Needs Attention

Mortimer Rare Book Room History

Marjorie Bache Menden, class of 1930

When Mrs. Edward Menden attended her 30th reunion at Smith College in 1960, she met with Dorothy King, curator of rare books, and with the College Librarian Margaret Johnson. After Mrs. Menden’s death in 1962, Mrs.

Mortimer Rare Book Room History

Frank H. Ellis, 1916–2007

Frank Ellis joined the Smith College faculty in 1958 and retired nearly four decades later as the Mary Augusta Jordan Professor of English Language and Literature. Even after he ceased teaching, he maintained a rigorous schedule of scholarly research, writing, and lecturing about English 17th- and 18th-century figures, notably Jonathan Swift and the Earl of Rochester.

Mortimer Rare Book Room History

Decorated Cloth Bindings and Illustrated Dust Jackets

The Mortimer Rare Book Room includes items illustrative of many aspects of the book arts: printing, binding, illustration, papermaking, etc. This case features examples of types of decorative book covers represented in significant numbers in the collection.

Mortimer Rare Book Room History

The Smith College Libraries’ Millionth Volume

Aldus Manutius’ edition of St. Catherine of Siena’s Epistole devotissime was selected in 1987 as the millionth book acquired by the Smith College Libraries. Aldine editions are notable for their scholarly texts and commentary and for their elegant design and legible printing.

Mortimer Rare Book Room History

Fine Printing and Bookbinding

“You can’t judge a book by its cover” is not a strict rule in the Mortimer Rare Book Room, which houses many finely designed and crafted bookbindings. The collection does include bindings as early as the fifteenth century, but the earliest one shown here is by famed British binder, teacher, writer, and collector of fine bindings, Sarah Treverbian Prideaux (1853-1933). This elegant full morocco goatskin binding, with gilt edges and gold tooling, was done by Prideaux in 1899.

Mortimer Rare Book Room History

Virginia Woolf

Another major literary collection in the Mortimer Rare Book Room centers around Virginia Woolf. First editions of Woolf’s published work, manuscripts, Hogarth Press editions (published by Virginia and her husband Leonard Woolf), and related materials are largely the gift of two alumnae: Frances Hooper, class of 1914, and Elizabeth P. Richardson, class of 1943. Hooper’s gift includes handwritten drafts and corrected page proofs, many in Woolf’s distinctive violet ink.

Mortimer Rare Book Room History

Sylvia Plath

The most-heavily used items in the Mortimer Rare Book Room are the papers, books, and photographs in the Sylvia Plath Collection. The bulk of the collection was purchased in 1981 from the Estate of Sylvia Plath (Smith College class of 1955); much more has been added over the years through purchases and gifts. Poems written in successive drafts are frequently consulted by students and outside scholars. Plath’s initial handwritten draft of “Cut” was written on Smith College pink memorandum paper.

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Disaster Plan

The Emergency Procedures Working Group (EPWG) will update the Disaster Plan on an annual basis and will distribute updated information to all staff who have a copy of the Plan. It is the owner's responsibility to insert these updates as soon as they are received so that each copy remains current.

I.    Introduction

Don't Panic! Emergency Procedures


If this is an emergency, DON'T PANIC! Just take a deep breath and read on....

For complete information, see the Smith College Libraries Disaster Plan.

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