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Katherine Tenney papers

Identifier: MSS-010

Scope and Contents

The Katherine Tenney correspondence collection consists of 131 letters sent from St. Mary’s to her parents, Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tenney, between the years 1934 and 1937. The content of these letters includes descriptions of Katherine’s daily social and academic life at the Seminary; requests for permission to travel outside of St. Mary’s; and accounts of frequent trips to Baltimore and Washington, D.C. The collection also includes several inserts, such as a copy of an arsenic receipt, a number of letters written by Katherine’s friends and addressed to Katherine’s mother, and a letter from M. Adele France. The letters make frequent mention of archery champion and sister Jean Tenney, as well as Kay Aldridge, who would later gain fame as a model and actress.


  • 1934-1937

Biographical Note

Katherine “Kay” Tenney attended the St. Mary’s Seminary Junior College between the years 1934 and 1937. Following the footsteps of her older sister, the celebrated archery champion Jean Tenney, Katherine opted to spend her final year of high school at the seminary. In 1935 she graduated high school, and spent the following two years studying in the St. Mary’s Seminary Junior College. Her goal was to obtain a scholarship to study at Drexel University, although she ended up studying at Johns Hopkins University and West Chester University. She earned a master's degree and was employed as a teacher and guidance counselor for 25 years in the Coatesville, Pennsylvania Area School District, retiring in 1980.

In her time at the Seminary, she wrote home frequently. Her letters reveal that she was an exemplary pupil, and often placed in the first honor roll. She was also quite involved in campus activities; her positions ranged from President of the Dramatics Club, the Biology Club, and the Archery Club, to President of the College Club. She was also an active member in the Glee and Home Economics clubs on campus. Her schedule was always busy, and made even more so by dances at Charlotte Hall Military Academy and weekend trips to Baltimore and Washington, DC. During her time at St. Mary’s Katherine contributed actively to the culture of the community. She also witnessed landmark moments in St. Mary’s history, including the unveiling of the Freedom of Conscience monument and the college’s Tercentenary celebration.

Katherine hailed from Clearspring, Maryland, the daughter of Clarence Arthur and Olive (Smith) Tenney. She was preceded in death by her husband, Otis D. Hanna, in 1999. She passed in 2005 at the age of 87.


0.7 Linear Feet (2 boxes (including 1 oversize box))

Language of Materials



Large collection of letters from Katherine Tenney, a student at St. Mary's Female Seminary-Junior College, to her family, written between 1934 and 1937. She wrote several times a week, sometimes twice a day.

Rosie Hammack, 2015
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the St. Mary's College of Maryland Archives Repository

Calvert Hall
St. Mary's College of Maryland
47645 College Dr.
St. Mary's City MD 20686-3001 United States