Manuscript Collection: MS 0536
Agency History/Biographical note:
Fidelia Fiske was born on May 1, 1816 in Shelburne, Massachusetts.
She was the daughter of Rufus Fiske and Hannah Woodward Fiske. Fiske
was educated in Shelburne district schools and spent one term at
Franklin Academy. She taught in Shelbourne's district schools before
entering Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in 1839. Her education was
interrupted in 1840-1841 while she recovered from typhoid fever. She
returned in the fall of 1841 and graduated in 1842. After teaching
for a year at the Seminary, she convinced her family that despite her
poor health she was going to accompany Dr. Justin Perkins to Persia.
She sailed from Boston on March 1, 1843. In Orumiyeh, Fiske was in
charge of founding a girls' boarding school. The school continued to
grow under Fiske's supervision from its opening in October of 1843
until her failing health forced her to return to United States in
1858. In the United States she was a teacher at Mount Holyoke
between 1859-1864, until her death of "general inflamation of the
lymphatic vessels" on July 26, 1864, in Shelburne, Massachusetts; she
was forty-eight years old.
Scope and Content:
The papers of Fidelia Fiske consist of papers chiefly relating to her
work as a missionary in Persia from 1843-1858, and to her later work
at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary. Of particular importance are
letters written by Fiske between 1843-1864. These documents describe
her voyage to and overland travel in Persia, her work wth her school
and the villager's reactions and political resistance to her work.
These sources are complemented by other writings, including her book,
"Recollections of Mary Lyon (1866)." Biographical material includes
an obituary published in July, 1864 in an unidentified newspaper.
The biographical information is supplemented by books, articles and
notes written after her death. The collection also contains a small
amount of memorabilia, including a New Testament Bible in Syriac, as
well as a series of photographs which includes a portrait of Fiske
and photos of The Fiske Female Seminary in Persia.
Cite as: Fidelia Fiske Papers, Mount Holyoke College
Archives and Special Collections, South Hadley,
Access Restrictions: Unrestricted.
, 6 folders
, 2 folders.
- Biographical Information
, 5 folders
, 2 folders
, ca. 1842-1864
, 2 folders