Elizabeth Stoffregen May papers
MC.066

Summary Information

Repository
Marion B. Gebbie Archives and Special Collections
Creator - Creator
May, Elizabeth Stoffregen, 1907-
Title
Elizabeth Stoffregen May papers
ID
MC.066
Date [inclusive]
1949-2001
Extent
3.6 Cubic feet 9 archival boxes
Language
English
Abstract
The majority of the Elizabeth Stoffregen May papers focus on her interaction with Wheaton College. The documents are very specific relating to May’s various positions while at Wheaton College. The documents illustrate the different roles that Mrs. May filled while at Wheaton College as Academic Dean 1949-56, Dean of the College 1957-60, Acting President 1960-62 and as Professor of Economics. The documents span the years 1949 until 2001 but the bulk of the collection is in the years from 1949 to 1964. The collection concentrates on the daily administrative responsibilities of running a college. The documents consist mainly of administrative materials and correspondence. Additionally found within the collection are newspaper clippings, photographs, speeches and lecture notes from the courses she taught on International Trade and Public Finance.

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Biography

Elizabeth Stoffregen May was born in St Louis, Missouri, on April 25, 1907, the daughter of Carl H. Stoffregen, and Caroline (Stumpf) Stoffregen. Carl H. Stoffregen was a businessman involved in the coffee roasting business, which on May 26, 1911 formed the forerunner of today’s National Coffee Association.

She graduated from Smith College, MA in 1928 with honors in Economics. She did her postgraduate work at Radcliffe College, Cambridge, Massachusetts, from 1930-31. In 1931 she received her Ph.D., from the London School of Economics and Political Science. That same year she married Geoffrey May on September 22, 1931.

Upon returning to the United States Mrs. May taught at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland, where she was an economics professor from 1931 to 1939. During World War II, she left Goucher College to work for the federal government in Washington, D.C. She was an economic analyst at the Treasury Department from 1939-41, and a principal fiscal analyst at the Bureau of the Budget from 1941-47.

When Geoffrey May was appointed to the post-war aid mission to Greece, Elizabeth May accompanied him and worked as a contractor for the United States Mission for Aid to Greece, from 1947-48.

In August 18, 1949 she was hired as Academic Dean at Wheaton College, Norton, Massachusetts. She and Geoffrey May resided during the academic year at Wheaton’s Hollyhock House, and they spent the rest of the year at their home on West Bare Hill Road in Harvard, Massachusetts.

In addition to her administrative duties as Academic Dean, Mrs. May also taught two upper level economics classes, International Trade and Public Finance.

Elizabeth May served as Acting President for a 6-month period in 1956, while President A. Howard Meneely took a sabbatical. The Trustees formally designated a title change from Academic Dean to Dean of the College on November 10, 1956. The Trustees voted that in the absence or incapacity of the President, the Dean of the College would fulfill the duties of the President under the direction of the Board of Trustees.

In 1960-61 Mrs. May was appointed Wheaton’s Acting President following the death of President Meneely. She filled the post until the search for a new president concluded with the hiring of William C.H. Prentice. Wheaton College awarded Mrs. May an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 1962..

In 1963, May was elected first vice-president of the American Association of University Women (AAUW), a post she filled from 1961- 69. She had been a member of AAUW since the 1930’s.

Geoffrey May died suddenly in February 1964. That same year, Elizabeth May left Wheaton College when President Lyndon Johnson appointed her as the first female member of the board of directors of the U.S. Export-Import Bank. She remained at the board from 1964-69.

During this period she remained connected to Wheaton College by participating in the President’s Committee, an advisory group established by President Prentice. Although she retired from the committee in 1973, Mrs. May remained very active in the Wheaton community by participating in other committees, frequently visiting the campus, and making donations to the college including land in Wyoming. In 1983, the faculty lounge in Mary Lyon Hall was renamed The Elizabeth May Faculty Club additionally a portrait of Mrs. May also hangs in the faculty club in recognition of her contribution to the growth of Wheaton College.

Mrs. May formed strong lifelong associations at Wheaton, particularly with Jane Chidsey, Wheaton professor of Biology, who shared her home after Geoffrey May’s death. She worked closely with Leota Colpitts, the Dean of Students at Wheaton.

In 1977, May became a founding member of the Wolf Trap Center for the Performing Arts in Virginia, in association with Catherine Filene Shouse, Wheaton Class of 1918. She served as President of the International Federation of University Women from 1974-77. She is also a member of the Trustee Consortium of Universities, Washington.

She belonged to a number of clubs such as the Cosmopolitan in New York City, the Chilton in Boston, and University Women in London.

May also authored two books, Government, Business and the Individual in 1936 and International Control in the Nonferrous Metals in 1937 along with W.Y. Elliot.

In 1999, she was among the thirty alumnae honored by Smith College in celebration of its 125th year. In 2001, she was named ‘Citizen of Note’ for the town of Harvard, MA.

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Scope and Contents

The manuscript collection is very specific relating to the years that Mrs. May was involved with Wheaton College in either capacity as Economics Professor, Academic Dean of Wheaton College, Dean of the College and as Acting President. Her later associations with the school, by serving on committees or in a fund raising capacity are also covered in detail.

The documents cover Mrs. May’s association with Wheaton College from 1949 to 2001 in professional and personal correspondence, administrative materials, Wheaton publications, speeches, newspapers clippings, Christmas cards and letters and postcards. The bulk of the collection covers the years between 1949 and 1964. The strength of the collection is the detailing of the day-to-day operations of Wheaton College in her various administrative and academic positions. Of particular importance are the documents and surveys related to Wheaton‘s expansion planned by Mrs. May during her tenure as Acting President in 1955 and as Dean of the College until 1964. Her later involvement with AAUW, Wolf Trap Center, and the Export-Import Bank, are only superficially mentioned.

The collection is divided into eight series: ACADEMIC DEAN, DEAN OF THE COLLEGE, ACTING PRESIDENT, Course/Academic MATERIAL, LECTURE NOTES, SPEECHES, COMMITTEES, PERSONAL CORRESPONDENCE and PHOTOGRAPHS.

The ACADEMIC DEAN series documents the years from 1949 to 1956. The series is especially strong in administrative correspondences that document the daily functioning of the college. Included in this series are the Wheaton expansion plans and supporting documentation.

The DEAN OF THE COLLEGE series covers the period between 1957 and 1960. Of particular interest is the working calendar that Elizabeth May kept during the years 1960-1964. The calendar includes agenda items, schedules and notes on administrative and personal appointments. The calendar, which was not intended for public view, offers a glimpse into Mrs. May’s priorities and evidence of her daily activities. The most detailed entries are found for years 1960 and 1961, when she was Acting President.

The ACTING PRESIDENT series includes extensive coverage of the administrative functioning of the college spanning the years 1960-64. Through professional correspondence and administrative resources the complexity of the responsibilities that she held are critically illustrated. Included in the series are annual reports, committee reports, budget plans, expansion reports and correspondence, and meeting minutes. Of interest are the correspondence and memos between Mrs. May and the Trustees on the search for the next President of Wheaton. The series also includes her resume and internal memos to Trustee Muriel Reynolds (Wheaton Class of 1924).

The COURSE/ACADEMIC MATERIAL, LECTURE NOTES series includes lecture notes and class materials that Mrs. May used to conduct two courses, International Trade and Public Finance. She taught these two courses from the time that she arrived at Wheaton so that the folders are separated by subject and span the entire time she was at Wheaton from 1949-1964.

The SPEECHES series contains drafts and typed speeches that Mrs. May gave while at Wheaton College. Of note is the speech “Three Faces of Eve,” for which she gained some notoriety. Written in 1963, and famous at Wheaton as “Mrs. May’s vertical woman speech.” the speech champions the value of women. She suggests that marriage and family are not the only options open to a woman but that further education and the pursuit of a career are viable choices. The speech can be found in box five, folder 6.

The COMMITTEES series contain correspondence between various college officials and Mrs. May. She served on many committees after leaving Wheaton College, and the documents span the period from 1969 to 1989. The most interesting committee that she served on was the Co-Education Committee. The correspondence in those folders provide a glimpse into the different components that went into making the decision to turn Wheaton College from an all women college to a co-ed institution in 1987.

The PERSONAL CORRESPONDENCE series contains correspondence from former colleagues and students that cover the period between 1949 and 2001. The bulk of the materials are Christmas cards and letters, birthday cards and postcards from the 1980’s and 1990’s. In addition the round robin letters between Mrs. May and her family form one of the few exceptions in the collection of materials not directly related to Wheaton College. Also within this series is a biographical folder chronicling the years that Geoffrey May spent at Wheaton and his relationship with the students and faculty along with a collection of newspaper clippings relating to his activities. Additionally the series contains two files about Muriel Reynolds W1924 who served on the Board of Trustees of Wheaton College. Also found in this series is the transcript from the ‘Women in the Federal Government Oral History Project’. The PHOTOGRAPHS AND OBJECTS series contains a collection of photographs of staff and faculty of Wheaton, former students, and family and friends. There are two sets of photographs marked Thanksgiving Party (undated), and Jennings Party Dec. 1973. Most photographs are unmarked and seem to be from the 1950’s and 1960’s. There is also a collection of black and white photographs that are related to the Honorary Degree that Wheaton conferred on Mrs. May in 1962. This series also includes a print block with Elizabeth's Wheaton address and a plaque, which was given to her by the Wheaton College Associates.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Marion B. Gebbie Archives and Special Collections

Library
26 East Main Street
Norton, MA, 02766

Copyright

Elizabeth Stoffregen May retains copyright and scholars wishing to publish excerpts from material must obtain written permission from either Mrs. May, her designee or the Archivist.

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Related Materials

Related Materials

Elizabeth May chose to divide her papers between the Marion B. Gebbie Archives & Special Collections at Wheaton College, the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College in Northampton, MA, and the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at Radcliffe College in Cambridge, MA.

Mrs. May also took part in an oral history project titled “Women in the Federal Government Oral History Project,” having been interviewed in 1981-1983. This archival material in the form of tapes and transcripts is found at the Schlesinger Library. A copy of the transcript is available in the Elizabeth Stoffregen May papers.

Separated Materials

Photographs have been physically removed from the collection and placed with the photograph collection.

Printing block and plaque have been physically removed from the collection and placed with the object collection.

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Controlled Access Headings

Occupation(s)

  • Wheaton College--Presidents

Personal Name(s)

  • Colpitts, Leota C
  • Emerson, Alice Frey
  • May, Geoffrey
  • Meneely, A. Howard, President, 1899-1961
  • Prentice, William C.H.
  • Reynolds, Muriel

Subject(s)

  • Campus Planning
  • Coeducation
  • College teaching
  • Family life
  • Women college administrators

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Timeline

1907 Birth

1928 Graduated with A.B. from Smith College

1930-31 Postgraduate work at Radcliffe College

1931 Received Ph.D. from London School of Economics and Political Science

1931 Married Geoffrey May

1931-39 Economics Professor at Goucher College

1939-41 Economic analyst for the Treasury Department

1941-47 Principal fiscal analyst for the Bureau of the Budget

1947-48 Private contractor with the American Mission for Aid to Greece

1947-49 Consultant for the Committee for Economic Development

1949-56 Hired at Wheaton College as Academic Dean

1957-60 Appointed Dean of the College

1960-61 Appointed Acting President

1961-69 Elected vice-president of the AAUW

1962 Awarded Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree by Wheaton College

1964 Geoffrey May dies

1964-69 Board of Directors member for the U.S. Export-Import Bank

1977 Founding member of Wolf Trap Center for the Performing Arts in Virginia

1999 Honored at Smith College as notable alumnae 2001 Honored as ‘Citizen of Note’ in Harvard, MA.

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Collection Inventory

Academic Dean 1949-1956 

Professional Correspondence 1949-1958 

Correspondence 1949-1950 


    Box Folder
Text   1 1

Job Appointment 1949-1950 


    Box Folder
Text   1 2

Staff Employment 1951  


    Box Folder
Text   1 3

Correspondence 1951-1954  


    Box Folder
Text   1 4

Salary Compensation 1952-1958  


    Box Folder
Text   1 5

Administrative 1949-1964 

Faculty and Student Reports 1955-1964  


    Box Folder
Text   1 6

Administrative Information 1949-1963  


    Box Folder
Text   1 7

Annual Reports  1950-1954  


    Box Folder
Text   1 8

Expansion of Wheaton College 1955  


    Box Folder
Text   1 9

Expansion of Wheaton College 1949-1956  


    Box Folder
Text   1 10

White Paper Report 1955-1963  


    Box Folder
Text   1 11

Questionaire to Academic Deans 1961  


    Box Folder
Text   1 12

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Dean of the College 1957-1960 

Professional Correspondence 1955-1963 

Correspondence 1955-1959 


    Box Folder
Text   1 13

Correspondence 1958-1963  


    Box Folder
Text   1 14

Administrative materials 1955-1964 

Annual Reports 1955-1957  


    Box Folder
Text   1 15

Annual Reports Supporting Documents 1957-1958 


    Box Folder
Text   2 1

Reference Material 1958-1964 


    Box Folder
Text   2 2

Working calendar 1959-1960 


    Box Folder
Text   2 3

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Acting President 1960-1962 

Professional Correspondence 1960-1964 

Correspondence 1960-1961 


    Box Folder
Text   2 4

Professional and Personal Correspondence 1962 


    Box Folder
Text   2 5

Professional and Personal Correspondence 1963-1964 


    Box Folder
Text   2 6

Administrative 1949-1964 

Trustee Meetings 1961-1964  


    Box Folder
Text   2 7

Executive Committee Reports 1962 


    Box Folder
Text   2 8

Budget Administration 1961-1962 


    Box Folder
Text   2 9

Budget Plan 1961-1962  


    Box Folder
Text   3 1

Intercom 1961-1964  


    Box Folder
Text   3 2

Development Committee 1962-1963  


    Box Folder
Text   3 3

President Prentice file 1962 


    Box Folder
Text   3 4

President Prentice briefings 1962-1964  


    Box Folder
Text   3 5

Massachusetts Association of Deans of Women 1963  


    Box Folder
Text   3 6

Faculty Meeting 1964  


    Box Folder
Text   3 7

Wheaton Achievements, Awards and Honorary Degree 1949-1964 


    Box Folder
Text   3 8

Honorary Degree Correspondence 1962 


    Box Folder
Text   3 9

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Course/Academic Material, Lecture Notes 1947-1964 

International Trade 1947-1960  


    Box Folder
Text   3 10

International Trade (1 of 2) 1947-1963 


    Box Folder
Text   4 1

International Trade (2 of 2) 1947-1963 


    Box Folder
Text   4 2

Public Finance (1 of 1) 1948-1964 


    Box Folder
Text   4 3

Public Finance (2 of 2) 1948-1964 


    Box Folder
Text   4 4

Public Finance and International Trade (1 of 4) 1948-1964 


    Box Folder
Text   4 5

Public Finance and International Trade (2 of 4) 1948-1964  


    Box Folder
Text   5 1

Public Finance and International Trade (3 of 4) 1948-1964 


    Box Folder
Text   5 2

Public Finance and International Trade (4 of 4) 1948-1964 


    Box Folder
Text   5 3

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Speeches 1949-1964 

Opening Functions 1949-1963 


    Box Folder
Text   5 4

Speeches-Wheaton College 1954-1963 


    Box Folder
Text   5 5

Speeches-Wheaton College 1959-1964 


    Box Folder
Text   5 6

Conferences and Meetings 1954-1964 


    Box Folder
Text   5 7

Association of Bank Women 1950 


    Box Folder
Text   5 8

Wheaton College in Next Decade draft 1960 1960 


    Box Folder
Text   6 1

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Committees 1969-1989 

President's Committee 1969-1973 


    Box Folder
Text   6 2

President's Committee 1969-1973 


    Box Folder
Text   6 3

President's Committee 1970 


    Box Folder
Text   6 4

Ad Hoc Committee Report 1973 


    Box Folder
Text   6 5

Capital Development 1975-1976 


    Box Folder
Text   6 6

Fund Raising 1977 


    Box Folder
Text   6 7

Fund Raising and Oral History 1983-1986 


    Box Folder
Text   6 8

Oral History 1983 


    Box Folder
Text   6 9

Fund Raising Party 1983 


    Box Folder
Text   6 10

Fund Raising 1981-1984 


    Box Folder
Text   6 11

Fund Raising 1984 


    Box Folder
Text   6 12

Fund Raising 1988 


    Box Folder
Text   6 13

Development Project 1980 


    Box Folder
Text   6 14

Alden Trust 1984 


    Box Folder
Text   6 15

Foundation Committee 1984 


    Box Folder
Text   6 16

Wheaton Fund Contribution 1989 


    Box Folder
Text   6 17

Alumnae Leadership Conference and Sesquicentennial Advisory Committee 1981 


    Box Folder
Text   7 1

Alumnae Leadership Conference and Sesquicentennial Advisory Committee 1982 


    Box Folder
Text   7 2

Alumnae Leadership Conference 1983 


    Box Folder
Text   7 3

Grants/Capital Campaign 1983 


    Box Folder
Text   7 4

Co-Education 1986-1987 


    Box Folder
Text   7 5

Fund Raising and Commission on Co-Education 1986-1987 


    Box Folder
Text   7 6

Commission on Co-Education Correspondence 1988 


    Box Folder
Text   7 7

Co-Education 1988 


    Box Folder
Text   7 8

Co-Education 1988 


    Box Folder
Text   7 9

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Personal Correspondence 1949-2001 

Elizabeth May Personal 1949-1964 


    Box Folder
Text   7 10

Geoffrey May 1949-1964 


    Box Folder
Text   7 11

Muriel Reynolds Correspondence 1950s-1980s 


    Box Folder
Text   7 12

Muriel Reynolds Correspondence 1985 


    Box Folder
Text   8 1

Correspondence (1 of 3) 1965-2000 


    Box Folder
Text   8 2

Correspondence (2 of 3) 1965-2000  


    Box Folder
Text   8 3

Correspondence (3 of 3) 1965-2000 


    Box Folder
Text   8 4

Portrait Unveiling 1983 


    Box Folder
Text   8 5

Correspondence 1990s  


    Box Folder
Text   8 6

Correspondence 1990s 


    Box Folder
Text   8 7

Wheaton College 1999-2001 


    Box Folder
Text   9 1

Former Students Correspondence undated 


    Box Folder
Text   9 2

Donation Correspondence 1957-1995 


    Box Folder
Text   9 3

Mary Lyon Society 1968 


    Box Folder
Text   9 4

Round Robin letters (1 of 4) 1907-1949  


    Box Folder
Text   9 5

Round Robin letters (2 of 4) 1950-1952  


    Box Folder
Text   9 6

Round Robin letters (3 of 4) 1953-1957 


    Box Folder
Text   9 7

Round Robin letters (4 of 4) 1958-1979  


    Box Folder
Text   9 8

Women in Federal Government Project 1984 


    Box Folder
Text   9 9

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Photographs and Objects 1950-1970's 

Christmas Photographs 1965-2000 


    Box Folder
Photographs   MC Photographs 1 1

Photographs 1950-1970s  


    Box Folder
Photographs   1 2

Photographs 1960s 


    Box Folder
Photographs   1 3

Photographs June 1973 


    Box Folder
Photographs   1 4

Bojan Jennings Party 1970s 


    Box Folder
Photographs   1 5

Drawer

Print Block undated 

22

Plaque 1964 

22

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