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Elizabeth C. Mooney papers

Identifier: SSC-MS-00401

Scope and Contents

The Elizabeth C. Mooney Papers consist of 2.5 linear inches of correspondence and published works. The correspondence, sent from Mooney to Alice Ridenour Wareham from 1977-1984, relates to Mooney's writing, her family, her illness and occasionally to her education at Smith College. There are also two items from Alice Ridenour Wareham. One is an note Wareham wrote to herself on August 12, 1986, upon learning of the death of Mooney three months earlier. The other is a letter sent to Margery Sly, Smith College Archivist, including a description of how Wareham and Mooney met and began to exchange letters.

The collection also includes two of Mooney's published works: Men and Marriage: The Changing Role of Husbands (New York: F. Watts, 1985) and Alone, Surviving as a Widow (New York: Putnam, 1981).

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1977-1986


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

The copyright owner for this collection is unknown. 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

Elizabeth Comstock Mooney was born February 8, 1918, in Rome, New York. Mooney graduated from Smith College with the class of 1939, and soon after took work as a civilian secretary for the war effort. In 1943 she became a reporter for the Utica Press and Observer-Dispatch in western New York State. She was made bureau chief in 1945, but left in 1946 after her marriage to Booth Mooney, biographer of President Lyndon Johnson. She then became a free-lance writer, working out of Texas and then Washington, D.C., where she was a member of the Washington Independent Writers.

While raising her two children, Edward (Ted) and Joan, Mooney wrote children's books, including: Jane Addams (Chicago: Follett Pub. Co., 1968), part of the Library of American Heroes Series; The Mystery of the Narrow Land, (Chicago: Follett Pub. Co., 1969), illustrated by Winnie Fitch; and The Sandy Shoes Mystery (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1970), illustrated by Gustave E. Nebel.

When the children had grown, Mooney went back to non-fiction. She did a number of travel articles for magazines and newspapers including Smithsonian, Ladies' Home Journal, Yankee, Washingtonian, Maryland, Redbook, Newsday, and the Boston Globe. For several years she also did a regular column for the Washington Post called "The Weekend Traveler."

She also produced several books, including In the Shadow of the White Plague: A Memoir (New York: Crowell, 1979), about her mother's struggle with tuberculosis; and Alone, Surviving as a Widow (New York: Putnam, 1981), about life after the sudden death of her husband in 1977. Mooney's other full-length works are: Men and Marriage: The Changing Role of Husbands (New York: F. Watts, 1985); Not My Daughter: Facing up to Adolescent Pregnancy, with Katherine Brownell Oettinger, (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1979); and Country Adventures in Maryland, Virginia & West Virginia (Arlington, VA: Washington Book Trading, 1984), a collection of previously released travel essays.

While doing research for In the Shadow of the White Plague, Mooney became acquainted with Alice Ridenour Wareham, a fellow graduate of Smith College, then residing in Saranac Lake, New York. The two began a correspondence that was to last for nearly seven years, until the effects of an undiagnosed brain tumor limited Mooney's activity. Mooney died on May 20, 1986, in Washington, DC.


0.229 linear feet (1 container)


Author and journalist. Papers consist mainly of her letters to Alice Ridenour Wareham, a fellow graduate of Smith College, which relate to Mooney's writing, her family, her illness and her education at Smith College. Also included are letters written by Wareham about Mooney and two of Mooney's published works: Men and Marriage: The Changing Role of Husbands and Alone, Surviving as a Widow.


This collection is organized into three series:

  1. I. Biographical
  2. II. Correspondence
  3. III. Writings

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Elizabeth C. Mooney Papers were given to the Smith College Archives in 1995 by Alice Ridenour Wareham (Class of 1944). They were transferred to the Sophia Smith Collection in 2000.

Processing Information

Processed by Laura Finkel, 2000.

Elizabeth C. Mooney papers
Finding Aid
Laura Finkel
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (
  • 2005-09-23: mnsss50 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02-5c.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:20-04:00: 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