Skip to main content

Dorothy North Haskins papers, 1905-1958

Identifier: BMC-M5

Scope and Contents

The Dorothy North Haskins papers house the correspondence and other materials of Dorothy North Haskins, Bryn Mawr class of 1909. The papers span the years 1905 to 1958, but the bulk of the material is from 1917 to 1923. The papers document Haskins' career as a relief worker in France, Austria, and Russia.

The collection is organized into two series: “Series I: Correspondence” and “Series II: Other Papers.”

“Series I: Correspondence” is organized into three subseries: “Outgoing, 1918-1923,” “Incoming, 1911-1950,” and “Third Party, 1914-1922.” Each subseries is arranged alphabetically. The majority of the outgoing letters are to Haskins' mother, Elizabeth Holmes North, covering the years 1919 to 1923. The second largest group of letters is to Haskins' sister, Helen Brigham North, and span 1918 to 1920. There is a small group of letters from the same time period that are addressed to other relief workers who were also Haskins' friends. Haskins' letters contain detailed descriptions of her daily relief work in France, Austria, and Russia, where she distributed food and clothing, among other activities. The incoming letters are from Haskins' friends and colleagues, describing their own work and keeping her informed about their activities. This subseries includes a number of letters from Jane Addams, who had supervised Haskins' work at Hull House; Addams thanks Haskins for her continuing support of Hull House and commends her on her relief work. The Third Party letters include a letter from Addams to Haskins' mother, Elizabeth Holmes North, regarding the Chicago Woman's Club; a few letters to North regarding Haskins' trip to Russia; and several letters, some transcripts, between Haskins' colleagues. See M.A. thesis by Judith Regueiro, "The Papers of Dorothy North: Famine Relief in Russia" (1985), for description and transcription of some letters focusing on travel to Russia.

“Series II: Other Papers” is organized into five subseries: “Accounts, Reports, and Articles, 1918-1958;” “Journals of Dorothy North Haskins, 1905-1924;” “Journal of Elizabeth Holmes North;” “Photographs, 1917-1930;” and “Other Materials, 1910-1948.” The first subseries consists of accounts, reports, and articles written by Haskins and by her colleagues about their relief work. Many of the writings were meant for publicity purposes in order to solicit funds for further relief work by the American Friends Service Committee. Some are internal notes and reports. The second subseries contains Haskins' journals from 1905 to 1924. The journals vary from commonplace books to detailed descriptions to line-a-day entries. The third subseries contains a journal by Haskins' mother, Elizabeth Holmes North, from 1915 to 1922, which consists of a few lines of notes for each day that is entered, although not all days are represented. The photographs consist of snapshots, presumably by Haskins, of scenes and people in France, Austria, and Russia, from 1917 to 1923. In addition, there are snapshots of Haskins herself, spanning the years from 1917 to the 1950s. There are also two studio portraits that belonged to Haskins' friend, Olive M. Lesley, one of historian Charles Guignebert and one of pianist Ignace Jan Paderewski. Also in this series are other materials collected by Haskins, such as her 1934 certificate of marriage, materials regarding the North Family cemetery plot, and three pins from the Foreign Service and the American Red Cross, among other items.

The American Friends Service Committee was founded in Haverford, PA in 1917 to provide relief to civilian victims of World War I. Dorothy North Haskins was part of the AFSC from the start, beginning her work in the summer of 1917. This collection provides insight into Haskins’ relief work and would be of value to anyone interested in WWI history, Quaker relief efforts, and the AFSC in particular.


  • Creation: 1905 - 1969


Limitations on Accessing the Collection

This collection is open for research.

Copyright and Rights Information

The Dorothy North Haskins papers is the physical property of the Special Collections Department, Bryn Mawr College Library. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns.

Biographical / Historical

Dorothy North Haskins, a relief worker, was born in Chicago on 13 November 1886. She attended the Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, and then attended Bryn Mawr College (Class of 1909), where she majored in history and economics. One of her classmates was Anna Marcet Haldeman, niece of Jane Addams, who founded the Chicago settlement house, Hull House. Addams also lectured at Bryn Mawr in 1908. After graduation, Haskins went to Hull House, where she worked from 1910 until the summer of 1917. That fall, she began her affiliation with the American Friends Service Committee, traveling to France to serve as a relief worker. She returned to Chicago in January 1919, but after five months she went back to France. In January 1920, Haskins transferred to Austria, where she worked until November. She again returned to Chicago, but then re-enlisted in June 1921 and went back to Austria, where she worked until May 1922. Haskins then transferred to Russia, where she did relief work until March 1923, when she again returned to Chicago.

Haskins married Sidney G. Haskins in 1934 and moved with him to Ongar, Essex County, England in 1935, where she served as President of the Women's Institute from 1936 to 1948. During World War II, she served with the Women's Voluntary Service, working with evacuees.

The Haskins returned to Lake Forest, Illinois in 1949. She died there on December 2, 1962.


2 Linear Feet (4 boxes)




Dorothy North Haskins (1886-1962), BMC 1909, was a relief worker in France, Austria, and Chicago during and after WWI, acting as part of the American Friends Service Committee. The Papers include many letters written during this time, official reports and documents on relief work, diaries, and photographs.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Sidney G. Haskins, 1982.

Dorothy North Haskins papers, 1905-1958
Miriam B. Spectre, Melissa Torquato, Cassidy Gruber Baruth
June 2000
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Find It at the Library

Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting or requesting reproductions from Bryn Mawr College Library

Bryn Mawr College Library
101 N. Merion Avenue
Bryn Mawr 19010 USA US