Scudder, Vida-Dutton, 1861-1954

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Vida Dutton Scudder, 1884

Vida Scudder was born in India on December 15, 1861, the only child of Harriet Louisa (Dutton) and David Coit Scudder. She and her mother returned to Boston following the death of her father, although she spent much of her childhood traveling in Europe. She attended Boston private secondary schools, and graduated from Smith College in 1884. While doing postgraduate work at Oxford University, where she attended lectures by John Ruskin, Scudder developed the beginnings of social awareness that were to guide her through the rest of her life. She taught in the English Department of Wellesley College from 1887 to 1927, where she was often in conflict with the administration over her socialist activities. In 1887, Scudder along with colleagues from Bryn Mawr, Smith, and Vassar, began plans for the College Settlements Association and in 1889 the first settlement house opened on Rivington St. in New York City. Beginning in 1893 and for the next twenty years she was a primary administrator of Denison House in Boston. In 1889, Scudder became a charter member of the Brotherhood of the Carpenter, a worker's organization, and also began working in the Christian Social Union, the purpose of which was to implement Christian principles in bringing "relief to the social and economic disorder of society." Beginning in 1889, she was a member of the Society of the Companions of the Holy Cross, a religious organization that gave her long-term strength and support. In 1911, she co-founded the Episcopal Church Socialist League and joined the Socialist Party, and in 1919, she organized the Church League for Industrial Democracy. Although Scudder supported Woodrow Wilson's decision to enter World War I, in the postwar years she moved towards pacifism. She joined the Fellowship of Reconciliation in 1923 and the same year gave a series of lectures at a meeting of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom in Prague. She was a delegate to the Boston Central Labor Union and was active in organizing the Women's Trade Union League. After her retirement from Wellesley in 1928, Scudder went on to become a leading scholar of Franciscan history. In 1930, she became the first dean of the Summer School of Christian Ethics at Wellesley, and in 1931, she lectured weekly at the New School for Social Research in New York. Scudder authored sixteen books, including her autobiography On Journey, as well as many scholarly articles on political, literary, and religious topics. In 1919, Florence Converse joined her household and remained until Scudder's death on October 9, 1954.

From the guide to the Vida Dutton Scudder Papers MS 140., 1883-1979, (Sophia Smith Collection)

English professor; settlement house worker; pacifist; religious writer; social reformer.

Vida Scudder was born in India in 1861 and spent much of her childhood in Europe. She attended Boston private schools, graduating from Smith College in 1884 and did postgraduate work at Oxford University. She taught in the English Department of Wellesley College from 1887 to 1927 and was often in conflict with the administration over her socialist activities. In 1887 Scudder began plans for the College Settlements Association and in 1889 the first settlement opened on Rivington St. in New York City. Beginning in 1893 and for the next 20 years she was a primary administrator of Denison House in Boston. In 1911 Scudder was a founding member of the Episcopal Church Socialist League. She joined the Socialist party the same year. In 1919 she organized Church League for Industrial Democracy. She was a delegate to Boston Central Labor Union and was active in organizing Women's Trade Union League. From 1889 she was a member of the Society of the Companions of the Holy Cross, a religious organization which gave her strength and support. Scudder authored 16 books including her autobiography "On Journey." In 1919 Florence Converse joined her household and remained with her until Scudder's death in 1954.

From the description of Papers, 1883-1979. (Smith College). WorldCat record id: 51671462

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn J.M. Dent & Sons. J.M. Dent & Sons records, 1834-1986 (author files S-Te). University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn Houghton Mifflin Company contracts, 1831-1979 (inclusive) 1880-1940 (bulk). Houghton Library
referencedIn Barrows family papers, 1861-1931. Houghton Library
creatorOf Scudder, Vida Dutton, 1861-1954. Autograph letter signed Vida D. Scudder to: Miss McCrum January 13, [19]44. Wellesley College
referencedIn Brooks, John Graham, 1846-1938. Papers of John Graham Brooks, 1845-1938 (bulk 1900-1938). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Evans, Elizabeth Glendower, 1856-1937. Papers, 1859-1944 (bulk: 1882-1944) Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Papers of Grace A. Johnson in the Woman's Rights Collection, 1840-1952 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Educators and librarians collection, 1846-1953. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Gleason, Arthur, 1878-1923. Arthur Gleason papers, 1863-1931 (bulk 1900-1923). Library of Congress
referencedIn Scudder, Ida Sophia, 1870-1960. Papers, 1843-1976 (inclusive), 1888-1960 (bulk). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Ellen Gates Starr Papers MS 151., 1659 - 1975, 1850-1970 Sophia Smith Collection
referencedIn George Sarton additional papers, 1901-1956 Houghton Library
creatorOf Scudder, Vida Dutton, 1861-1954. Papers, 1883-1979. Smith College, Neilson Library
creatorOf Scudder, Vida Dutton, 1861-1954. Letter to Agnes Repplier, 1927. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Playne, Caroline Elisabeth. Autograph letter signed Caroline E. Playne to: "My dear Vida" May 4, 1938. Wellesley College
creatorOf Scudder, Vida Dutton, 1861-1954. Autograph letter signed Vida D. Scudder to: "My Dear Mr. Palmer." November 13, [s.d.]. Wellesley College
creatorOf Scudder, Horace Elisha, 1838-1902. Papers of Horace Elisha Scudder [manuscript], 1878-1912. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Balch, Emily Greene, 1867-1961. Emily Greene Balch papers, 1842-1979 1875-1961 (bulk) Swarthmore College, Peace Collection, SCPC
creatorOf Scudder, Vida Dutton, 1861-1954. Correspondence to Van Wyck Brooks, [Between 1932 and 1936]. University of Pennsylvania Library
creatorOf Scudder, Vida Dutton, 1861-1954. Dutton family correspondence, 1820-1942 (bulk: 1820-1863) New England Historic Genealogical Society
referencedIn Thayer, William Roscoe, 1859-1923. Papers, 1762-1927 (bulk 1872-1921) Houghton Library
referencedIn Denison House. Records, 1890-1984 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Boston Public Library. Correspondence, 1928-1930. Boston Public Library, Central Library in Copley Square
referencedIn Van Waters, Miriam, 1887-1974. Papers, 1861-1971 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Rochester, Anna. Anna Rochester papers, 1880-1958. University of Oregon Libraries
referencedIn Saturday Morning Club (Boston, Mass.). Records, 1871-1983 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf Ropes family. Papers, 1734-1952. Massachusetts Historical Society
creatorOf Vida Dutton Scudder Papers MS 140., 1883-1979 Sophia Smith Collection
referencedIn John Jay Chapman papers, 1841-1940. Houghton Library
referencedIn Saturday Morning Club (Boston, Mass.). Records, 1871-1983 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Johnson, Grace A. (Grace Allen), 1871-1952. Papers in the Woman's Rights Collection, 1840-1952 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Simkhovitch, Mary K. (Mary Kingsbury), 1867-1951. Papers, 1852-1960 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Dodge, Henry Nehemiah, 1843-1937. Papers, 1857-1962 (inclusive), 1857-1936 (bulk). Harvard University, Divinity School Library
referencedIn Evans, Elizabeth Glendower, 1856-1937. Papers, 1859-1944 (inclusive), 1882-1944 (bulk). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Papers of the Howe-Richards family, 1840-1950. Houghton Library
creatorOf Gale, Zona, 1874-1938. Autograph letter signed Zona Gale to: "Miss Scudder" Wellesley College
referencedIn Simkhovitch, Mary K. (Mary Kingsbury), 1867-1951. Papers, 1852-1960 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Arthur Ernest Morgan papers concerning Edward Bellamy, 1912-1944. Houghton Library
referencedIn Totenberg, Amy, 1950-. Women reformers from the settlement movement, 1889-1925. Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Records, 1890-1984 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf Van Dyke, Henry, 1852-1933. Autograph letter signed Henry Van Dyke to: "My dear Miss Scudder." December 20, 1898. Wellesley College
referencedIn Educators and Librarians Collection, 1846-1953 Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Arthur Gleason Papers, 1863-1931, (bulk 1900-1923) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Houghton Mifflin Company correspondence and records, 1832-1944. Houghton Library
referencedIn Beard, Mary Ritter, 1876-1958. Papers, 1935-1958 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn La Piana, George, 1879-1971. Papers, 1878-1972 (inclusive). Harvard University, Divinity School Library
referencedIn Papers, 1878-1972. Andover-Harvard Theological Library
referencedIn Papers of John Graham Brooks, 1805-1938 (bulk 1900-1938) Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Autograph File, S, 1556-1996. Houghton Library
referencedIn Papers, (inclusive), (bulk), 1853-1967, 1888-1960 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Starr, Ellen Gates. Papers 1659-1975 bulk 1850-1970. Smith College, Neilson Library
creatorOf Noyes, Alfred, 1880-1958. Typed letter signed Alfred Noyes to: Miss Scudder April 29, 1916. Wellesley College
referencedIn Van Waters, Miriam. Papers, 1861-1971 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Anna Rochester papers, 1880-1958 University of Oregon Libraries. Special Collections and University Archives
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Balch, Emily Greene, 1867-1961. person
correspondedWith Barrows family. family
correspondedWith Boston Public Library. corporateBody
associatedWith Brooks, John Graham, 1846-1938. person
correspondedWith Chapman, John Jay, 1862-1933 person
associatedWith College Settlement Association corporateBody
associatedWith College Settlements Association corporateBody
associatedWith Denison House. corporateBody
associatedWith DENISON HOUSE, 1892- corporateBody
associatedWith Denison House (Boston, Mass.) corporateBody
associatedWith Dodge, Henry Nehemiah, 1843-1937. person
associatedWith ELIZABETH GLENDOWER (GARDINER) EVANS, 1856-1937 person
associatedWith Evans, Elizabeth Glendower, 1856-1937. person
associatedWith Gale, Zona, 1874-1938. person
associatedWith Gleason, Arthur, 1878-1923. person
associatedWith Grace Allen (Fitch) Johnson, 1871-1952 person
associatedWith Houghton Mifflin Company. corporateBody
correspondedWith Howe family. family
associatedWith J.M. Dent & Sons. corporateBody
associatedWith John Graham Brooks, 1846-1938 person
associatedWith Johnson, Grace A., 1871-1952. person
associatedWith La Piana, George, 1879-1971. person
associatedWith Mary Melinda (Kingsbury) Simkhovitch, 1867-1951 person
associatedWith Mary (Ritter) Beard, 1876-1958 person
associatedWith MIRIAM VAN WATERS, 1887-1974 person
correspondedWith Morgan, Arthur Ernest, 1878-1975 person
associatedWith Noyes, Alfred, 1880-1958. person
associatedWith Palmer, George Herbert, 1842-1933. person
associatedWith Playne, Caroline Elisabeth. person
correspondedWith Rochester, Anna. person
associatedWith Ropes family. family
correspondedWith Sarton, George, 1884-1956 person
associatedWith Saturday Morning Club (Boston, Mass.) corporateBody
associatedWith Saturday Morning Club (Boston, Mass.) corporateBody
associatedWith Scudder, Horace Elisha, 1838-1902. person
associatedWith Scudder, Ida Belle S. person
associatedWith Scudder, Ida Sophia, 1870-1960. person
associatedWith Simkhovitch, Mary K. (Mary Kingsbury), 1867-1951. person
associatedWith Smith College corporateBody
correspondedWith Starr, Ellen Gates person
associatedWith Starr, Ellen Gates. person
correspondedWith Thayer, William Roscoe, 1859-1923 person
associatedWith Totenberg, Amy, 1950- person
associatedWith Van Dyke, Henry, 1852-1933. person
associatedWith Van Waters, Miriam. person
associatedWith Wellesley College corporateBody
associatedWith Women in the labor movement corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Massachusetts--Boston
United States
Subject
Social settlements--History--sources
Women in Christianity--History--20th century--Sources
Women in Christianity--History--19th century--Sources
Women in the labor movement--Massachusetts--History--Sources
Social settlements--Massachusetts--Boston--History--Sources
Women social reformers--United States--History--Sources
Socialism, Christian--United States--History--Sources
Women social reformers--History--Sources
Women in Christianity--United States--History--19th century--Sources
Christian socialism--History--Sources
Women in Christianity--United States--History--20th century--Sources
Occupation
Activity

Person

Birth 1861-12-15

Death 1954-10-09

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Ark ID: w6dn43v2

SNAC ID: 72422042