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Would you like to learn more about Mount Holyoke College and Mary Lyon?

Mary Lyon's life and work are documented by primary sources in the Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections. These materials include her correspondence and publications, books that were part of her personal library, and an extensive collection of unpublished writings that outline her ideas concerning education, teaching, and religion. The archives also contain the papers of her Byfield Seminary teacher, Joseph Emerson, and colleague, Zilpah Grant.

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Suggested Books About Mary Lyon

  • Mary Lyon: Documents and Writings, by MHC Professor James Hartley (Doorlight Publications, 2008)
  • A Fire in Her Bones: The Story of Mary Lyon, by Dorothy Schack Rosen (Minneapolis, Minn.: Carolrhoda Books, Inc, 1994)
  • Mary Lyon and Mount Holyoke: Opening the Gates, by Elizabeth Alden Green (Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England, 1979)

Side by Side: Two Images of Mary Lyon

Mary Lyon (1797-1849; founder of Mount Holyoke College) was famously opposed to the creation of likenesses of herself, resulting in the relatively few images that exist today. These two images of Lyon, however, painted by Joseph Goodhue Chandler (American, 1813-1884), are on view together for the first time, side by side in the Warbeke Gallery at the Art Museum.

The image on the left is an earlier painting by the artist created in the 1830s, while the image on the right portrays an older version of Lyon in the 1840s. The painting on the left was displayed in the library until it was conserved in 2004 with funds donated by the Cincinnati Mount Holyoke Club. The library portrait was an earlier version by Chandler, painted from life--unlike the later painting, which is believed to have been completed after her death in 1849.

Mount Holyoke College Art Museum
Mount Holyoke College Art Museum