Barbara Banker Kamar collection, 1885-2012

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Volume: .75 linear feet

This collection is organized into three series. Series I and III are arranged chronologically. Series II is arranged by subject. 
I. Correspondence
II. Memorabilia and Notes
III. Administrative Information

Biographical note: Barbara Banker Kamar was born in Boston, Massachusetts on March 31st, 1917 to Grace G. Pascal Banker and Lyman Van Vliet Banker of Newton Highland, Massachusetts. She was educated at Newton High School (1932-1935) and Mount Holyoke College (1935-1939) and spent summers during her youth and adulthood at the family home on Chebeague Island, Maine. She also waited tables in Ogunquit during here college years. After graduating from Mount Holyoke she had further training at The Fairfield School (1939-1940) which was formerly known as the Chandler Secretarial School. She first worked as a stenographic secretary in the Bond Department of Aetna Casualty & Security (Boston) in 1940-1941. She went on to work in the secretarial departments of both Wellesley Hills Jr High and the Wellesley School Department (1941-1942).  

Barbara Banker enlisted in the WACs in May 1943 and received her commission in December 1943. After her training at Fort Oglethorpe Georgia, she worked as a Special Service Officer at Fort Lewis Washington from January 1944 to March 1945.  

She married Charles Martin Kamar in October 1944. He was a career Army officer and reached the rank of Captain before retiring in the early 1960s. Barbara and Chuck Kamar had two children: Charles Martin V (1945) and Beth (1955). Chuck died in 1995 and Barbara Banker Kamar lived on as a widow in the Newton Highlands area until her death at the age of 87 on May 9th, 2004. She is buried in the Pine Hill Cemetery in Tewksbury, Massachusetts.

Description: The Barbara Banker Kamar collection consists of 402 pieces of correspondence and 21 items of memorabilia. The correspondence, which can be found in Series 1, is arrayed over three major periods of her life: her years at Mount Holyoke College when she and her family wrote almost daily at times, her years as a WAC in Georgia and Washington, and from the 1950s and 1960s when Charles Kamar was in the Army. Series 2 contains memorabilia from Barbara Banker's time at Mount Holyoke, and undated notes. Series 3 contains biographical materials that were collected during processing, primarily from the Mount Holyoke Archives.

Access Restrictions: None

Please cite as: Barbara Banker Kamar collection, Maine Women Writers Collection, University of New England, Portland, Maine.

Container List:

I. Correspondence (1885-1962, undated)

Barbara Banker Kamar's correspondence falls into three periods: her college years at Mount Holyoke College (194 letters), her years in the WACs (184 letters), and her years as an Army wife when her husband was overseas (24 letters).  

001.  M. Chandler to Miss Brooks, 1885
002.  Barbara Banker to Mount Holyoke official, 1934
003.  Family Correspondence, 1935
004.  Family Correspondence (1 of 2), 1936
005.  Family Correspondence (2 of 2), 1936
006.  Family Correspondence (1 of 2), 1937
007.  Family Correspondence (2 of 2), 1937
008.  Family Correspondence, 1938
009.  Family Correspondence (1 of 2), 1939
010.  Family Correspondence (2 of 2), 1939
011.  Family Correspondence (1 of 3), 1943
012.  Family Correspondence (2 of 3), 1943
013.  Family Correspondence (3 of 3), 1943
014.  Family Correspondence (1 of 4), 1944
015.  Family Correspondence (2 of 4), 1944
016.  Family Correspondence (3 of 4), 1944
017.  Family Correspondence (4 of 4), 1944
018.  Family Correspondence (1 of 2), 1945-47
019.  Family Correspondence (2 of 2), 1945-47
020.  Family Correspondence, 1950s
021.  Family Correspondence, 1960s

II. Memorabilia & Notes (1932-1963, undated)

Although the collection of Barbara Banker Kamar is dominated by her letters, there are two files of memorabilia and notes that could interest a Kamar researcher. File 001 holds memorabilia from her years at Mount Holyoke and includes class schedules, residential hall menus, a loan application, plus an overview of how students can meet their expenses while at college in the 1930s. File 002 is a more varied collection of envelopes without corresponding letters, some library notes and church bulletins.

001.  Mount Holyoke, 1935-1937, undated
002.  Various, 1932-1963, undated

III. Administrative Information (2012)

This single file (3.001) is a 35 page collection of biographical materials predominately from the archives of Mount Holyoke College. It has graduation period photos (ca 1939) and various forms of alumnae questionnaires and career help materials that outline Kamar's life. Embedded in the questionnaires are revealing answers to questions such as, Are you a feminist? What books are you reading? If you went back to college, would you take the same major? This file also contains copies of Kamar's death certificate and her burial records.

001.  Biographical Materials, 2012