Tuesday, August 27, 2013

* A Gift to Women's Studies at Yale

            Click above for link.

Letters to the Editor
Yale Daily News

Dear Editor:

 Two donations I made to Yale Libraries  this summer should be of interest to those students and researchers at Yale involved with feminist studies. 

To Manuscripts and Archives I donated the letters and diaries of Mt. Carmel native  J. Walter Bassett, founder of The Sleeping Giant Association, an organization which saved the Mt. Carmel  mountain from developers, long before Quinnipiac University made its campus there.

The donation includes more than a hundred courtship letters written by Bassett’s future wife, Evangeline Cunningham, from her home in Wilbraham, Massachusetts between 1898 and 1902.  It is clear from these letters that she, not he, was in charge of the courtship. 

When he balked at setting a date for marriage until they had furnished a home he had rented in Mt. Carmel, she declared “We can either have fine furniture or we can have each other.”  

He got the point and set the date.  

A preview of these papers can be seen at http://evangelineandwalter.blogspot.com/  with a link to some of the letters themselves.

The second donation of interest to those studying strong-minded women, was made  to Beinecke Rare Book Library: the  letters, notes, and cards from Miss Isabel Wilder to me from 1975 – 1995, when she died at 95 years of age. 

For anyone who trivializes her role as secretary to her brother, the author Thornton Wilder, I would simply quote the late John D. Ogden, (PhD Lit. ’58) “Not since Dorothy and William Wordsworth has there been a  a brother sister literary team like Isabel and Thornton Wilder.”  

These can be viewed on-line at 

I am pleased to have made this small contribution to future researchers and hope that those interested in women who settled in Hamden will utilize them.

Paul D.Keane
M.Div. ‘80

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