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Guide to the Eva March Tappan Papers, 1881-1925

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Collection Summary

Repository: Archives and Special Collections Library, Vassar College Libraries
Creator: Tappan, Eva March, 1854-1930
Title: Eva March Tappan Papers
Dates: 1881-1925
Quantity: .4 cubic ft (2 boxes)
Abstract: Material relating to Tappan's work as a children's book author. Also includes some of her artwork, items relating to her time at Vassar College, and other biographical material.
Forms of Materials: Manuscripts, drawings, paintings, photographs, diaries, and publications.

Biographical Note

Eva March Tappan, the only child of a Baptist minister and a former school teacher, was born in Blackstone, MA. She was graduated in 1875 from Vassar, where she began to develop an interest in writing. After graduation she turned to teaching, going to Wheaton Seminary. Later she was able to begin graduate studies in English at the University of Pennsylvania, where she earned a Ph.D. in 1896. In the same year she published her first children's book, Charles Lamb, the Man and the Author. The next year she took a position as head of the English department at English High School in Worcester, MA. By 1904 Miss Tappan had published nine more books, among them In the Days of Alfred the Great and Old Ballads in Prose, giving her sufficient income to retire from teaching. Her books, many of which were textbooks, were mostly devoted to history, biography, the retelling of folk tales, and literary classics such as The Chaucer Story Book. Eva March Tappan also translated many foreign folk tales, and her work placed her in the forefront of the trend toward historical and folk stories for children. Until her death Tappan lived quietly in Worcester, attending meetings of the local Vassar Club and the Boston Authors' Club, but devoting most of her energy to the careful and thorough research which distinguishes her work.

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Scope and Content Note

Manuscripts of Tappan's stories and histories written for children, 1881-1897 and undated; reminiscences from the 50th reunion of her Vassar class, 1925; her drawings, watercolors, and photographs; catalog from Worcester, Mass., English High School where she taught, 1898; a letter of recommendation for Tappan; her "Christmas Book," 1909-1918; and other miscellaneous items.

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Access and Use


This collection is open for research according to the regulations of the Vassar College Archives and Special Collections Library without any additional restrictions.

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Subject Headings


  • English High School (Worcester, Mass.)
  • Vassar College--Alumnae.
  • Vassar College. Class of 1875.


  • Children's literature--Women authors.
  • Women authors, American.
  • Women teachers.

Document Types:

  • Drawings.
  • Paintings.
  • Photoprints.

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Encoding Information

Encoded by Elizabeth Clarke, April 2007.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Eva March Tappan Papers, Archives and Special Collections Library, Vassar College Libraries.

Processing Information

Original processing date unknown.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Sylvia (Sands) Paxton, VC 1962, and Bates College.

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Container List

Folder 1.1 Biographical information - address book
Folder 1.1 Biographical information - catalogue for Worcester English High School, 1898-1899
Folder 1.1 Biographical information - letter of recommendation concerning E.M.T.
Folder 1.1 Biographical information - "Christmas Book," 1909-1918
Folder 2.7 Biographical information - Diaries (3 items)
Folder 1.4 Manuscript - "The History That the Children Wrote" (TSs, 151p)
Folder 1.4 Manuscript - "What We Know about Alfred the Great," (TSs, 55p)
Folder 1.4 Manuscript - Children's stories with no titles, (TS)
Folder 1.4 Manuscript - "A Winter Sunday by the Sea," 13 Feb 1881 (AMS, 21p)
Folder 1.4 Manuscript - "A Summer Around the Bay of Fundy," 30 Dec 1886 (AMS, 80p)
Folder 1.4 Manuscript - "What Was the Secret of Jesus' Power?" 1897? (TSS, 15p)
Folder 1.4 Manuscript - Speech with handwritten note (TS)
Folder 1.4 Manuscript - One sheet of music of a hymn with words probably written by E.M.T.
Folder 1.4 Manuscript - "Friends That I Have Seen," 3 Feb. 1884 (TS, 17p)
Folder 1.4 Manuscript - "The Young Man Who Used His Brains," n.d. (TS, 7p ; MS, 14p)
Folder 1.5 Publications
Folder 2.6 Vassariana - Includes reminiscences at time of 50th reunion, 7 May 1925
Folder 1.2 Photographs (10 items)
Folder 1.3 Drawings (65 items)
Folder 1.3 Watercolor sketches (2 items)
Folder 2.8 Miscellaneous

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