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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Mary Morton Ellsworth papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1833-2004
Creator: Ellsworth, Mary Morton (1916-2004)
Extent: 2.25 linear feet.
Collection Number: IWA0534
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Ohio born psychometrist who divorced in 1957 and moved to Iowa City with her daughters.

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs in boxes 5-6
1 DVD [d0047]

Access: The papers are open for research.

Use: Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to The University of Iowa.

Acquisition: The papers (donor no. 938) were donated by Mary Morton Ellsworth and Jonnifer Ellsworth in 2004 and succeeding years.

Preferred Citation: Mary Morton Ellsworth papers, Iowa Women's Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.

Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Address: 100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5068
Curator: Kären Mason
Email: lib-women@uiowa.edu
Website: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/iwa

Mary Morton Ellsworth, a psychometrist, was born in Sandusky, Ohio, in 1916. Morton graduated from Sandusky High School in 1933, then earned a BA from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1937. In 1941, after completing an MA at the University of Michigan, she married Herman Charles Ellsworth in her parents' home in Sandusky. Mary and Charles Ellsworth had two daughters, Ann and Jonnifer ("Jonni"), and the family moved to Ithaca, New York. Mary Ellsworth was diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1948 and recovered at Biggs State Hospital for two years. During that time, her husband was completing a residency at the University of Nebraska in Omaha and her two young daughters lived with a foster family, David and Ruth Kirk. In 1951, the Ellsworth family moved to Cherokee, Iowa, and in 1957, Mary and Charles Ellsworth were divorced.

Mary Ellsworth moved to Iowa City with her daughters in 1957 and took additional graduate course work at the University of Iowa. In 1961, she began work as a psychometrist in the University Counseling Service, where she remained until her retirement in 1981. Ellsworth enjoyed doing genealogical research and belonged to several local organizations such as 4-H and the League of Women Voters. She moved to Oaknoll Retirement Center in 1991 and died in 2004.

The Mary Morton Ellsworth papers date from 1833 to 2004 and measure 2.25 linear feet. The collection consists primarily of personal materials relating to Ellsworth's children, family, and friends. It includes an extensive collection of Christmas cards received by Ellsworth over a period of fifty-five years; some cards have notes, letters, or photographs enclosed. The collection also contains Christmas cards sent by Ellsworth, which include an annual letter describing family events. The newspaper clippings include wedding announcements of family members, and the folder on Jonnifer Ellsworth contains papers she wrote in high school. The genealogy folder includes transcriptions of approximately fifteen letters written by Ellsworth's mother's ancestors in the mid-nineteenth century.

The professional materials in the collection consist mainly of several academic papers written by Ellsworth. These include a paper she wrote during her senior year at Ohio Wesleyan University after she was chosen to spend a semester at the Merrill-Palmer Institute in Detroit and her master's thesis. Ellsworth's retirement album includes photographs of many colleagues at the University Counseling Service as well as remembrances of Morton and her work.

The collection includes photographs of Ellsworth's childhood, young adulthood, and years at Oaknoll retirement center, as well as several of the Kirk family, with whom Mary Ellsworth's daughters lived while she recuperated from tuberculosis. A DVD includes home videos of the Ellsworth family Christmas celebrations from the late 1940s to the late 1950s, and footage of the 1956 Veisha parade in Ames, Iowa, and the 1956 Centennial Parade in Des Moines, Iowa.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION
Series 2: CORRESPONDENCE
Series 3: EDUCATION
Series 4: 2008 ADDITION

  • Series 1: BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION
  • Box 1:
  • General - 1986-2004
  • Box 4:
  • "Bride's Book of Plans" - 1941
  • Series 2: CORRESPONDENCE
  • Box 1:
  • Christmas cards and letters (folder 1) - 1947-1963
  • Christmas cards and letters (folder 2) - 1947-1963
  • Christmas cards and letters (folder 3) - 1947-1963
  • Christmas cards and letters (folder 4) - 1947-1963
  • Christmas cards and letters (folder 5) - 1947-1963
  • Christmas cards and letters (folder 6) - 1947-1963
  • Christmas cards and letters (folder 7) - 1947-1963
  • Christmas cards and letters (folder 8) - 1947-1963
  • Christmas cards and letters (folder 9) - 1947-1963
  • Box 2:
  • Christmas cards and letters (folder 1) - 1964-1976
  • Christmas cards and letters (folder 2) - 1964-1976
  • Christmas cards and letters (folder 3) - 1964-1976
  • Christmas cards and letters (folder 4) - 1964-1976
  • Christmas cards and letters (folder 5) - 1964-1976
  • Christmas cards and letters (folder 6) - 1964-1976
  • Christmas cards and letters (folder 7) - 1964-1976
  • Christmas cards and letters (folder 8) - 1964-1976
  • Box 3:
  • Christmas cards and letters (folder 9) - 1964-1976
  • Christmas cards and letters (folder 1) - 1980-1997
  • Christmas cards and letters (folder 2) - 1980-1997
  • Christmas cards and letters (folder 3) - 1980-1997
  • Christmas cards and letters (folder 4) - 1980-1997
  • Christmas cards and letters (folder 5) - 1980-1997
  • Christmas cards and letters (folder 6) - 1980-1997
  • Christmas cards and letters (folder 7) - 1980-1997
  • Christmas cards and letters (folder 8) - 1980-1997
  • Box 4:
  • Christmas cards and letters (folder 1) - 1988-2004
  • Christmas cards and letters (folder 2) - 1988-2004
  • Christmas cards and letters (folder 3) - 1988-2004
  • Christmas cards and letters (folder 4) - 1988-2004
  • Christmas cards and letters (folder 5) - 1988-2004
  • Christmas cards and letters sent by Mary Ellsworth - 1981-1995
  • Christmas cards and letters sent by Jonni Ellsworth - 1982-2008
  • Cards and notes from daughters
  • Series 3: EDUCATION
  • Box 4:
  • High school diploma - 1933
    [shelved in map case]
  • Certificates - 1937-1941
  • Box 5:
  • "A Study in Humor in the Language of Preschool Children" - 1936
  • "Verbal Exploration of Some Social Taboos by Four and Five-Year Olds" (Ellsworth's MA thesis) - 1941
  • "Vocational Maturity of College Men in Different Major Fields" - 1961
  • Miscellaneous notes, undated - 1961
  • 50-year reunion of Ohio Wesleyan - 1987
  • Series 4: 2008 ADDITION
  • Box 5:
  • Genealogy - 1933-2004
  • Jonnifer Ellsworth - 1961-1963
  • Letters from relatives - 1934-1966
  • Miscellaneous letters - 1934-1983
  • Newspaper clippings - 1964-1966
  • Personal papers - 1934-1960
  • Sandusky calendar - 1935
  • Photographs (folder 1), undated - 1930s-2004
  • Photographs (folder 2), undated - 1930s-2004
  • Photographs (folder 3), undated - 1930s-2004
  • Photographs (folder 4), undated - 1930s-2004
  • Photographs (folder 5), undated - 1930s-2004
  • Home movies - 1940s-1950s
    [d0047: shelved in digital collection]
  • Cherokee Centennial booklet - 1956
  • Newspaper clippings, Little Sioux River flood, Cherokee archaeological site, Centennial - 1965-1977
  • Box 6:
  • Retirement album - 1981
    [shelved in oversized scrapbooks]
  • Box 7:
  • Christmas card file box