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Margaret Goddard Holt papers

 Collection
Identifier: SSC-MS-00196

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

  • 1814-2004
  • Majority of material found within 1960-2000

Creator

Language of Materials

English

Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection with the following exceptions:

  1. Margaret Holt's diaries are closed until January 1, 2028.
  2. 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

Extent

70.918 linear feet (126 containers)

Abstract

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.

Arrangement

This collection is organized into seven series:

  1. BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS
  2. CORRESPONDENCE
  3. WRITINGS
  4. ACTIVISM
  5. ARTWORK
  6. PHOTOGRAPHS
  7. SUBJECT FILES

Arrangement

This collection has been added to over time in multiple "accessions." An accession is a group of materials received from the same source at approximately the same time. Note that in most cases, container numbers start over at 1 with each new accession.

Other Finding Aids

One or more content listings to individual accessions in this collection are available for download. Links can be found in the description of the individual accessions.

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.

Related Materials

Related materials can be found in the Sophia Smith Collection in the Clark-Warner Family Papers, the Frances Crowe Papers, and the Arise for Social Justice Records.

Related materials can be found in Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. DuBois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst in the Amherst Disarmament Coalition Collection, the Gray Panthers of the Pioneer Valley Records, and the Gray Panthers of Hampden County.

Processing Information

Processed by Burd Schlessinger, 2009

Processing Information

Starting in September 2022, Smith College Special Collections will be renumbering many boxes to eliminate duplicate numbers within collections in order to improve researcher experience. The following changes will be made in this collection: Accession 2013-S-0032, Box 1 renumbered as Box 124

Title
Margaret Goddard Holt papers
Subtitle
Finding Aid
Author
Finding aid prepared by Burd Schlessinger.
Date
2009
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)
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:20-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
  • 2022-03-03: Integrated description of oversized materials

Repository Details

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

Contact:
Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063