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Ida Belle Gwynn Garvin papers

Identifier: SSC-MS-00623

Scope and Contents

The Ida Belle Gwynn Garvin Papers primarily consist of letters from Ida Gwynn Garvin to her mother, Adaline Gwynn. The letters span the years 1916 (when Garvin was hospitalized for tuberculosis at a sanatorium in Colorado Springs, Colorado), through 1920 (three months before she died), when she and her children attempted homesteading on a claim near Loma, Montana. The Papers also include some biographical information about and photographs of the Gwynn and Garvin families and a couple of letters by Ida Gwynn Garvin's daughters.

Ida Garvin's letters were part of the research for Marcia Meredith Hensley's book, Staking Her Claim: Women Homesteading the West (High Plains Press, 2008).

Dates of Materials

  • 1890-2008


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The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to unpublished works in this collection created by Ida Belle Gwynn Garvin; however, copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. 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. For instances which may regard materials in the collection not created by Garvin, 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

Ida Belle Gwynn Garvin was born October 4, 1869, in Jefferson Township, Ohio, to farmers Adaline Root and Ira Gwynn. She married farmer Norman S. Garvin and settled first in Richland Township, then Hale Township, Ohio. The Garvins had seven children: Gwynn (b. 1898), Juanita (b. 1900), Irma (b. 1903), Gage (b. 1906), Daniel (b. 1909), Amer (b. 1913) and Edwin (b. 1914). Ida Garvin seems to have been widowed not long after the birth of her last child, although there is conflicting information about her husband's date of death.

Garvin contracted tuberculosis, and in 1916 spent time in Nob Hill Lodge Sanitarium in Colorado Springs, Colorado, leaving the children in the care of her mother. Her doctors recommended moving to a dry climate, so she conceived the idea of homesteading in Montana, not far from her brother, John Gwynn in Chouteau County. In late 1916 Garvin signed papers to take over a relinquished property near Loma, Montana. She lived on the property with her children until February 1918, when illness forced her to move in with her brother and sister-in-law in Loma. From that time, Garvin moved back and forth between Loma and the homestead, depending on her health and on the severity of the weather, perfecting her claim to the property on June 12, 1920. Ida Belle Gwynn Garvin died in the hospital at Fort Benton, Montana, on January 29, 1921.


0.438 linear feet (1 container)

0.198 Gigabytes

Language of Materials



Ida Belle Gwynn Garvin was a homemaker and homesteader, born in 1869. The Ida Belle Gwynn Garvin Papers is comprised of letters from Ida Gwynn Garvin to her mother, Adaline Gwynn, as well as biographical information and photographs of the Gwynn and Garvin families and letters from Ida Gwynn Garvin's daughters.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

This collection contains materials received from the donor in digital form that are not currently available online. Please consult with Special Collections staff to request access to this digital content.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Faith Mullen, great-granddaughter of Ida Belle Gwynn Garvin, donated the Ida Belle Gwynn Garvin Papers to the Sophia Smith Collection in 2008.

Processing Information

Processed by Megan Yeo, April 3, 2015.

The contents of computer media in this collection has been copied to networked storage for preservation and access; the original directory and file structure was retained and file lists were created.

Ida Belle Gwynn Garvin papers
Finding Aid
Finding aid prepared by Megan G. Yeo.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:23-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
  • 2020-06-11: Description added for born-digital content.

Repository Details

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

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063