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Beverly Simonton Kelly Letters

Identifier: UA 5.233

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Scope and Contents

This collection includes letters written by Beverly Simonton Kelly to her parents from her freshman year at William & Mary in 1949, until her graduation in 1953.

Her letters mention and/or discuss a number of subjects, including (but not limited to) registration, purchasing her Duc cap for $1.00, her first curtsy to Lord Botetourt, freshman customs, the honor system, her class schedules, cost of books, social rules for women, the campus, social events and activities, Williamsburg Presbyterian Church, dating, sororities, faculty/staff, the cafeteria, grievances about the bus which transported freshman out-of-state women between campus and Ludwell, wearing ribbons on the weekends instead of Duc cap, field hockey, fraternity lodges, Homecoming, W&M athletics, the Pagoda Room, the Judicial Committee, Carl "Pappy" Fehr and the W&M Choir.

She also describes several instances of feeling overwhelmed by her classes and commitments, concerns about grades, and the mental health of her friends. She mentions several cases of students getting the mumps in 1950, Constance Appleby (November 1949), the school laundry burning (1950), a coal shortage (1950) which almost closed the campus, her Supper Club entertaining the campus "Jewish group," "Common Glory," Dr. Chow - her Chines Government instructor (1951), Phillies baseball, roommate problems, Rushing, exams, parties, elections, movies she saw, and also references the Korean War.

Kelly also refers to the Athletic Scandal of 1951 and one letter describes the campus vibe after the resignation of the Dean, Nelson Marshall. She wrote, "Everyone of my instructors today spoke of his resignation and felt that W&M has just suffered its greatest loss." She also states that while one published article suggests new president, Alvin Duke Chandler, was welcomed by students, in fact, the students were solidly behind the faculty and questioned his qualification to be president. In addition, Kelly also wrote about the investigation into the fraternity lodges and the accusation of embezzlement against an administrator

Additionally, her letters detail the start of her courtship with her future husband, W&M alumnus James S. Kelly.


  • Creation: 1949-1953, 1998


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to all researchers. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, such as the Virginia Public Records Act (Code of Virginia. § 42.1-76-91); and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3705.5). Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. If sensitive material is found in this collection, please contact a staff member immediately. The disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to a living individual may have legal consequences for which the College of William and Mary assumes no responsibility.

Conditions Governing Use

Before publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from the Curator of Manuscripts and Rare Books, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.

Biographical / Historical

Beverly Simonton Kelly, from York, Pennsylvania, entered William & Mary in 1949 and graduated in 1953. She was an active and engaged undergraduate, serving on/participating in a number of activities, including the Judicial Committee, Delta Delta Delta, and W&M Choir.


1.0 Linear Feet



Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Beverly Simonton Kelly, 2018

Guide to the Beverly Simonton Kelly Letters
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository