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Helen Begley Nixon papers

Identifier: SSC-MS-00113

Scope and Contents

The Helen Begley Nixon papers consist of 1.5 linear feet (4 document boxes) of correspondence, photographs, printed material, and memorabilia reflecting her professional life. In addition there is material she collected on subjects that were of interest to her, mostly about women. The Papers are arranged in three series (I. Korea, II. Germany, and III. Vietnam) by country in general chronological order. Approximately one quarter to one third of the material is in German, and an additional quarter in Vietnamese, Korean, and French. There is virtually no personal material.

The smallest amount of material is from Nixon's time in Korea and consists of four folders. These contain printed material and reports about women in Korea, reports, and one photograph of the General Federation of Korean Women, plus correspondence and printed material from the Women's Bureau of the Office of the Military Governor, 1946-55. In this series there is also a folder of printed material about women in China and Japan that Nixon obviously collected while in Korea.

The largest portion of the Nixon papers is from Germany, most of which is contained in 10 linear inches of reports and related material (1945-53) collected while Nixon was associated with the Women's Affairs Branch of the U.S. High Commission for Occupied Germany. These cover a wide range of topics, including, education and culture, exchanges with women in the United States, women's organizations, employment and the position of women in Germany after World War II. Included also in this series is general printed material (clippings, articles, periodicals) about women in Germany, plus one photograph (1952) of Dr. Dorothy Fosdick and Dr. Else Ulich-Beil President of Deutscher.

The final series is from Vietnam and reflects Nixon's role as Refugee Settlement Advisor of the International Cooperation Administration in Vietnam. This consists of five inches of material, including articles, clippings and printed material about women in Vietnam, 1954-1957; reports, memos and correspondence about orphanages, International Women's Association, refugees and voluntary agencies. This series also contains 27 photographs.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1945-1951


Language of Materials

English, German, French, Korean, Vietnamese

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

Most of the material is published and owner of copyright for unpublished material 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

Helen Begley Nixon was born on March 13, 1900, in Holyoke, Massachusetts, daughter of Mr. and Mrs Thomas E. Begley. She graduated from Holyoke High School in 1917. Following graduation from Smith College in 1921, she taught English and history at the Allegheny County Academy in Cumberland, Maryland for five years. Between 1926 and 1948 she was director of the Red Cross in Holyoke, and Red Cross civilian relief representative in the American military governments of France, Belgium, Austria, and Germany. From 1946 to 1948 she was Chief Advisor of the Women's Bureau of the American military government in Korea where she helped reestablish the Korean Red Cross. From 1948 to 1953 Nixon was Cultural Officer for the Public Affairs Division of Women's Affairs for the U.S. High Commissioner in Germany, Cecil Lyon. She administered adult education and community organizing. Beginning circa 1955 to 1957, Nixon was the Refugee Settlement Advisor of the International Cooperation Administration Mission. the U.S. Great Britain, and France, plus seven voluntary agencies (CARE, Church World Service, Catholic Relief Services, International Research Council) who gave money, food, clothing, farm tools, and drugs to Vietnam. Her job was to resettle 650,000 refugees. She also established the first International Women's Association in Vietnam and served as it's first president. She also served on the Board of the Family Welfare School for Young Women. In 1957 she returned to the United States, and circa 1961 became an agency social worker with the Jicarilla Tribe in Dulce, New Mexico.


1.542 linear feet (4 containers)


Red Cross official; Relief worker, World War II; Refugee relief organizer, Vietnam; and President, International Women's Association, Vietnam. The papers document the lives of women in Korea; in Germany after World War II; and in Vietnam, as well as orphanages, and refugees. Material includes correspondence, photographs, and memorabilia; approximately one quarter of the collection is in German, and some is in Vietnamese, Korean, and French.


This collection is organized into three series:

  1. I. Korea
  2. II. Germany
  3. III. Vietnam

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Helen Begley Nixon Papers were a gift of Mrs. Nixon, 1966-1972.

Processing Information

Processed by Susan Boone, 1997.

Helen Begley Nixon papers
Finding Aid
Susan Boone
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: mnsss54 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02-5c.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:22-04:00: 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