University of Chicago Library

Guide to the Madeline Wallin Papers 1887-1955

© 2006 University of Chicago Library


Descriptive Summary


Wallin, Madeline. Papers




0.5 linear feet (1 box)


Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.


Madeline Wallin was one of the first female graduate students at the University of Chicago. A student of political science, she received her Ph.M. in 1893. Contains personal correspondence, graduate school papers, articles, and photographs. Includes accounts of student life at the new University of Chicago and material relating to the University of Chicago Settlement League.

Information on Use


No restrictions.


When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Wallin, Madeline. Papers, [Box #, Folder #], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Biographical Note

Madeline Wallin was one of the first female graduate students at the University of Chicago. A student of political science, she received her Ph.M. degree in 1893, two years after completing her undergraduate work at Smith College and the University of Minnesota.

An alert and active member of the fledgling academic community, Miss Wallin took part in many of the educational and social events of the University. She was a member of the Club of History and Political Science, and one of the prime organizers of The Women's University Settlement League, a student group which devoted time and skills to the nearby Chicago settlement houses.

After completion of her graduate degree in 1893, Madeline Wallin became an instructor of history at Smith College. In 1897, she married George C. Sikes, an editor of the Chicago Record and a former classmate. Although her marriage and the birth of her two children, Alfred and Eleanor (later Mrs. Peters), curtailed her teaching career, Madeline Wallin remained a popular speaker on settlements and education reform until her death in 1955.

Scope Note

The Madeline Wallin Papers are divided into three categories: Correspondence, Graduate Themes and Papers, and Miscellaneous Papers and Articles. The major portion of the collection is composed of personal correspondence between Miss Wallin, her parents (Judge and Mrs. Alfred Wallin), George C. Sikes, and friends such as Otto Folin. The correspondence dates from her high school days in Elgin, Illinois (ca. 1887) to her death in 1955. Many of the letters written during her "student" days are important in that they offer detailed accounts of early student life at the University of Chicago, including sketches of Harper, Judson and other members of the faculty, and delve into the problems encountered by female students at the time.

Of foremost importance in the collection are several themes and papers written by Miss Wallin while at the University of Chicago. "First Impressions of the University of Chicago" was written in 1893 for the University of Minnesota student paper, Ariel. It offers a rather concise view of life at the new university, conveying much of the optimism and philosophy surrounding that creation which [Harper's] mind and Rockefeller's money are to evolve upon Chicago soil. "Dr. Harper and the University Girls" gives some insight into the difficulties that were encountered by the first women students. Of great interest, also, are the capsulated descriptions of Jane Addams, Hull House, and a robbery on the Quad, which are found in Madeline Wallin's "Daily Class Themes."

Related Resources

The following related resources are located in the Department of Special Collections:


Subject Headings


Box 1   Folder 1

Undated and Fragmentary Letters

Box 1   Folder 2

Correspondence, 1887-1891

Box 1   Folder 3

Correspondence, 1892

Box 1   Folder 4

Correspondence, 1893

Box 1   Folder 5

Correspondence, 1894

Box 1   Folder 6

Correspondence, 1895

Box 1   Folder 7

Correspondence, 1896

Box 1   Folder 8

Correspondence, 1897-1899

Box 1   Folder 9

Correspondence, Post 1900 (to 1955)

Box 1   Folder 10

Correspondence of Otto Folin, Eleanor Peters, George C. Sikes and Judge Alfred Wallin

Box 1   Folder 11

Photos and Cards

Box 1   Folder 12

Daily Class Themes (April 3 - June 12, 1894)

Box 1   Folder 13

"First Impressions of the University of Chicago" 1893

Box 1   Folder 14

"Some Points of Difference between American and European Municipal Administration"

Box 1   Folder 15

"The Rocky Mountain Locust and its Ravages in the Northwest"

Box 1   Folder 16

"Dr. Harper and the University Girls"

Box 1   Folder 17

Women's University Settlement League

Box 1   Folder 18

University of Chicago Alumnae Material