Summer at Smith
About Summer at Smith
Our Precollege Programs
Summer Science & Engineering Program
Field Studies for Sustainable Futures
Hidden Lives: Exploring Women's History
Young Women's Writers Workshop
Student Profiles
Special Events
Living at Smith
Contact Us
Summer at Smith on Facebook
Hidden Lives: Exploring Women's History

Related Links

Course Descriptions

Hands-on History

Susan Van Dyne, Professor, Study of Women and Gender

What if history didn't come already digested in books, and you had a chance to create a historical narrative yourself from primary documents?

We'll explore history firsthand by "touching the stuff" in the college archives. You can read Sylvia Plath's journals and drafts for her poems in her own handwriting. Read the letters that some of the very first girls who went to college wrote home to their parents in the 1880s and turn the pages of their over-stuffed memorabilia books. Put yourself in the shoes of factory girls as they attended their first summer camp and learned about fair wages for their labor, their ties to other women workers in the U.S and abroad, and became agents for social change.

The archives provide a portal for exploring young women's experiences in times past and yet discovering new things about yourself—you'll meet girls who wrote plays, acted in pageants, invented clubs, organized protests, who wanted to have fun AND to make change. Their papers are precious, and they're yours to explore.