Olive Cousens Holmes

Olive Cousens Holmes, 92, daughter-in-law of Henry Wyman Holmes, first dean of the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, passed away at Cove's Edge, Damariscotta, on August 22, as the result of a stroke suffered on the 12TH. She was born February 28, 1911 in Waltham, Massachusetts, the daughter of Nicholas and Emma Anderson Cousens. Her father was a surgeon and physician, and he and his wife ran a small private hospital in one side of the duplex home in which they lived with their family. Olive (known as Toddy to her family and friends) graduated from Wellesley College in 1931, and also studied French literature at Columbia University and at the Sorbonne in Paris. Throughout her college career and during the 1930s, she studied modern dance, danced with the Denishawn Dancers of Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn, toured with the Miriam Winslow Group, and taught at its Boston school. She met her husband, Henry Wyman Holmes, Jr., at a summer school class at Harvard University, and they were married in 1939. During World War II, she worked for Russian War Relief, a politically acceptable job at the time, but one that became suspect during the McCarthy era. After the war, she and her family moved to Wellesley, Massachusetts, where they raised their two daughters, while spending as much of the summer as possible on the family island in Muscongus Sound, Bremen.

She and her husband collaborated on short stories and articles, many of which appeared in such magazines as Women's Day, Cosmopolitan, Ladies Home Journal and Gourmet (with photos by Wy), as well as on pamphlets and radio and TV programs about civic education. Olive, with help from Wyman, also collected and wrote introductory notes for the dance reviews of H. T. Parker, published as: Motion Arrested: Dance Reviews of H. T. Parker, ed. Olive Holmes (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1982). After her children were grown, Olive joined the editorial staff at Harvard University's East Asian Research Center (now the Fairbank Center for East Asian Research), where she worked closely with John K. Fairbank and Edwin O. Reischauer, and was chief editor until her retirement in 1979. Drawing on her editorial experience, she contributed the section on Chinese names to the Chicago Manual of Style (13TH ed.; 1982), and a chapter to The Thesis and The Book: A Guide for First-Time Academic Authors, which was recently reissued (University of Toronto Press, 2003).

She began her freelance career as a professional indexer prior to her retirement, and she and her husband worked together as EdIndex for many years, primarily indexing academic monographs. They moved to Damariscotta, Maine in 1989, where Olive became a founding member of the Maine Indexers Group. She made the jump to computers soon afterwards, and wrote about the experience for Scholarly Publishing magazine ("Cards to Keyboard: indexing by computer," Scholarly Publishing, January 1993). She also developed a curriculum for teaching indexing, and did that for several years, while still indexing herself. After her husband's death in 1993, she continued EdIndex with her daughter, Anne Holmes, son-in-law, Rob Rudnick of Nobleboro, and Edward J. Prucha of Pemaquid. She indexed several hundred books over the course of her indexing career, and finished her last one (In Albert's Shadow: The Life and Letters of Mileva Maric, Einstein's First Wife, Milan Popović; Johns Hopkins University Press) just before her final illness.

She is survived by her daughters Anne and husband Rob, and June Storey of North Reading, Massachusetts, granddaughters Deanna Storey of Lexington, Massachusetts, Wendy Fitzpatrick and husband Kevin of Nottingham, New Hampshire, and Valerie Storey of Nashua, New Hampshire, grandson Mowgli Holmes and his wife, Tara Nolan, of New York City, extended family Tom and David Rumpf, Ed Prucha, favorite cat, Mikhail Baryshnikov (known as Misha), and many other friends who will miss her very much.