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Roberta W. Yerkes correspondence


Held at: Bryn Mawr College [Contact Us]Bryn Mawr College Library, 101 N. Merion Avenue, Bryn Mawr 19010

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Bryn Mawr College. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Roberta W. Yerkes (later Blanshard) was the daughter of Robert M. Yerkes, a professor of Psychoogy at Harvard and Yale Universities who studied human and primate intelligence. He was also a noted eugenicist. Roberta Yerkes attended Bryn Mawr college from 1925 until 1929, graduating with a major in Economics. Her activities while at Bryn Mawr included volunteer tutoring at the community center, singing in the Glee Club, performing in the chorus of Gilbert and Sullivan plays, and participation in a student organized art class.

After graduation, Yerkes was employed as a secretary in the editorial department of Yale University Press. By the time of her resignation in 1959 she was an associate editor. She continued to work as a free-lance editor until 1969.

In 1969 she married philosopher and author, Professor Brand Blanshard. Professor Blanshard taught Philosophy and Logic at Swarthmore College (1925-1945) and at Yale University (1945-1961) where he was chairman of the Philosophy department and retired as the Sterling Professor Emeritus of Philosophy. He remained active as a scholar and author until his death in 1987 at the age of ninety-five.

Roberta Yerkes Blanshard died in October of 2001.

The Roberta W. Yerkes Blanshard papers house the correspondence of Roberta W. Yerkes (later Blanshard), Bryn Mawr College class of 1929 and associate editor at Yale University Press. She was also the daughter of Harvard/Yale Psychology professor Robert M. Yerkes. The collection comprises the letters written during Yerkes' freshman and sophomore years at Bryn Mawr, 1925-1927. The bulk of the collection is Yerkes' correspondence with her family.

The collection is housed in one box containing 8 folders. Folder 1 contains a letter to the Alumnae office, written November 10, 1964, concerning the death of Marion Parris (Smith). There are also notes excerpting letters to be read at the 62nd reunion, May 31- June 2, 1991. Folders 2-7 constitute letters from her freshman year. These letters are organized chronologically. Folder 8 contains all of her letters from sophomore year. Yerkes retroactively added notes to her letters to provide context for the contents of letters. She identified people mentioned, gave background information for people places and events, and often supplemented the letter with further recollections.

This correspondence collection is small, but it provides a good overview of student life in the mid-1920s. The letters are benefitted by the addition of Yerkes' later notes, which clarify and add to the contents. This collection would be of value to anyone interested in Bryn Mawr College student life in the 1920s or the Yerkes family. It should be noted that Roberta Yerkes photo albums are with her father's at Sterling Library.

Bryn Mawr College
Finding Aid Author
Cassidy Gruber Baruth
Finding Aid Date
2019 February 27
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17)

Collection Inventory

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