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Myra Jessen papers


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

Myra Stephanie Richards was born in 1893 in Saratoga Springs, New York, and raised in Norwalk, Connecticut. She attended Bryn Mawr College, graduating in 1915. The same year, she married Professor Karl Detlev Jessen. Her husband died in 1919. She worked as a German and Latin instructor at the Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr, and then as a German Instructor at Bryn Mawr College, where she also pursued her graduate studies in German. She received her Ph.D. from Bryn Mawr in 1932. In 1952 she was appointed head of the college's German department. She passed away in 1985.

The Myra Jessen papers is a collection of the papers of Myra Jessen, Bryn Mawr College class of 1915. The collection, which is undated, consists primarily of research notes on Franz Grillparzer, an Austrian dramatist of the Biedermeier period. The collection includes Jessen's unpublished manuscript on Grillparzer entitled "Lehrhafte Formulieung im Grillparserschen Drama," and correspondence related to her research. Also included are grade books for German courses, exams, student recommendations, and correspondence with students, faculty, and alumnae committees.

The collection is housed in four boxes, all of which contain research notes and a variety of other materials.

The first box contains research notes mostly concerning authors and playwrights (Grillparzer, Shakespeare, Schiller, Sappho), and on various themes such as beauty, youth vs. age, love, avarice, etc. The second box contains correspondence concerning Jessen's research, faculty matters, publications, and Bryn Mawr; research notes on many of the previously mentioned topics; and Bryn Mawr related materials. The third box contains more research notes, primarily on Grillparzer, and some correspondence concerning BMC class reunions, the German department, and student matters. It also contains two separate boxes of Jessen's unpublished typescript, "Lehrhafte Formulieung im Grillparserschen Drama." The fourth box contains the Grillparzer notebook "Sappho 1817" and research notes on said notebook. It also contains a box of handwritten and typed index cards (Grillparzer, etc. bibliography), some with attached notes and folded correspondence.

The focus of this collection is on Franz Grillparzer. Jessen made copious notes, many of which were substantially developed over decades, evidencing her thought process and revisions. This collection is also unique for its inclusion of her unpublished typescript. It would certainly be of use to anyone interested in Grillparzer. The Bryn Mawr materials in the collection provide a focused view of the German department in the early-mid twentieth century. Collection is in German and English.

This collection was given to the College Archives in August 1984 by Ingeborg Jessen Shields.

Bryn Mawr College
Finding Aid Author
Cassidy Gruber Baruth
Finding Aid Date
February 19, 2018
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Standard Federal Copyright Restrictions Apply

Collection Inventory

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