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Virginia Judy Esterly Papers

Identifier: D-Mss-0295

  • Staff Only

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Virginia Judy Esterly Papers contain correspondence, documents, newspaper clippings, periodicals, printed material, pamphlets, and ephemera. The newspaper clippings were photocopied and deaccessioned. Duplicate items were also deaccessioned. The material documenting Mrs. Esterly's efforts to establish the Ida Rust Macpherson Collection can be found in the Mrs. Esterly's Files box and Early Files box in the Macpherson Collection.


  • Creation: 1900-1972


Language of Materials

Languages represented in collection: English.


Collection opn for reserach.

Publication Rights

Property rights reside with Scripps College. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permissions to reproduce or to publish, please contact Ella Strong Denison Library staff.

Biography / Administrative History

Virginia Judy Esterly was born 25 April 1882, at Hillsboro, Oregon to Fredericka Bremer Kelly and Martin Judy. She married Ward Benjamin Esterly before she completed her studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and had two daughters, Josephine and Virginia. After the death of her husband, she proceeded to complete her studies at the University of California for her B.A. degree in 1923. From 1923 to 1930, she was Dean of Women at the University of Oregon. In 1923, she was Acting Dean of Women during the Summer Session of the University of California, and Dean of Women of the Summer Session in 1924. She completed work for her M.A. degree at the University of California in 1929 after a first-hand study of the education of women in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland. She carried on further graduate study at both the University of Oregon and the University of Southern California. After leaving the University of Oregon, she moved to the community of La Jolla in San Diego, California and became president of the San Diego Y.W.C.A. in 1933.

In 1934, Mrs. Esterly was appointed Assistant to the President and Counselor on Human Relations at Scripps College, and served as secretary to the Board of Trustees. The duties of her position included teaching a course on the American Home, counseling students, and representing the college before a large public. During the war years, she assumed many extra duties and without complaint, relinquished the sabbatical leaves which were her due. She faithfully served the Scripps College community for 12 years.

Mrs. Esterly's interests were many sided. Her early experience as a teacher in China gave her an understanding of the peoples of the East and led to her active interest in the Oriental Studies Society of the Associated Colleges of Claremont, of which she was a director. She was also a member of the Educational Council of the Western Personnel Service, the Association of American Colleges and Universities of the Pacific Southwest, and the Southern Branch of the National Council of Family Relations. She was instrumental in creating the Fine Arts Foundation of Scripps College, and encouraged the work of the Scripps College Press. She also helped establish the Ida Rust Macpherson Collection, the earliest major collection on women at any women's college in the United States.

On 17 May 1946, Mrs. Esterly passed away a few hours after suffering a cerebral thrombosis. In her memory, the Virginia Judy Esterly awards were established in order to recognize Scripps College students who combine the qualities of good scholarship, effective service in student activities, and responsible citizenship.


9.4 Linear Feet (15 document boxes, 1 flat box, 1 microfilm box)


The Virginia Judy Esterly Papers contain correspondence, documents, newspaper clippings, periodicals, printed material, pamphlets, and ephemera that document Mrs. Esterly's varied interests in women. The items reflect her interest in domestic workers and household employment, and the national effort to organize these women into unions in the period between the First and Second World Wars. As a Scripps College faculty member and administrator, Mrs. Esterly's syllabi and lectures on her course on the American Home, and speeches made to students, can be found in the papers. Mrs. Esterly was instrumental in establishing the Ida Rust Macpherson Collection, the earliest major collection on women at any women's college in the United States.

Organization and Arrangement

The collection is organized into six series:

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1934-1950 and undated Series 2: Teaching Material, 1931-1947 and undated Series 3: Speeches and Writings, 1930-1946 and undated Series 4: Topical Files, 1913-1972 Series 5: Research Files, 1900-1956 Series 6: Printed Material, 1918-1945

Physical Location

Please consult repository.

Provenance/Source of Acquisition

The Virginia Judy Esterly Papers were acquired after the death of Mrs. Esterly.


No additions to the collection are anticipated.

Processing History

Preliminary arrangement by library staff. Processed by Tanya M. Kato, 2009.


Virginia Judy Esterly Papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the 02 - Ella Strong Denison Library Repository

1030 Columbia Ave
Claremont 91711 United States US