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Rebecca Osborn papers

 Collection
Identifier: HC.MC-1295

Scope and Contents

This collection contains the personal and professional papers of Rebecca Osborn, a Quaker author, poet, and social worker. A prolific writer, Osborn wrote and published both personal reflective pieces about her own life as well as articles about psychology, family matters, and poems. In her writings, Osborn speaks frankly about her personal difficulities, including her time in a psychiatric hosptial and her long divorce. This collection shows the full breadth of Osborn's life and work, from her childhood essays, to her memoir, to her reflections of her retirement community.

Dates

  • Creation: 1914-2013

Creator

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).

Biographical Note

Rebecca Rumford McNees Osborn (1921-2014) was born on September 12th, 1921, the third daughter of Wendell George McNees and Helen Bye McNees in Chester, Pennsylvania. She had three sisters, Mary, Margaret, and Alice. Osborn graduated from Media High School in 1939 and was co-captain of the hockey team and editor of the newsletter (yearbook). She received her bachelor's in English Literature with High Honors from Smith College in Massachusets in 1943, and a master's of Social Work from Ohio State University in 1972.

Osborn started her career teaching English at the Moravian Seminar for Women in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, from 1946 to 1948. She spent some time in Montana from 1948 to 1955, working for the United States Forest Service and then teaching English literature and composition at Montana State College. Then she and her family moved to East Lansing, Michigan, and then back to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She held a variety of positions in the social work and counseling fields. She worked in the Family Service Association of Wyoming Valley, the College Misericordia in Dallas, Pennsylvania; Wesley Village in Interman, Pennsylvania; Medical Home Care Corporation in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania; Catholic Social Services in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania; and the Family Service of Montgomery County in East Greenville, Pennsylvania. In 1980, she opened her own private practice. She was also the executive director of the Lehigh Valley Mental Health Association in Allentown, Pennsylvania, from 1967 to 1970. She was a prolific writer, and her articles about marriage, family, and psychology were published in a variety of magazines and journals. She also wrote and published poetry.

Osborn was a member of Unami Friends Meeting in Pennsburg, Pennsylvania. She helped organize the United Friends School in Quakertown and served on the board from 1985 to 2000.

She married Joseph Osborn in 1948 and they had three children, Julie, Rachel, and Frank. Following Frank's birth, Osborn expereienced post-partum psychosis and was hospitalized three times at the Friends Hospital in Philadelphia. She writes about this experience in her diaries and personal essays. In 1984, Rebecca and Joseph divorced. Osborn retired from her private practice in Wilkes-Barre in 1986, and then joined Abington Quarterly Meeting. She passed away on August 13, 2014.

Extent

5 Linear Feet (12 boxes)

Language

English

Overview

This collection contains the personal and professional papers of Rebecca Osborn, a Quaker author, poet, and social worker. A prolific writer, Osborn wrote and published both personal reflective pieces about her own life as well as articles about psychology, family matters, and poems. In her writings, Osborn speaks frankly about her personal difficulities, including her time in a psychiatric hosptial and her long divorce. This collection shows the full breadth of Osborn's life and work, from her childhood essays, to her memoir, to her reflections of her retirement community.

Arrangement

This collection is arranged in five series: biographical materials, correspondence, social work materials, poetry and creative writings, and legal and financial documents. The first two series relate primarily to Rebecca Osborn's personal life, whereas the series about social work and poetry are primarily her professional documents. The series about legal and financial documents contains paperwork from her divorce and the finances of her private practice. Within each series, the materials are arranged chronologically.

Processing Information

Processed by Madison Arnold-Scerbo; completed June, 2018.

Title
Rebecca Osborn papers
Author
Madison Arnold-Scerbo
Date
June, 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
English

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 Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections Library

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Haverford PA 19041 USA US