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Throughout her professional life, Mary Jarrett’s friends and colleagues recognized Katrine Collins, her partner of forty-plus years, in their correspondence. Professional correspondence usually ended with a note above the closing and signature that mentioned the recipient’s family. For instance, a letter between colleagues might end, “Give my best to your wife and children,” or if the colleagues were closer the letter writer would mention the wife and children by name and offer some insight into their own family’s health and well being.

This is significant because long before diverse families had legal protections, some colleagues recognized the same-sex partner of the person they were writing to. Below you will find a selection of such letters to and from Mary Jarrett mentioning Katrine Collins.

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In addition to these letters, there is further evidence of Jarrett and Collins personal partnership. In Notable American Women, Vida Simenas Grayson wrote the biography of Mary Jarrett. She notes that “In 1927 Jarrett and Katrine Collins, with whom she shared a home from 1919 on, moved to New York City.” Several decades later JarrettĀ made the initial donation of her papers to the Sophia Smith Collection, and Collins gave more materials after Jarrett’s death in 1961.

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F. Stuart Chapin to Mary Jarrett

“Write when you have time. My best to Miss Collins!”

For the full text of this letter, see this discussion of Mary Jarrett fighting for recognition.

Handwritten letter
F. Stuart Chapin to Mary Jarrett, January 28, 1924, Mary Jarrett Collection #83, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, MA.

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Two adults walking, Parad with a baby on his shoulders
Florence Hollis and Howard Parad, Photographer: Unknown, Florence Hollis Papers, Box 49, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, MA.

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Howard Parad to Mary Jarrett

For full text of this letter, see this page on Florence Day and Howard Parad’s recognition of Mary Jarrett.

Closing of a typed letter
Howard Parad to Mary Jarrett, February 6, 1961, Mary Jarrett Collection #83, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, MA.

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Jarrett to Parad

“What a nice letter you wrote me–Katrine and I both enjoyed it! I’m so glad you had such a grand time in Europe.”

handwritten letter

“At this point I will curb my desire to talk to you since deprived of talking with you and stop with love and best wishes to the Parad Kinship Unit,

Mary Jarrett.”

handwritten letter
Mary Jarrett to Howard Parad, February 24, 1961, Mary Jarrett Collection #83, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, MA.

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