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Henriette Derman: LS Alumna, Crusader, and Political Prisoner: Life at Simmons

GSLIS Course Catalog 1916-17

Flip through the Course Catalog from the 1916-17 academic year to see what courses Derman took while at Simmons.

Coursebook courtesy of the Simmons College Archives

When Did Derman Graduate?

While Henriette Derman was admitted to the One-Year Programme as a 'special student', she was not awarded her Simmons diploma until 1936. In 1916, when Derman first started the program, WWI raged in Europe and Russia was in the middle of a revolution. This made it impossible for Derman to obtain her transcripts from Russia.

In 1936, June Donnelly, director of the GSLIS program, wrote to President Beatley on Derman's behalf:

"I should like to present Mrs. Henriette Derman as a candidate [for degree]. I don't know how much Mrs. Derman may care about having it, but it would certainly be a comfort to me to have her name amoung our graduates, as she is the most eminent woman who has had our library school course.

In the Fall of 1916 Mrs. Derman applied to enter the Library School. She had her liberal arts work at the University of Moscow. It was utterly impossible for her to get any records, not only because that was during the War, but also because before she came to America her husband had been exiled to Siberia for liberal views, and she had been with him, and during the War they had managed to escape and come to America.

We admitted her as a special. She carried the whole one-year course that the college graduates had. She was by all odds the most brilliant woman I have ever known, and the most highly educated...I can not conceive that anyone could object to her being given the degree, which except for the accident of the war would have been hers in 1917."

Letter provided courtesy of the Simmons College Archives

1917 Graduating Class

Photo courtesy of Simmons College Archives

Henriette's Transcript from Simmons

Look Familiar?

The Simmons Main College Building in 1917.

Photo courtesy of the Simmons College Archives

Simmons in the News

Even in the early 1900's, Simmons students were making the news. Take a look at some of the stories from The Boston Globe...