Laurenus Clark Seelye papers
Scope and Contents
The Smith College correspondence includes letters between President Marion LeRoy Burton, Harry Norman Gardiner, Arthur L. Gillett, John M. Greene, Mary Augusta Jordan, William H. Lanning, Alice (Lord) Parsons, and Herbert A. Wilder. The correspondence provides a good record of the early days of Smith College, as well as a look at the people after whom Smith College buildings and monuments are named. Names of note in the non-Smith College correspondence include Andrew Carnegie, President William McKinley, and John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Topics cover everything from money to religion. One weakness of the correspondence is that quite a few of the first names of correspondents are not apparent or are completely unknown.
The series of lectures comprises the largest portion of history in this collection. All of these works were written by Seeleye and give insight into his religious and secular views. The sermons range from 1859-1910 and include the city in which the sermon was given. Speeches are divided into religious, Washington's Birthday, and secular categories. Seeleye's lectures are divided into subject. His lectures on English Literature were given between 1864 - 1875.
Dates of Materials
- 1820 - 1995
- Majority of material found within 1875-1924
- Seelye, Laurenus Clark, 1837-1924. (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
Biographical / Historical
After graduating from Heidelberg in 1862, Seelye became a minister. He was the pastor of the Old North Church in Springfield, MA, for almost two years. It was in Springfield that he met his wife, Henrietta Chapin, a cousin of a parishioner. They had seven children: Ralph, Harriet, Abigail, Arthur, Walter, Henrietta, and Bertram. Bertram died in infancy and Arthur died tragically on Mt. Tom at the age of twenty-five. After two years at his Springfield post, Seelye’s health began to fail again and he decided to take his brother’s offer to teach English Literature at Amherst College. He remained at Amherst for ten years, until the trustees of the newly founded Smith College convinced him to be the first president. He was inaugurated on July 4, 1875. While president of Smith College, he earned a DD from Union College (1875), an LLD from Amherst (1894), and after retirement he received honorary degrees from Union College and Smith College (1913). Seelye retired from Smith College in 1910 and became the director and vice president of the Holyoke Water Power Company. That same year he was named President emeritus of Smith College. Throughout his life Seelye continued to give sermons and was frequently at the pulpit until his death on October 12, 1924.
Laurenus Clark Seelye is an important figure in Smith College history. He was the first president of the college and held the position for thirty-seven years (1873-1910). During his presidency, the college grew from fourteen to over 1600 students and from four faculty members (including Seelye himself) to over one hundred faculty members. After retiring, he remained a part of Smith College life and his connection can be traced through photographs, correspondence, and news articles.
16.958 linear feet (29 containers)
Language of Materials
- I. Biography
- II. Correspondence
- III. Sermons/Speeches/Lectures
- IV. Publications
- V. Photographs
- VI. Henrietta Chapin Seelye
Immediate Source of Acquisition
- Burton, Marion Le Roy, 1874-1925
- Carnegie, Andrew, 1835-1919.
- Gardiner, H. Norman (Harry Norman), 1855-1927
- Gillett, Arthur L.
- Greene, John Morton, 1830-1919.
- Jordan, Mary A. (Mary Augusta), 1855-1941
- McKinley, William, 1843-1901.
- Parsons, Alice Tullis Lord.
- Rockefeller, John D. (John Davison), 1874-1960.
- Seelye, Henrietta Chapin.
- Seelye, Laurenus Clark, 1837-1924.
- Smith College -- Presidents
- Smith College. Office of President.
- Smith College. Office of President.
- Finding aid to the Laurenus Clark Seelye papers
- Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
- Bridget Byrne '99; Ellice Amanna; Scott Biddle
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
- 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (https://github.com/harvard-library/archivesspace-preprocessor)
- 2005-09-23: manosca1 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02-5c.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
- 11/12/18: Finding aid updated with new containers, box numbers, barcodes, locations
- 2019-11-22: Container added, finding aid updated with notes, dates, barcodes
- 2020-06-16: Added flat file folders with instances
Part of the Smith College Archives Repository
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063