“We cannot change the world but we can change the people in it.” The Eleanor Bumstead Stevenson Papers

Document 1: Diary Entry on Love and Marriage     |     Introduction to Documents 2 & 3
Document 2: 21 November 1924, Eleanor to Bill Stevenson     |     Document 3: 17 November 1925, Bumpy to Bill Stevenson
Document 4: Girl Trouble and Divorce     |     Document 5: “The Soldier Takes a Wife”
Document 6: Recreational Program     |     Document 7: Fair Employment Practices Council and Democracy
Document 8: Women’s Group Tea     |      Document 9: The Weaker Sex      |      Document 10: PAUW the Challenge to Education Today
Document 11: Making Use of Their Education     |      Document 12: Letter of Condolence      |     Bibliography

Document 1: Diary Entry on Love and Marriage

Title: Diary Entry on Love and Marriage

Author: Eleanor Bumstead

Date: 10 January 1922

Location: Diary Entry, 10 January 1922. Subgroup II. Eleanor B. Stevenson papers, Series 2. Diaries and Early Writings, Box 1. William and Eleanor Stevenson Papers, RG 30/219. O.C.A.

Document Type: Handwritten document



The following is the transcription of a diary entry written by Eleanor Bumstead while she was a junior at Smith College. This particular entry is reflective of many of her extant diary entries from this time in that it deals with her thoughts on marriage, dating, and the men currently in her life. As the document reveals, Eleanor did not simply want to marry for the sake of getting married, but she did feel the pressure to find a husband. In the 1920s. more women attending colleges than in the past, but without any expectation that they would use their education to  pursue careers. Instead, they were presumed to be destined for lives as educated wives and mothers.  The societal expectation of marriage weighed heavily upon young Bumpy, who expressed a great deal of young adult angst when discussing her relationships. Pay particular attention to the fourth paragraph, where she describes what she feels a fulfilling life for a woman looks like.


Original                       Both                    Transcription



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Jan 10 1922-

I seem to have great diary waves. Three months without writing here and now all of a sudden an overwhelming desire-

Charlie was up Sunday and the chasm was bridged. I knew that everything would be alright if I saw him again. It was my disgusting pride last year and nothing else. He is a perfect [saint?] and our understanding and sympathy is stronger & more perfect than ever. It seems as though things were happening to force us to-gether [sic]. His father died two weeks before the Princeton game. [Dave?] told me at the party Fri night. I felt hideously because he pulled me through Hell last winter and I had always prayed that some time I might have the opportunity to help him and in a small way show him my eternal appreciation.

We talked about it Sun[day]. He said How [sic] foreign death had seemed to him last winter and that his whole being was bursting with love and affection for me but that he just didn’t know what to do. I really & truly love him very much- But I have that strange undefinate [sic] feeling I had last year about him. I often-too often- wonder if I will ever be happy. I’m far from it now. I long for something I haven’t got. I guess its [sic] affection and appreciation. I really must stop thinking about myself. You should enjoy life, people, [daily?] things and stop this continual disgusting self pitying.

Bettie M. is engaged to [Jamie?] Johnston_ She seems very happy- one by one my friends are getting theirs. What ever [sic] happens I will not marry some one [sic] anyone just to be married. I know I never never will. I hope I shall find some one [sic] some day [sic] because I don’t think a woman no matter how brilliant a career she may have is ever happy- really happy with [inserted with a carrot: out] a husband home & children. A husband with a perfect understanding.

Bettie is a darling girl and I love her. She would make any man very happy. Ide [sic] make any man miserable. I do love Charlie_