Springfield, Massachusetts, where Lee taught English at American International College and Margaret worked part-time teaching art therapy to the handicapped at United Cerebral Palsy and Munson State Hospital. They moved to Amherst, Massachusetts in 1977. After the World War II bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the beginnings of the Cold War, Margaret Holt began her lifetime of work in peace and justice activism. She helped organize some of the major social justice demonstrations of the 1960s, including the Poor People's Campaign in Washington, D.C. in 1963; coordinated, with Lee, frequent vigils in Springfield from 1967 to 1972 in protest of the Vietnam War; co-founded the Springfield chapter of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom; was a pivotal member of the Gray Panthers of the Pioneer Valley; and, beginning in 2000, corresponded weekly with death row prisoners, in addition to providing occasional financial support to their families. With Lee, Margaret Holt helped establish the Amherst (Massachusetts) Vigil for a Nuclear Free World in 1979 and from that time forward, regardless of weather, she attended weekly noon Sunday vigils on the Amherst Town Common. Margaret Holt died in Amherst, Massachusetts on January 1, 2004.
Goddard and Holt family identification (nicknames in parentheses)
Family members as a group (Creatures)
Ballou, Pauline Goddard (Pollywog, Frog): paternal aunt of Margaret Holt
Ballou, Austin (Ostrich): husband of Pauline Goddard Ballou
Goddard, Fanny Whiting Reed (Moppy, Twain): mother of Margaret Holt
Goddard, Florence Louise: (Rattlesnake, Rattle): paternal aunt of Margaret Holt
Goddard, Harold Clarke (Uncle Gawky, Poppy, Twain): father of Margaret Holt
Goddard, Mary Azooba Clarke (Zoobie): paternal grandmother of Margaret Holt
Holt, Alison: daughter of Margaret Holt
Holt, Daisy: mother of Lee E. Holt
Holt, Florence: sister of Lee E. Holt
Holt, Geoffrey Lincoln: son of Margaret Holt
Holt, Helen: sister of Lee E. Holt
Holt, Lee Cone: father of Lee E. Holt
Holt, Margaret Goddard (Smig)
Reed, Lewis: brother of Fanny Whiting Reed Goddard, m. Isabel
Uretz, Violet: cousin of Lee E. Holt
Walker, Florence Hammersly: cousin of Margaret Holt
Worthen, Eleanor Goddard (Armadillo): sister of Margaret Holt, m. Eugene Mark Worthen
Worthen, Helena Harlow (Holly): niece of Margaret Holt, daughter of Eleanor and Mark Worthen, m. Joseph Berry
Worthen, Hilary: nephew of Margaret Holt, son of Eleanor and Mark Worthen m. Kathy Weingarten
Worthen, Ben: son of Hilary Worthen and Kathy Weingarten
Worthen, Miranda: daughter of Hilary Worthen and Kathy Weingarten
Worthen, Gabrielle Zim (Gabi): daughter of Helena Harlow Worthen and Joseph Berry, m. David Kreme
70.918 linear feet (126 containers)
Pacifist, Member, Grey Panthers, Artist. The Margaret Goddard Holt Papers primarily document the personal life and activism of Margaret Holt, but also include significant amounts of material generated by her husband, Lee E. Holt, and several generations of extended family. Her lifetime diaries are detailed and introspective, and document her life from adolescence through old age and there is extensive correspondence with family and close friends (including Jungian analyst and friend, Paula Elkisch, and painter Sarah Blakeslee Speight), fellow activists, and death row prisoners. Topics reflected in the papers include world peace and nuclear disarmament; economic, political, and social justice for disadvantaged peoples in the U.S. and abroad; the Arab-Israeli conflict; and objection to U.S. militarism and military interference by the U.S. in the affairs of other nations.
This collection is organized into seven series:
- BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS
- SUBJECT FILES
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Margaret Goddard Holt donated her papers to the Sophia Smith Collection from 1983 to 1991. Jeanine Maland donated the remainder after Holt's death in 2005. Additional materials were donated by Helena Worthen in 2013.
Processed by Burd Schlessinger, 2009
Between September 2022 and February 2023, Smith College Special Collections renumbered many boxes to eliminate duplicate numbers within collections in order to improve researcher experience. The following changes were made in this collection: Accession 2013-S-0032, Box 1 renumbered as Box 124
Genre / Form
- Antinuclear movement -- United States
- Arab-Israeli conflict -- 1993- -- Peace
- Artists -- United States
- Artists -- United States
- Capital punishment -- United States
- Conscientious objectors -- United States
- Death row inmates -- United States -- Correspondence
- Disarmament -- Peace
- Female friendship
- Iraq War, 2003- -- Peace
- Nuclear disarmament
- Older people -- United States -- Political activity
- Older women
- Pacifists -- United States
- Peace movements
- Peace movements
- Persian Gulf War, 1991 -- Peace
- Political activists -- United States
- Significant others
- Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Protest movements
- Women and peace
- Women artists -- United States
- Women with disabilities -- United States
- Margaret Goddard Holt papers
- Finding Aid
- Finding aid prepared by Burd Schlessinger.
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (https://github.com/harvard-library/archivesspace-preprocessor)
- 2017-07-26T17:48:20-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
- 2022-03-03: Integrated description of oversized materials
Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063