Scope and Contents
The Marion Edwards Park papers consist of the materials that were kept in her secretary’s office in Bryn Mawr College’s Taylor Hall while Park served as president. The collection, which spans Park’s tenure as President of the College (1922 to 1942), provides insight into the administrative workings of Bryn Mawr during the Depression and World War II.
The collection is divided into two series: “Series I: Miscellaneous Biographical Material, Personal Letters, Reprinted Information,” and “Series II: Office Files, 1922-1942.”
The first series consists of one document box containing miscellaneous biographical material, personal letters, and reprinted information. It contains materials pertaining to Park’s 1922 inauguration. It also contains a large amount of correspondence, with correspondents such as Frederica de Laguna, Laurence Stapleton, Margaret and Katharine Lord, and Josephine Goldmarsh. This series further contains miscellaneous recollections, reprints, and speeches (all of which are undated).
The second series is much larger than the first. It consists of thirty-five document boxes which store subject files and correspondence files arranged in alphabetical order. These materials were taken from Park’s secretary’s office in Taylor Hall following her retirement, and cover a wide range of topics related to the college. Much of the material is related to academics and student life, including information concerning admissions; the College Entrance Examination Board 1927-1938; exams, faculty such as Florence Bascom; SGA; the alumnae association; traditions; and exams. There are also materials concerning buildings on campus, such as Bettws-Y-Coed, the Psychology building; Goodhart, the theater; Thomas Library (now Thomas Great Hall); and the Phebe Anna Thorne School. There is also material related to college outreach: to foreign students, in the shape of the Chinese Scholarship Fund; to working-class women, in the form of the Summer School for Women Workers in Industry; and to other colleges, as materials from the Five Colleges Conference and early Tri-College partnership reveal. This series contains around 2.5 boxes of Marion Park’s speeches given over the years. It also contains a fair number of materials on Park’s predecessor, M. Carey Thomas.
M. Carey Thomas set the course for Bryn Mawr as an elite, exclusive college. Over Park’s tenure, the College expanded and strengthened its relationship with other nearby colleges, managing to thrive during the years of the Depression. This collection provides invaluable access to the workings of the Park administration and would be useful for anyone studying Bryn Mawr history during the 1920s-1940s.
Copyright and Rights Information
The Marion Edwards Park papers are the physical property of the Special Collections Department, Bryn Mawr College Library. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heris or assigns.
Biographical / Historical
Marion Edwards Park was born in 1875 in Gloversville, NY. She arrived at Bryn Mawr College in 1894 as a freshman in the class of 1898. She distinguished herself as a scholar, winning the college's European Fellowship upon her graduation, the college's highest academic honor at that time. After spending a year at the University of Chicago in 1900, she spent two years at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens. she also studied at Colorado College and Johns Hopkins University, earning her PhD in classics from Bryn Mawr College in 1918.
Park's career in academia began with a teaching position at Miss Wheeler's School in Providence. She served as dean of Simmons College from 1918 to 1921, and dean at Radcliffe from 1921 to 1922.
Following the retirement of M. Carey Thomas, Park became president of Bryn Mawr College in 1922, a position she would hold for the next twenty years. During her tenure she significantly increased enrollment, broadened the curriculum, and expanded cooperation with Haverford, Swarthmore, and the University of Pennsylvania. Although she was in office during the difficult years of the Depression, she helped the college attract the gifts and contributions that enabled it to construct four buildings. Bryn Mawr's science center was later named after her.
Park retired in 1942. She died in 1960 at Jordan Hospital in Plymouth, Massachusetts.