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Ada Simpson Sherwood Papers

Identifier: RG 09-9.43

Scope and Contents

These are the personal and published papers of Ada Simpson Sherwood, former Berea College Professor of Religion.  This collection includes Sherwood’s published material, typed manuscripts, poems, songs, and plays.  Included in the collection is biographical information, one personal journal, and three scrapbooks.


  • created: 1888 - 1955
  • Other: Majority of material found in 1912-1952


Conditions Governing Access

Records can be accessed through the Reading Room, Berea College Special Collections and Archives, Hutchins Library, Berea College.

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on use of this material other than federal copyright regulations.


2.00 ms_boxes

Language of Materials



Ada Simpson was born on January 25, 1861 in Carlton, New York but spent most of her early life in rural Michigan.  At the age of sixteen, she obtained a teacher’s certificate and became a rural school teacher while at the same time working toward the high school diploma. She married Alva Sherwood in 1888. In 1905 she was tragically widowed; this event marked the next phase of Sherwood’s career during which she would begin her life-long dream of higher education.  Along with her son and daughter she attended Oberlin College and graduated there in 1914--she was 53--with Phi Beta Kappa honors.  A year later she obtained her Master’s degree from the same institution.  Sherwood finished in 1919 at Boston University where she earned a Masters in Religious Education.  One year later she would move to Berea, Kentucky, and begin her teaching career at Berea College. Sherwood taught Bible courses at the Berea College Normal School for eleven years and retired in 1931 at the age of 71.  Throughout her life and teaching career Ms. Sherwood continued to devote time to writing.  She contributed many poems, articles, and prose pieces to many well-known publications.  She wrote play pageants, “peace plays,” and operettas for children to perform as well as Christmas songs, religious hymns, and patriotic songs.  She composed the Berea College Normal School class of 1931 song and in 1947 published a book of poetry entitled Hungering For The Hills.  Two manuscripts for novels were completed but never published. Dubbed the grand old lady of Berea, Ms. Sherwood spent the rest of her life there, staying involved with the Congregationalist Church, W.C.T.U., community women’s organizations and Berea College events.  Ms. Sherwood was well-known and respected throughout the state, her writing appearing occasionally in the Courier Journal, the Herald Leader, and the Berea Citizen.  She remained busy until the end of her life and maintained “Never think you are too old to undertake your cherished dreams ... travel hopefully, clear to the end of the journey.”  Ada Simpson Sherwood died in Berea on March 7, 1959.

Arrangement Note

Arrangement of the collection is by series:

1.  Published Writings, and 2. ManuscriptsPersonal/Biographical

Processing Information

Finding aid updated 2016.


Archon Finding Aid Title
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Berea College Special Collections and Archives Repository

Hutchins Library
100 Campus Drive
Berea Kentucky 40404 US