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Margaret Hitchcock Emerson Papers

Identifier: MA.01006

Scope and Contents

The Margaret Hitchcock Emerson Papers consist primarily of correspondence among family members, the bulk of it to Emerson but some forwarded to her.

The collection documents in particular Emerson's relationships with family members on her mother's (Mary Waters Bryan Hitchcock) side. The families were Southerners, with roots especially in Virginia, and the collection provides insight into the lives of post-Civil War families of the region. Many of the correspondents are from the Bryan, Minor, and Williston families, and much of the material in this collection is correspondence from 1934, when Mary Hitchcock died.

There is a small selection of writings (including Amherst College topics), memorabilia, booklets, and ephemera, most of the latter from Emerson's years at Smith College. The collection is contained in 2 archives boxes (1.0 linear foot) and 1 oversize file.


  • Creation: circa 1898-1960


Conditions Governing Access

There is no restriction on access to the Margaret Hitchcock Emerson Papers for research use. Particularly fragile items may be restricted for preservation purposes.

Conditions Governing Use

Requests for permission to publish material from the Margaret Hitchcock Emerson Papers should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Biographical / Historical

Margaret Randolph Hitchcock Emerson (1899-1985) was the daughter of John Sawyer Hitchcock (AC 1889) and Mary Waters Bryan of Virginia, and the granddaughter of Dr. Edward ("Doc") Hitchcock (AC 1849) and Mary Judson on her father's side, and John Randolph Bryan ("Balloon Bryan," a Confederate soldier) and Margaret Randolph Minor on her mother's side. She married Henry Seelye Emerson (AC 1929), son of Professor Benjamin Kendall Emerson (AC 1865).

Hitchcock's maternal family had deep Southern roots, and her paternal family, Northern ones. The two regions were united in Margaret Hitchcock's generation when her grandfather Edward Hitchcock was invited to the University of Virginia to set up a physical education program like the one he had begun at Amherst. Instead of going himself, Hitchcock sent his son John shortly after the latter's graduation from Amherst College. In an interview recorded and housed at the university (see "Related Materials"), Margaret Hitchcock indicated that the Bryan family was in town to attend to the needs of an ill child when Mary Bryan met John Hitchcock. According to their daughter, John Hitchcock spent more time courting her mother than he did teaching (he was at UVA from 1889 to 1890). His subsequent medical career (and his daughter's life) was spent both in New England and in the South, and he retired in Virginia.

Margaret (Peggy) Hitchcock Emerson earned a bachelor's degree from Smith College (1922) and a master's degree from Columbia University (1925). She followed in the footsteps of her archivally-minded grandfather Doc Hitchcock and worked in the Hitchcock Memorabilia Room for many years, doing much of the early work for the archives.

Most of the material in this collection is correspondence from 1934, when Emerson's mother, Mary Waters Bryan Hitchcock died. Many of the correspondents are from the Minor, Bryan, and Williston families on Emerson's mother's side.

For Margaret Emerson's father's side, see the "Edward and Mary Judson Hitchcock Papers," which contains some correspondence to and from Emerson, as well as the "Edward and Orra White Hitchcock Papers," which covers Emerson's great-grandparents.


1.05 Linear feet (2 archives boxes 1 oversize file )

Language of Materials



The Margaret Hitchcock Emerson Papers consist of family correspondence saved by Margaret Emerson, who was a daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter of Amherst College graduates, and who worked in the Amherst College Memorabilia Room, the forerunner of the Amherst College Archives. The correspondence in the collection dates largely from the period in which Emerson attended college and graduate school approximately up to the time in which her mother (Mary Waters Bryan Hitchcock) fell ill and died (1934). Most of the correspondence is from her mother's Southern family. There is a small amount of correspondence from other years, as well as a random collection of writings, ephemera, and publications.


The collection is organized into three series:

  1. Series 1: Correspondence
  2. Series 2: Miscellaneous Materials
  3. Series 3: Writings

Custodial History

The Margaret Hitchcock Emerson Papers were added to the collection in the 1980s (a gift of Margaret Emerson) but remained in the unprocessed backlog until 2012.

Related Materials

  1. Amherst College Non-alumni biographical file: Margaret Randolph (Hitchcock) Emerson: includes a photograph of Emerson
  2. Amherst College Biographical files: Henry Seelye Emerson (AC 1929) (son of Benjamin Kendall Emerson, AC 1865); John Sawyer Hitchcock (AC 1889); John Hitchcock (AC 1926)
  3. Amherst College: Edward (AC 1849) and Mary Judson Hitchcock Papers
  4. Amherst College alumni and non-alumni files for many members of the Hitchcock and Williston families
  5. Smith College alumnae files -- Class of 1922
  6. Library of Virginia: Bryan Family Papers, 1679-1943
  7. University of Virginia, Charlottesville: Papers of Kate (Flanagan) Coles, 1913-1940
  8. University of Virginia, Charlottesville: oral history interview of Margaret H. Emerson by Charles E. Moran, March 21, 1977 (primarily reminscences about the history of UVA)
  9. University of Virginia, Charlottesville: Margaret H. Emerson materials (small collection)
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections Repository

Amherst College Archives & Special Collections
Robert Frost Library
61 Quadrangle Drive
Amherst MA 01002-5000
(413) 542-2299