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In Memoriam--Katharine Toll

In Memoriam--Katharine Toll

Katharine Toll

Class of 1968

Three Generations of Tolls at Wellesley College (Classes of 1911, 1935 and 1968)


Katharine ("Kate") Toll began Wellesley with our class but apparently did not graduate with our class but our classmate Dorothy Mackey Lurie remembers " I met Kate on the French Corridor in Tower Court sophomore year. We were friends for a while, but somehow that friendship did not continue. "

Her obituary at


Kate Toll, adoring Mother, Grandma, Sister, Aunt, Friend, Sweetheart, PhD from Yale in Classics and Scholar Extraordinaire will be missed by her family and friends. She is survived by her daughter Amy Butel, her granddaughter Miri Kuenzler, her siblings; Mac Tiger Toll, Madelon Toll Kelly, Cyrus Toll and his children, her nieces; Morgan Savicki Kelly, and Portia Kelly Reyes. her grandnieces; Aya Kelly Reyes and Sofia Savicki Kelly, and grandnephews; Jonah Savicki Kelly and Maximo Kelly Reyes. She often contributed to World Wildlife Fund, the NM Biopark, the ALS Association, Amnesty International, and Operation Identity in Albuquerque. She would be honored to have donations made in her name, or even to pay it forward by extending kindness to those around us all.

Published by Albuquerque Journal on Oct. 2, 2022.

Making Roman-Ness and the "Aeneid" 

Katharine Toll

Classical Antiquity (1997) 16 (1): 34–56.

This essay attempts to develop some ideas about national identity as envisioned in the "Aeneid", with two foci: the lack of clarity concerning Aeneas' own nationality, and the inaccuracies in the descriptions of the foreigners portrayed on Aeneas' Vulcanian shield. I aim to undermine the notion that Vergil's own generation and Augustus' regime should be assumed to be the "climax," "culmination," or "fulfillment" of the historical process as the "Aeneid" imagines it, and to present reasons for thinking that Vergil's audience was being invited, instead, to imagine a very long-range future-to expand for themselves the scope of the poem and meet its challenge. I discuss the possibility that Vergil himself was not born either Roman or technically Italian and mention also the probable high proportion of his original audience born without the Roman franchise and admitted to it in the 80s or in 49. I argue that the extended historical range-finder through which the poem requires its readers to view themselves and their inheritors is designed to impose upon them the task of seeking a version of mos (civilized traditional customs) that can be made universal, and the task also of regarding present opponents as destined future fellow-Romans.


Our informal research indicates that Kate's mother, Katharine Wolcott Toll, and her grandmother, Mayes Martin Toll, graduated from Wellesley in 1935 and 1911, respectively!

Social worker and lieutenant in the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service), Katharine Wolcott Toll was born May 6, 1913, and grew up in Amherst, Massachusetts. She was the daughter of Charles Hansen Toll, Jr., a professor of philosophy and psychology at Amherst College, and Mayes Martin Toll, a 1911 graduate of Wellesley College. She had three younger brothers: Charles Hansen Toll, III, Henry Caldwell Toll, and Caldwell Martin Toll. After graduating from Wellesley in 1935, Toll worked as parish secretary at Grace Episcopal Church in Amherst before being assigned as winter sportswriter for the Boston Post, the first woman appointed to the position. Recruited to the WAVES where she served from 1942 to 1946, Toll returned to the Boston Post after the war as staff reporter (1946-1954).

As executive secretary for the Refugee Resettlement Program of the Department of Social Service for the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts (1954-1956), Toll organized the Massachusetts Association of Agencies Sponsoring Refugees and was the state representative to the American Conference on Immigration and Naturalization. In 1958 she earned a master's in social work from Boston University; she worked as executive director for the Mystic Valley Mental Health Association (1958-1961) and the Boston Social Service Exchange (1961-1968), and as information officer for the Tri-State Regional Medical Program.

Toll died on September 30, 2007, in West Roxbury, Massachusetts.