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Newly Processed Collections (2001)

The SSC has set a new record for processing collections this year thanks to special funding from Smith College for a "Backlog Reduction Project." This multi-year project has not only involved processing new collections to open them up for research, but has allowed us to work on older, frequently-used collections to improve access, incorporate new additions, create more complete descriptive inventories, and perform badly needed preservation. Work has been completed on approximately twenty-five collections since January.

Some of the newly processed collections now open for research include:

The papers of Mary Sheldon Barnes (1850-1889), professor of history, who was noted for her development of "the source method," in the 1870s, which included the use of primary sources, discussion, and problem solving; and her groundbreaking published works on historical studies. The papers are a valuable source of information on the development of modern historiography. Included is a rich collection of correspondence and personal journals which provide insight into the life of a nineteenth century professional woman.


Gilbreth family at the beach, undated.
The Gilbreth family at the beach, undated. (Lillian Gilbreth Papers)

The Gilbreth family goes for a ride, circa 1920
The Gilbreth family goes for a ride, circa 1920. (Lillian Gilbreth Papers)

Papers of Lillian Moller Gilbreth (1878-1972), industrial engineer, perhaps best known today as the mother of the Cheaper by the Dozen family. Her papers include professional research and writings on the subject of motion saving techniques and worker efficiency; home economics; and equipment and motion saving methods for the disabled. Also included are materials that reflect the unique Gilbreth method of child rearing with an emphasis on efficient time and motion management.

Processing of these papers was supported by a generous donation from Lillian's daughter Ernestine Gilbreth Carey (Smith 1929), co-author of Cheaper by the Dozen and Belles on Their Toes.

Preliminary processing was done on the second major section of the records of Planned Parenthood Federation of America to allow easier research access to unrestricted portions of the collection (those records dated before 1975.) Correspondence, minutes, reports, publicity, speeches, publications, posters, and audiovisual material provide significant information on the history of birth control and family planning. Included are topics such as women's health; sex education; women in poverty; international population planning and policy; and the legal, political and social aspects of contraception and abortion. When added to the earlier materials received back in the 1970s, PPFA's records fill 425 feet of shelf space.

Planned Parenthood brochure, 1940
Planned Parenthood brochure, 1940 (PPFA Records)

The records of The Lesbian Calendar include the administrative files of this Northampton, Massachusetts, publication founded in 1987. There are also numerous files of printed material, memorabilia, print, and graphic materials documenting the local, national and international gay, lesbian, and bisexual communities; the transgender movement; and feminism, dating from 1912 to 1994.

Yonata Feldman and Mrs. Bell, July 4, 1957
Yonata Feldman "with Mrs. Bell, ready for a call to service, especially service to the Comstock team" at the Smith School for Social Work baseball game, July 4, 1957. (Yonata Feldman Papers)

Other newly processed collections include the papers of journalist and editor, Helen Gurley Brown (1922- ); advice columnist and novelist Marie Manning (circa 1872-1945), a.k.a. Beatrice Fairfax; Leslie Nell Savage Mahoney (1890-1986), architectural historian and interior decorator; and two Smith College professors of social work, Margaret Wooster Curti (1891-1961) and Yonata Feldman (1892-1981).

Some older collections that received updates and improvements this year include:

The Hale Family Papers (1780-1988) documenting a primarily Boston-centered family of ministers, teachers, government agents, writers, and artists. Various men and women of this large and illustrious family and many notable friends and associates are represented in the 66 linear feet of correspondence, diaries, speeches, writings, artwork, photographs, and memorabilia. Included are papers relating to newspaperman Nathan Hale; orator and clergyman Edward Everett Hale; writers Lucretia Peabody Hale and Susan Hale; and painters Ellen Day Hale, Philip Leslie Hale, and Lilian Westcott Hale.

The diaries of missionary Ruth Hemenway (1894-1974) provide a record of her eighteen years as a medical missionary to China (1924-41) and include detailed and perceptive descriptions of Chinese life. The papers of missionary and teacher Azalia Emma Peet (1889-1973) include diaries and letters written from Japan (circa 1916-54) and from Japanese American internment camps in the U.S. during World War II.

Other updated collections include the papers of historian, archivist, and women's rights activist, Mary Ritter Beard (1876-1958); physician and public health specialist, Dorothy Mabel Reed Mendenhall (1874-1964); founder of Hull House, Chicago, labor organizer, and religious writer, Ellen Gates Starr (1859-1940); the records of the New England Hospital for Women and Children (collection dates: 1792-1994); plus small collections of suffragists Susan B. Anthony and Carrie Chapman Catt.

--Margaret Jessup

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