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Gladys Jane Swift collection

 Collection
Identifier: C-109
The collection includes letters written by Gladys Jane Swift to her parents from summer camp (1937 to 1942), throughout her years at Middlebury College (1942-1946), and during her European Festivals Tour in 1953. Some of the European letters were suggested as being “For Radio If Wanted.” The Festival Tour was, in effect, a grand tour of Europe and as such is interesting from the viewpoint of a young American visiting Europe in the period just following World War II. Gladys Jane Swift’s letters to her parents from summer camp are charming in that they are typical of a young girl away from home, depicting her growth and development over succeeding summers until she is a Junior Counselor. Her nickname in the family is “Barney.” These Camp Vistamont letters cover 1937-1942. Gladys Jane Swift’s letters from Middlebury to Mary and Harley Swift reveal a college girl’s life during the period of the V-12 program and the years when the college was largely made up of women students. Shortness of time to write, active exam schedules, travel plans, her enthusiasm for theatre activities, dances, parties, and all the typical college excitement is apparent in her regular letters to her parents. Notable is a small collection of correspondence between Swift and her mother on the subject of Swift receiving the Henry Hobart Vail prize (Optima Award) – an award to the Junior voted by her classmates to be the “most typical of Middlebury as shown by her character, scholarship and personality.” GJS was a member of Delta Delta Delta Sorority. The letters from the service men give some insight into their postings and travels during the years of World War II. The letters from Gladys Jane Swift to her parents reflect some of the postings that her officer father filled during the War as well. He was in the United States during his service, and settled after the War in Harrisburg, PA, where Gladys Jane Swift also made her home.

Dates

  • 1937 - 1991
  • Majority of material found within 1937 - 1946

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

For permission to publish materials, contact: Special Collections & Archives Middlebury College Phone: (802) 443-2387 Email: specialcollections@middlebury.edu

Extent

4 Boxes

Overview

The bulk of the collection consists of letters written to Gladys Jane Swift by men in the armed services during World War II in response to her correspondence with them during her years as a student at Middlebury College. Family correspondence consists largely of letters to her parents from childhood at summer camp, through her college years, and on her European trip in 1953. Memorabilia of Middlebury College years and of her European trip in 1953, includes scripts for elocution, plays, declamation, monologues, etc. A diary and a travel journal are included, as well as her 50th Reunion book from Middlebury College and her resume through 1991.

Biographical / Historical

Gladys Jane Swift was born on Dec. 3, 1924, the daughter of Mary and Harley Swift then of Cincinnati, Ohio. While a student in Withrow High School Gladys Jane Swift also took classes at the Cincinnati Institute of Fine Arts and was chosen as a member of the Withrow Players. Gladys entered Middlebury College in the fall of 1942, and was known as “Swifty”. Much of her time and interest at Middlebury were devoted to theater, and she selected and directed a one-act play for Middlebury High School students in her junior year. Because of the strictures of World War II, she and her class were graduated in February of 1946. In the summer of 1945 she worked at the Plymouth Drama Festival (Plymouth, MA). While a student, Gladys Jane Swift carried on voluminous correspondence with young men in the armed services. Two of these, James Anderegg and Warren Woirol, were friends from Cincinnati, while several others were Middlebury students. The collection includes letters from 21 named individuals, as well as 4 identified by first name only. Nine of the correspondents are associated with Middlebury College. The letters in this series are strictly from these servicemen to Gladys Jane Swift. Gladys Jane Swift’s extensive experience and devotion to theatre influenced her career in broadcasting, public relations, directorships in several community and charitable organizations, as well as board memberships in Girl Scouts, Visiting Nurse, Senior Center Institute and many others in Harrisburg, PA, where she lived for many years. She died in 2011.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

These materials were a gift of Swift’s son, Peter Seibert, to Special Collections, Davis Family Library.

Repository Details

Part of the Middlebury College Special Collections & Archives Repository

Contact:
Middlebury College
Davis Family Library
110 Storrs Avenue
Middlebury Vermont 05753 United States