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Personal papers of Beverly Boyd

Call Number: PP 489


The Beverly Boyd papers include school documents, photographs, poetry, personal journals, academic papers, research, conference materials, correspondence, and news clippings regarding Boyd and her academic career, particularly related to her research into medieval English author Geoffrey Chaucer.


  • Creation: 1938 - 2018


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Beverly Boyd (1926-2019)

Beverly Mary Boyd was born to Elspeth Mossop Boyd and James Gray Boyd in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated from New Dorp High School on Staten Island and received her B.A from Brooklyn College and her M.A. and PhD. degrees from Columbia University.

Boyd taught at the University of Texas at Austin and Radford College before beginning her long tenure at the University of Kansas in 1962. A scholar of medieval literature, Boyd specialized in the life and work of Geoffrey Chaucer. Her books include The Middle English Miracles of the Virgin, Chaucer and the Liturgy, Chaucer According to William Caxton, and Chaucer and the Medieval Book, written with the support of a 1969 Guggenheim Fellowship.

Boyd advocated for equal treatment of women in academia. In 1975, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, then teaching at Columbia University, recommended an ACLU lawyer that filed a successful suit for equal pay on Boyd’s behalf. Boyd was inducted into the University of Kansas Commission on the Status of Women Hall of Fame in 1977.

In the 1980s Boyd began working towards the canonization of Rose Philippine Duchesne, a French nun who served with a missionary order in St. Charles, Missouri in the early 1800s. In 1841, in old age, Duchesne went to work with the Potawatomi Nation near Mound City, Kansas. Boyd’s 1991 book, The Song of Mound City, is autobiographical, telling of her personal experience with Catholicism, Duchesne, and the trip to Rome for the canonization.

Boyd’s ongoing study of Chaucer took her to England. In Ipswich, England she worked to have a building that had been a tavern owned by Chaucer’s family recognized as a historical site. She attended the commemoration ceremony in 1995. Her book Chaucer and the Taverners of Ipswich was published in 2014.

Beverly Boyd received the Millenium Medal of Honor from the American Biographical Institute (2000) and the Mabel S. Fry Award for Teaching Excellence (2005). She retired in 2007, though her scholarship continued and she remained active in the Haskell Catholic Center community. Dr. Beverly Boyd passed away at the age of 93 in 2019.

[Information gathered from collection materials and Boyd’s obituary.]


2.5 Linear Feet (4 boxes + 1 oversize folder)

Language of Materials



Physical Location

PP 489

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts, Beverly Boyd, 1990; Beverly Boyd estate, 2019.

Related Materials

Beverly Boyd research on Philippine Duchesne, RH MS 1305, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Consult library staff regarding the availability of related photographs, biographical files, and scrapbooks

Processing Information

For the material added in 2023, Boyd's original folder titles were kept when present. Items of the same subject were sometimes added to these folders. [Brackets] indicate that the title was created by Spencer staff based on their understanding of the material.

Guide to the Beverly Boyd Collection
Personal papers of Beverly Boyd
Finding aid prepared by tw, 2010. Finding aid encoded by tw, 2010. Finding aid revised by eje, 2023.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Personal papers of Beverly Boyd, PP 489, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States