Alice and Elizabeth Little were granddaughters of Henry and Alice Welch Cowles, professor of theology and second principal of the Ladies Department, respectively. Alice Little (18651958), the primary subject of this collection, received the literary degree from Oberlin in 1888. After graduation, she taught for five years in a missionary school on Kusaie, in Micronesia. The maps she collected and the detailed notes she took on trips to the surrounding islands were later used by the United States Navy in World War II. Upon her return to the United States, Alice worked for seven years for the Womans Board of Missions of the Interior (WBMI) in Chicago. In 1907 she moved back to Oberlin to live with her sister Elizabeth (Bessie), although she remained active in missionary work as treasurer and trustee of the WBMI. She also was a trustee of the Ohio Congregational Conference for nine years.
Elizabeth Little (1863-1944) studied at Oberlin in the preparatory
department in 188687 and in the Conservatory in 1898-99. Aside
from some letters to Bessie, this collection contains
no other information on her.
Sarah Cowles Little (1838-1912, A.B. 1859), their mother, was a teacher and then superintendent of the State School for the Blind in Janesville, Wisconsin, from 1861 to 1891. She married Thomas H. Little there in 1862, but was widowed in 1875. Upon returning to Oberlin, she supported the establishment of the Tank Home for missionary children.
In addition to the papers of the Little family, the file includes
correspondence of the Dart Leonard family. Like Alice Little, Clara
Miller Dart (Mt. Holyoke 1904) and Sidney Dart (A.B. 1910) were
missionaries, devoting 25 years to working in Angola and other
parts of Africa, 1911-1936. Sidneys parents, Francis H. Dart
and Mary T. Leonard Dart, attended Oberlin in the 1860s and 1870s
but did not graduate.