Sylvia Sherk Hubbell Book Prize

Sylvia Sherk Hubbell received a BA in French from Mount Holyoke College in 1939 and taught in a public elementary school in Tennessee. She died November 14, 1993. Her husband Harry H. Hubbell, Jr. established the Sylvia Sherk Hubbell '39 Memorial Fund at Mount Holyoke College in her honor.

Sylvia Sherk Hubbell '39

Biographical Data on Sylvia Sherk Hubbell '39 and her husband Dr. Harry Hopkins Hubbell, Jr.

Sylvia Sherk Hubbell '39
August 21, 1916 - November 14, 1993

Mrs. Hubbell taught elementary school for many years. She specialized in beginning French and taught at several Oak Ridge schools. She later served as a teacher's aide at Linden Elementary School and retired from Willow Brook Elementary School after working part-time for about 15 years. In 1985, she retired and continued as an aide until 1988.

Previously, she had worked as a secretary at First Christian Church having organized and served as first president of the Alumni Association of University Women chapter in Oak Ridge and continuing to be active in the chapter. In addition, she organized and acted as leader of a Camp Fire Girls Troop for eight years, and was active in the United Church Women and the League or Women Voters. As an active member or First Presbyterian Church, she served as an elder and as clerk of the session. She was also a member of the Oak Ridge Civic Music Association. ORCMA Guild, The Smoky Mountain Hiking Club and the Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning. She look classes with the Oak Ridge Power Squadron and had been active in several parent teacher associations and contributed columns to The Oak Ridger.

Born Aug. 21, 1916, in Nelson, NH, Mrs. Hubbell was the daughter or the late Rev. Elgin and the late Joy Kelsey Smith Sherk. In 1922, her family moved to Teheran, Iran, where Mr. Sherk started a YMCA and her mother did missionary work and taught in the American school and college. She and her brother, Allen, were educated al home in the Calvert System by their parents. In 1927, Mrs. Sherk and her year-old son Donald flew out from Teheran to Baku, Russia, because Mrs. Sherk was too ill to travel by car. Mr. Sherk and the other children, Allen and Sylvia, followed by automobile over the mountains to Baku. The family then took a train to Riga, Latvia, for the summer months, and later traveled to Geneva, Switzerland, where they lived for a year while Mr. Sherk returned to Teheran to complete his contract. Mrs. Hubbell attended a French-speaking Swiss school in Geneva and rapidly learned her third language. The family returned to the United States in 1928 and resided in Atlantic City, N.J., New York City and Lakewood, Ohio.

Mrs. Hubbell graduated in 1939 from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass., and returned to Teheran to teach French, physical education, and ethics in a girls' high school and a girls' college. After one year, political considerations forced the closing of American schools, she returned to the U.S., chaperoning about 20 missionary children. The group took a route across the desert to Bombay and sailed around the Cape of Good Hope to New York because World War II had closed the Mediterranean to American shipping.

Mrs. Hubbell married Harry Hopkins Hubbell Jr., by whom she is survived, on Feb. 1, 1941, in Brecksville, Ohio. The couple resided in Washington, D.C., where Mrs. Hubbell was recreational librarian at the Federal Reserve.

In Amherst, Mass., she worked as church secretary and joined the AAUW. In Princeton, N.J., she was employed as a receptionist and bookkeeper for the Gallup Poll and later as a technician in a war project at the university while her husband taught naval officers and completed his doctoral research. She and her husband moved to Williamstown, MA, where she served as a Girl Scout troop leader, and during her eighth month of pregnancy, typed her husband's thesis.

Their daughter, Eleanor Joy Hubbell (now Coffey) was born July 17,1947. The Hubbells moved to Middlebury, VT, where Mrs. Hubbell organized a new chapter of AAUW. In 1950, Mr. Hubbell took a summer job with Union Carbide Nuclear Division in the Oak Ridge School of Nuclear Technology at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Mr. Hubbell later accepted a permanent position with the Health Physics Division at ORNL. The Hubbells resided for several months in Japan and spent another year in Geneva, where Mrs. Hubbell met one of her former fourth grade classmates. The Hubbells participated in 16 elder hostels and traveled extensively in North America and overseas. Mrs. Hubbell's hobbies included snow and water skiing, gardening; and playing with her grandsons.

*Excerpted from her obituary published in The Oak Ridger, Oak Ridge, TN, Monday, November 15, 1993.

Dr. Harry Hopkins Hubbell, Jr.
July 23, 1914 - September 10, 2004

Dr. Harry Hopkins Hubbell, Jr. (July 23, 1914 - September 10, 2004) established the Sylvia Sherk Hubbell '39 Memorial Fund in his wife's name (details of his obituary below were provided to the French Department by his daughter Eleanor Hubbell Coffey).

Dr. Harry Hopkins Hubbell, Jr., 90, a long-time resident of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, died Friday, September 10, 2004, at the Meridian Health Center in Englewood, Colorado, of congestive heart failure and pneumonia.

An Oak Ridge resident for 49 years, Dr. Hubbell retired in 1973 from the Health Physics Division (later Health and Safety Research) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The following year he was called back as a consultant to the division, a position he held for the next 15 years. He was a member of First Presbyterian Church in Oak Ridge, TN, a board member and patron of the Oak Ridge Civic Music Association, a life member, local treasurer, and Senior Navigator with the United States Power Squadrons, and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for more than 50 years.

Dr. Hubbell was also a certified Health Physicist, a member of the American Physical Society, the American Association of Physics Teachers, the Health Physics Society, Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club, the Tennessee Trails Association, and the Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning.

Born July 23, 1914, in Buffalo, NY, Dr. Hubbell was the son of the late Rev. Harry Hopkins Hubbell and the late Ella Watson Kelton Hubbell. He grew up in St. Louis, MO, and Morristown, NJ, and graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy, NH, in 1931. In 1935 he received his Bachelor’s degree from Williams College, MA. He earned his M.S. in physics from Lafayette College in Easton, PA, in 1937 and his Ph.D. also in physics from Princeton University, NJ, in 1947. He spent 15 years teaching undergraduate physics at Princeton University and Williams, Amherst, Lafayette, and Middlebury Colleges.

Harry married the former Sylvia Delight Sherk on Feb. 1, 1941, in Brecksville, OH. The couple resided in Washington, D.C., where he was employed by the National Bureau of Standards. During World War II the Hubbells also lived in Princeton, NJ, where Harry taught Meteorology and Advanced Physics to naval officers and completed his doctoral research.

Their daughter, Eleanor Joy Hubbell Coffey, who survives him, was born July 17, 1947. In 1950 Dr. Hubbell took a summer job with Union Carbide Nuclear Division in the Oak Ridge School of Reactor Technology at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He later accepted a permanent position with the Health Physics Division at ORNL.

In 1960 the Hubbells resided for several months in Japan, where Harry was a consultant with the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (now the Radiation Effects Research Foundation). He studied the effects of radiation and assisted the Japanese in calculating radiation doses for survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Dr. Hubbell and his family also spent a year in Geneva, Switzerland, where he was employed by the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN). He presented some of his research results at several universities in China as a part of Scientific Exchange in 1986. Harry and Sylvia participated in 16 Elderhostels together, and they enjoyed traveling extensively in North America and overseas.
Harry’s hobbies included entertaining foreign visitors, snow-skiing (both downhill and cross-country), power boating, water-skiing, hiking, fixing things, reading, writing to many friends, climbing 14,000-foot mountains, and listening to classical music and anything played by the Oak Ridge Community Wind Ensemble.

A sister, Ellanor Kelton Hubbell, as well as Sylvia, his beloved wife of 53 years, predeceased him. In addition to his daughter, Eleanor, he is survived by two grandsons: Ethan James Coffey and Daniel Luke Coffey, all of Littleton, CO, as well as several cousins, nieces, and nephews.