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Friday Dash: The Mary Onettes and Mary Woolley

May 21, 2010

The Mary Onettes and Mary Woolley really should not share the same post, but they are two subjects that are dominating my day.

To start off, The Mary Onettes is a band from Sweden on Labrador Records. They have recently released a new album and the single, “The Night Before the Funeral.” I was introduced to them sometime in middle school, when a friend of mine couldn’t get enough of them. The band emanates the same musical consciousness of other Swedish bands with shoegazing and dream pop influences (think Shout Out Louds, The Radio Dept). There is also that deep, melancholy voice reminiscent of Cats on Fire, The National, Joy Division… definitely not a bad thing for the ears.

Mary Woolley however is an entirely different story. She  was once the President of Mount Holyoke College, from 1900 to 1937, and in the book Miss Marks and Miss Woolley, Anna Mary Wells writes about the not-so-secret relationship between the two women, from the time of their meeting at Wellesley College, through their years at Mount Holyoke and until their deaths. I’m not too far in the book, but their story is very captivating, considering the era they lived in. They both were motivated to secure a place for women in education, in the midst of an atmosphere of chauvanism, social demands for domesticity of females, and scholarly writings that proved illness and insanity were parallel gifts to a degree.

Mary E. Woolley

Using letters and journals by Miss Marks and Miss Woolley, Wells interprets  their relationship as it stood in the public eye, and the privacy between themselves. It’s hard to imagine how involved they were–until you realize how they lived in the same house later on in life, and shared a few collies. Friendship or more, it’s a great story that many MHC students do not know about. If told however, most of them would probably understand why the LGBTQ cultural house is named after Jennette Marks.

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