Visiting Special Collections

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Special Collections will be CLOSED from May 22 to September 4, 2017 for relocation. Some materials will not be easily accessible starting January 2017. Contact us before your visit to ensure access. Special Collections will REOPEN in our temporary space, Young Library, in September 2017. See The New Neilson Library for more information.  


We are eager to welcome anyone and everyone to come use our collections, regardless of background, age, affiliation, or the nature of your research.Smith College Special Collections is open to the public.  Materials cannot be checked out, but our staff is available to assist with use in our reading rooms. A brief registration process, including photo identification, is required of all researchers. While the majority of our collections are fully open and available for research, some records have restrictions placed on them for various reasons that include privacy, state and federal regulations, and issues of fragility and preservation. These restrictions are noted in the various access tools available to researchers. Some materials are located off-site and require a 48-hour notice for retrieval. Some audiovisual materials may require reproduction before viewing/listening, whichmay cause a delay in your research.

It is advisable to contact the Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College Archives, or Mortimer Rare Book Room before visiting to alert the reference staff to your research topic. Then we can often provide finding aids, photocopies, and other information to help you plan your visit.

We are glad to make research appointments or host group or class presentations about the holdings and the use of primary sources. Faculty are encouraged to request class orientation sessions when they plan assignments using Special Collections.


The regular hours are listed below. Please check hours for all libraries and collections for changes and variations when classes are not in session:

Collection Mon.-Tues. Wed. Thurs.-Fri. Sat. Sun.
Mortimer Rare Book Room 9 am-12 pm
1 pm-5 pm
9 am-12 pm
1 pm-5 pm
9 am-12 pm
1 pm-5 pm
Closed Closed
Sophia Smith Collection
& College Archives
10 am-5 pm 1 pm-9 pm 10 am-5 pm Closed Select


College Archives and Sophia Smith Collection
Alumnae Gymnasium, 7 Neilson Drive, Smith College, Northampton, MA 01063
(413) 585-2970

The College Archives and Sophia Smith Collection are co-located in the Alumnae Gymnasium, which is adjacent and connected to Neilson Library. There is limited direct access to the Alumnae Gym, and full wheelchair accessibility through Neilson. Enter Neilson's main entrance, take the stairs or elevator down one flight to A level, turn left and follow signs to the south end of the building, and take the glass walkway across to the Alumnae Gym. See campus map.

Mortimer Rare Book Room
Neilson Library Level 3, 7 Neilson Drive, Smith College, Northampton, MA 01063
(413) 585-2906

The Mortimer Rare Book Room is located on the 3rd floor North of Neilson Library. Follow the directions to Neilson Library, then take the stairs or elevator located in the central core area of Neilson up to the 3rd floor and head right (north). See campus map.

Parking Information

Parking in campus lots and the Smith College Parking Garage is restricted on weekdays until 5:00 pm. After 5:00 pm, and until 1:00 am, visitors may park in any white- or blue-lined space on campus or in the Smith College Parking Garage, located at 42 West Street. Blue-lined visitor spaces are marked on all levels of the College parking garage.

If you wish to park on campus during business hours on weekdays, you will need a one-day Visitor Pass (available from the Sophia Smith Collection or Campus Police) to display in your car. This permit should be displayed on the dash of the vehicle and allows visitors to park in white- or blue-lined spaces. If you contact us in advance of your visit, we will gladly send up to three  passes. If you are planning a stay of more that three days, please contact Campus Police (located at 126 West Street in the Facilities Management building) to acquire a long-term temporary visitor parking pass. There is no charge for visitor passes.

Visitors may also park on the streets surrounding the campus during business hours. Metered and unmetered parking is available on Elm Street, Green Street, Round Hill Road, Henshaw Avenue, Prospect Street, and other city streets close to Smith College campus. There are also several public parking lots and a covered parking garage in downtown Northampton, all within a 10-to-15 minute walk of the Smith College campus.

Parking in these facilities is inexpensive and plentiful. The garage and largest lots are located between Pleasant and Old South Streets. See Northampton parking information & map.

Traveling from afar?

Click here for directions to Smith, transportation options, local accommodations, restaurants, and more. Let us know if you have any further questions.