Fidelia Fiske’s Letters

Fidelia Fiske, class of 1842, kept up careful correspondence with her alma mater during her years abroad. Her letters chronicle everything from conversions to illness, blessing or praying to God in each. Many were sent to her friend and mentor, Mary Lyon.

Oroomiah, April 23, 1855
My dear Holyoke Sisters,
My faithful, truth telling note book reminds me, that a long two years have passed, since I have written you. It would seem from my long silence, that I had ceased to feel an interest in those who now dwell in my old home. But I cannot admit this. There is but one spot in favored. America, as dear to me and your home as were I there. There is but one person I should long to embrace before seeing you. That one is my own dear mother. There I am with you. I should look in vain for one familiar face expect that of my dearly loved Miss Chapin. I should stand “a stranger” among you, but I will not say “in a strange place.” Though 12 years must have greatly changed the loved, I would not love to call it “a strange place.” So it would not be so to say, for the same gained influenced bless you, as blessed were we in dear Miss Lyon’s day. Her Spirit lingers with you. […] When I see rich blessings descending on my Nestorian sisters, I am wont to believe that Holyoke sisters are praying for us. Your prayers may do more in this interesting world than our labors can do.

When Mary Lyon died, Fiske also wrote a memoriam to her many accomplishments, published by the American Tract Society and lengthily titled Recollections of Mary Lyon, With Selections from her Instructions to the Pupils in Mt. Holyoke Female Seminary. The book is comprised of an impressive 348 pages, and can still be purchased today.
Fiske’s original letters can be found in the Mount Holyoke Archives and Special Collections. Below is a slideshow of just a few of these precious documents.


Read more about Fidelia Fiske.

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