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Sophie Kerr collection

Identifier: MS-0029

Scope and Contents

This collection contains some of Sophie Kerr’s personal records and artifacts including her marriage license, scrapbook, correspondence, and photographs. There is also information on Sophie Kerr herself and on the Sophie Kerr Prize at Washington College.


  • 1904-2002

Access restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Publication rights

Copyright has not been assigned to Washington College. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Archives and Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Washington College as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

Biographical Information

Sophie Kerr (1880-1965) was born August 23 in Denton, Maryland. She graduated Denton High School in 1895 and then received her bachelor’s degree from Hood College and her master’s from University of Vermont. In 1904 she married John DeLoss Underwood, a civil engineer, but the pair divorced four years later. Kerr supported herself by working as a women’s page editor in Pittsburgh for The Chronicle Telegraph and The Pittsburgh Gazette. She then moved to New York and became the managing editor of The Woman’s Home Companion. Here she began her career writing fiction, she worked from 1920 until her death in 1965; she wrote numerous books and short stories on topics of class and gender issues in the first half of the 20th century. In 1945 Washington College awarded her an honorary degree, along with Eleanor Roosevelt, in honor of the 50th anniversary of co-education at Washington College. Upon her death she donated the bulk of her estate with the stipulation that half its income be awarded annually to a senior showing “the most ability and promise for future fulfillment in the field of literary endeavor.”


3 Cubic Feet ( 6 boxes, 1 oversize folder)

Language of Materials


Physical and Technical Access Restrictions


Custodial history

Materials were the posession of Kerr's literary agent, Mary Elizabeth Taylor.

Acquisition information

Gift of Mary Elizabeth Tayor, 1968-1974.

Related Materials

Sophie Kerr’s books and personal library are cataloged and can be found through OneSearch.

Finding Aid to the Sophie Kerr Collection
L. Sheldon
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Washington College Archives & Special Collections Repository

300 Washington Avenue
Chestertown MD 21620