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Guide to the Christine Ladd-Franklin Papers, 1860-1873

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Collection Summary

Repository: Archives and Special Collections Library, Vassar College Libraries
Creator: Ladd-Franklin, Christine, 1847-1930
Title: Christine Ladd-Franklin Papers
Dates: 1860-1873
Quantity: .05 cubic ft. (2 volumes and one letter)
Abstract: Diary of Christine Ladd-Franklin, Vassar College Class of 1869. Describes her experiences as a Vassar student, the challenges of financing her education, and her early years of teaching before beginning her graduate work in mathematics.
Forms of Materials: Diaries, correspondence.

Biographical Note

Christine Ladd-Franklin, psychologist, mathematician, and logician, was born in Windsor, CT. She took the college preparatory course at Wesleyan Academy in Wilbraham, MA, and continued her education at Vassar, graduating in 1869. After leaving Vassar, Ladd taught science in various secondary schools, studied mathematics on her own, and published several articles on mathematics in the English Educational Times. At the age of thirty-two she was admitted to graduate study at Johns Hopkins, where she met her husband, Fabian Franklin, a professor of mathematics. While at Johns Hopkins, she contributed several papers to the American Journal of Mathematics. Ladd-Franklin pursued her scholarly career with remarkable energy, beginning with work in symbolic logic and continuing with her research in the theory of vision, especially color vision, which formed a significant contribution to psychology. Her paper on binocular vision was published in the first volume of the American Journal of Psychology (November 1887). A Ph.D. was given, belatedly, by John Hopkins in 1926. Vassar awarded her an honorary LL.D. in 1887, the only honorary degree ever awarded by Vassar. A lecturer in psychology and logic at Johns Hopkins and Columbia, Ladd-Franklin was associate editor for J.M. Baldwin's three-volume Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology (1901-05), presented papers at several international congresses, as well as meetings of the American Philosophical Association and American Psychological Association.

Throughout her life, Ladd-Franklin worked to widen women's opportunities for education and academic employment. With her daughter, Margaret, she shared an interest in the campaign for women's suffrage.

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Scope and Content Note

Two original manuscript diaries, ca. 1860-66 and 1866-73. Describe her experiences as a Vassar student, the challenges of financing her education, and her early years of teaching before beginning her graduate work in mathematics. They also express a determined feminism and irritation with contemporary attitudes toward women and limitations on their freedom and opportunities. There is also one letter to "Harry" from 1869.

The Christine Ladd-Franklin Papers form part of the Vassar College Student Materials Collection.

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Access and Use

Access

This collection is open for research according to the regulations of the Vassar College Archives and Special Collections Librarywithout any additional restrictions.

Restrictions on Use

Due to the fragility of the diaries, researchers will be asked to use the photocopies of the volumes. Alternately, researchers can use the digitized version of the second volume.

Permission to quote (publish) from unpublished or previously published material must be obtained as described in the regulations of the Vassar College Archives and Special Collections Library.

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Subject Headings

Organizations:

  • Vassar College--Students.

Subjects:

  • Feminism.
  • Women mathematicians.
  • Women psychologists.
  • Women college students--New York (State)--Poughkeepsie.
  • Women--Diaries.
  • Women--Education.
  • Women--History.
  • Women--Social conditions.

Document Types:

  • Diaries.

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Encoding Information

Encoded by Laura Finkel, July 2008.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Christine Ladd-Franklin Papers, Archives and Special Collections Library, Vassar College Libraries.

Processing Information

A transcript of the second volume was prepared in conjunction with Rebecca Edwards and the Vassar College History Department, and was reworked for use in the digitized version of the diary. The digitization project was completed in 2005.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Inez Pollak, VC 1925.

Other Formats

The later volume (1866-1873) has been digitized and is available electronically via Hudson River Valley Heritage

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Other Finding Aids

The Christine Ladd-Franklin Papers form part of the Vassar College Student Materials Collection, which has its own finding aid.

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Container List

VCSM Box 135 Volume I, 1860-1866 [original]
VCSM Box 133 Volume I, 1860-1866 [photocopies]
VCSM Box 135 Volume II, 1866-1873 [original]
VCSM Box 133 Volume II, 1866-1873 [photocopies]
VCSM Box 71 Letter to Harry, 8 May 1869

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