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Alice Keliher Papers

Call Number



1918-1995, inclusive


Keliher, Alice Virginia, 1903-


25 Linear Feet in 22 boxes

Language of Materials

Materials are in English.


Alice V. Keliher was born in Washington, D.C., in 1903 and was a scholar in early school education. She taught at NYU from 1936 to 1960 and later at Wheelock College in Boston. She was also a close friend and neighbor of Eleanor Roosevelt, with whom she shared a concern for human rights issues. The collection includes articles, correspondence and personal memorabilia relating to her life and work in child education and development.

Biographical Note

Alice V. Keliher was born in Washington, D.C., in 1903. She received Bachelor's, Master's and Doctoral degrees in three years at Teachers College at Columbia University. She then began work with Dr. Gesell at Yale in 1930. She taught early school education at NYU from 1936 to 1960. An active scholar, she attended many conferences on childhood education around the country through the 1940s and 1950s. During WWII, she was Director of Child and Youth Services of the New York Office of Civilian Defense, and also secretary of Mayor La Guardia's Committee on the Wartime Care of Children. In addition, she was a close friend and neighbor of Eleanor Roosevelt, with whom she shared a concern for human rights issues. In 1960 she left NYU and went to Wheelock College in Boston, where she became the Massachusetts regional training officer for Head Start, the federal program designed to improve disadvantaged childrens' education.


Folders are generally arranged chronologically or alphabetically, depending on the nature of the series. Where there are no folder numbers listed, materials are stored unfoldered in boxes (items such as books, tapes, memorabilia).

The collection is organized into 4 series:

  1. Printed Material
  2. Personal publications and files
  3. Work-related correspondence and other files
  4. Personal memorabilia

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains Keliher's personal and professional papers from 1918 to 1995. Professional materials include the National Society for Education Yearbooks (1972-1995), books authored by educators, contributions to Columbia University Teachers College Education Series (1925-1946), articles written by Keliher, extensive correspondence with educators and other scholars, research materials, correspondence with the House Committee on Un-American Activities, photos, and clippings. Personal materials include correspondence with Eleanor Roosevelt and Anna Freud, scrapbooks and photo albums with images of India, Ireland, Guam, Belgium, family and friends.

This collection also includes all of Keliher's printed articles and books and two unfinished and unpublished book projects: one on her life and that of the educators that shaped her thought (Box 16); and another one titled "Children at School," on child development and the elementary school program (Box 13).

There is information on every school and institution she was involved with, films, photos, slides and tape recordings of seminars, conferences and trips. Please note that audiovisual materials may need to be converted to a digital format for viewing; please contact the University Archives with questions about whether these materials are currently available. There exists also personal memorabilia, such as trophies and honorary degrees. Also included are personal letters and published materials by and about prominent educators of the time, including Lawrence Frank, John Dewey, William Kilpatrick, and Arnold Gesell.

Access Restrictions

Institutional records of New York University are closed for a period of 20 years from the date of their creation (the date on which each document was written). Board of Trustees records are similarly closed for 35 years from the date of creation. The opening date for files spanning several years will be 20 years from the most recent date. Access will be given to material already 20 years old contained within a collection that is not yet open when such material can be isolated from the rest of the collection. Materials related to personnel, faculty grievances, job searches and all files with information that falls under the University's Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) policy are permanently restricted. Please contact the University Archivists with specific questions regarding restrictions.

Use Restrictions

Any rights (including copyright and related rights to publicity and privacy) held by donor are maintained by New York University. Permission to publish or reproduce materials in this collection must be secured from repository. Please contact New York University Archives, (212) 998-2641,

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:Identification of item, date (if known); The Alice V. Keliher Papers; MC 139; box number; folder number; New York University Archives, New York University Libraries.


This collection was transferred to the New York University Archives in 1995 by the estate of Alice Keliher.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Audiovisual materials have not been preserved and may not be available to researchers. Materials not yet digitized will need to have access copies made before they can be used. To request an access copy, or if you are unsure if an item has been digitized, please contact New York University Archives, (212) 998-2641, with the collection name, collection number, and a description of the item(s) requested. A staff member will respond to you with further information.

Related Material at the New York University Archives

University Archives Biographical Files, "Keliher, Alice, 1903-1995"

University Archives Portrait Files, "Keliher, Alice"

Collection processed by

University Archives staff. Additional processing by Claire Wolford.

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2023-08-20 17:50:02 -0400.
Language: Description is in English.

Revisions to this Guide

May 2021: Updated by Rachel Mahre revising laudatory language in the Biographical Note and Abstract

Edition of this Guide

This version was derived from KELIHER.doc


New York University Archives
New York University Archives
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New York, NY 10012