Janet Frances Wilder was born on June 3, 1910, in Berkeley, California to Amos Parker Wilder and Isabella Niven Wilder. Her father was a consul general in China and then the editor of the New Haven "Journal Courier." She attended high school in New Haven, Connecticut. She then went to Mount Holyoke College from 1929-1933, graduating magna cum laude with a degree in zoology. She earned her M.A. in zoology from Mount Holyoke College in 1935 and her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1939. After graduating from the University of Chicago, she returned to Mount Holyoke College as an instructor of zoology. She retired from teaching in 1941 after marrying Winthrop S. Dakin, a lawyer and later a trustee of Hampshire College. She was very active in civic and alumnae organizations. Dakin pushed for state and federal legislative action for the preservation of open land for wildlife, and for recreational and educational purposes. She was the first chairperson of the Blue Start Highway, a beautification project for Route 1 in Massachusetts. Dakin became interested in parliamentary process through her work with the League of Women Voters and became a Certified Professional Parliamentarian of the American Institute of Parliamentarians. She served as parliamentarian for conventions of the League of Women Voters and for the Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College. She also served on the Mount Holyoke College Equestrian Center Steering Committee. Dakin was a charter member of the Amherst Conservation Commission from 1962-1974, which worked to preserve the Holyoke Range. In 1970, she founded and served as Executive Director of the Kestrel Trust, a private land trust which acquired land in neighboring communities for conservation purposes as a part of the Conservation Commission. Dakin also raised and rode horses, and in the 1950s she wrote a series of articles for "Morgan Horse Magazine" in which she described her experiences raising a Morgan horse. These articles were published in 1990 as a book called "Jeffy's Journal." In 1979 she raised $250,000 from private funds for the Equine Center Project at the University of Massachusetts. The Dakins later donated their Amherst home and the surrounding land to the University of Massachusetts. In 1982 she founded Friends of Amherst's Stray Animals. Dakin received many awards for her work, including the Volunteer Achievement Award from the Mount Holyoke Alumnae Association in 1975 and the Conservation Award from The Trustees of Reservations in 1978. She died on October 7, 1994 in Amherst, Massachusetts, at the age of eighty-four.
From the guide to the Dakin papers MS 0674., 1931-1995., (Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections)
Zoologist, conservationist and parlamentarian. Born 1910; died 1994. B.A. and M.A., Mount Holyoke College, 1933, 1935; Ph. D., University of Chicago, 1939. Married Winthrop S. Dakin. Very active in civic and alumnae organizations including Amherst (Mass.) Conservation Commission, Friends of Amherst's Stray Animals, League of Women Voters, Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke. Fund-raiser for the Equine Center Project at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. A series of articles for "Morgan horse magazine" in the 1950's were published in book form as "Jeffy's journal" in 1990.
From the description of Papers, 1931-1995. (Lewis & Clark Library). WorldCat record id: 43053159