Sanborn, Monica Lillian

The class of 1905 boasted the first women–two of them–to complete the four-year course and graduate with bachelor of science degrees.

Monica Lillian Sanborn, class of 1905, was born October 15, 1882. From Salem, she lived in Draper Hall, which opened in February 1903 as both a dormitory for women and a campus dining facility, during her later years (where she boarded before that is not known). She is listed among the four class officers of the 1902 short course, with her position given as “Ceres, The Class Goddess.” Sanborn majored in horticulture, wrote a thesis titled “The Home Fruit Garden,” and was elected to the honor society Phi Kappa Phi.

Two years after graduation, in what may have been MAC's first alumni marriage, Sanborn wed William O. Taft (class of 1906) in Vermont. (Taft is mentioned in the College Signal as Sanborn’s date to some of the college dances.) The family later moved to a farm in Sterling, Mass., and she served as a trustee of the town library. The Tafts' elder child, Roger, graduated with the class of 1930. They also had a daughter, Rosamond, who attended Skidmore and may have transferred to Simmons. “It doesn’t seem to me that there is anything in my life history that will be interesting,” Sanborn wrote to Frank Waugh in May of 1930. “…my only claim to fame is that I am the only one of the class to have a son graduating from old M.A.C. on our 25th reunion. I must admit that that gives me a thrill.”


  • Class of 1905 Records (RG 50/6), Special Collections and University Archives, UMass Amherst Libraries
  • Index of 1903
  • Index of 1905
  • Index of 1906
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