Skip to main content

Muriel Simonson Papers

Call Number: MS135

  • Ask a Question

Scope and Contents

This collection includes family photographs, newspaper clippings from Tufts, theater programs, and a binder of poems by John Holmes given to Muriel Simonson circa 1930.


  • Majority of material found within 1925 -- 1929
  • 1908 -- 1981


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Use

Some material in this collection may be protected by copyright and other rights. Please see “Reproductions and Use” on the Digital Collections and Archives website for more information about reproductions and permission to publish. No documentation is available regarding the intellectual property rights in this collection.


This collection is organized into one series.


0.5 Linear Feet

48 Digital Object(s)

Biographical / Historical

Born on April 25, 1907, Muriel Simonson graduated from Medford High School, Medford, MA, in 1924. The first woman in her family to go to college, Muriel was one of only two Medford freshmen at Jackson College in the fall of 1924. The Simonsons, a middle-class Medford family, lived on 23 and 26 Dudley Street, Medford, Massachusetts. Her father, Wilmot A. Simonson, was a traveling salesman selling fruit drink-mixes, biscuits, and Mrs. Simonson's Lemon Merengue Pies. Like many of her Jackson classmates, Muriel went on to excel in all areas while studying at Jackson College, Tufts' coordinate college for women established in 1910: academics, theater, voice, and theater production, as a sorority member, as a student leader, and as an athlete.

Unknown to Holmes scholars until 2006, Muriel Simonson and John A. Holmes (A1929) became officially engaged in the spring of 1929. John A. Holmes subsequently gave her a black, three-ring binder containing 24 poems written for and to Muriel. Sometime in 1930, the engagement was dissolved for currently unknown reasons, and Muriel went on to marry Jerry's father, Walter John Rhodes (1903-1996), a year later while John A. Holmes became a renowned local poet and professor of English at Tufts in 1934. Muriel, however, kept his poems tucked away at home and only her son's recent donation of her papers to the Digital Collections and Archvies brought them to light.

Like many women of her generation, Muriel stayed home after marriage -- despite her all her talents and her outstanding achievements while she was at Tufts. Her parents did not approve of her wish to become an actress given the profession's questionable reputation and the economic hardships of the late 1920s. Muriel Simonson Rhodes died November 14, 1987.

Custodial History

Material was donated by Jerry Rhodes, Muriel Simonson's son.

Processing status

This collection is processed.

Repository Details

Part of the Digital Collections and Archives, Tufts University Repository

35 Professors Row
Tisch Library Building
Tufts University
Medford Massachusetts 02155 United States