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Hidden Lives: Discovering Women’s History

July 21–August 3, 2019

Two young women looking at Smith Archives during precollege summer history program

Smith College and the surrounding area are home to unparalleled collections and cultural heritage institutions that offer an immersive experience in women's history.

During your time at Smith, we will explore women's lives through archival research, visits to local museums and tours of historic sites. With a focus on women and social change, you will be introduced to women who have altered the course of American history through reform, mobilization, cultural interventions and outright rebellion.


In Smith's special collections we will look at the letters, diaries, photographs and manifestos that chronicle personal and political revolutions over the past 150 years. We will get to know the first generation of college women through the institutional archives of Smith and Mt. Holyoke. And we will explore feminist art in the Smith College Museum of Art.

In neighboring Amherst, we will immerse ourselves in the world and poetry of Emily Dickinson. In the nearby village of Florence, we will learn about the abolitionist and women's rights activist Sojourner Truth. We may also travel further afield to Boston, Hyde Park, or Seneca Falls to dig deep into the history of women and politics.

Through field trips, walking tours and primary research, we'll gather insights about women who've made a difference—what inspired their passion and dedication to women's equality, and how their words and actions changed the possibilities for women. You'll get a chance to play historian, discover a new role model or two, and find out more about what matters to you and what you can do about it.

Our Faculty

Jennifer DeClue

Jennifer DeClue is assistant professor in the Program for the Study of Women and Gender at Smith College. She earned her doctorate in American studies and ethnicity from the University of Southern California. She moved to Western Massachusetts from Los Angeles two years ago and thoroughly enjoys all of the seasons. She is a filmmaker as well as a professor and is excited to begin making documentary films from her now hometown, Northampton.

Women's History Tuition


  • Tuition covers room, board and all academic costs, including books, classroom field trips, etc.
  • Tuition includes the nonrefundable deposit.

Program Schedule

Sunday, July 21, 2019
3-5 p.m. Registration
5-6 p.m. Parent Q&A
TBD Residential orientation
Monday, July 22, 2019
9 a.m. Classes begin
Saturday, August 3, 2019
9-11 a.m. Departure

A Typical Day

7-8:30 a.m. Breakfast
9-11:45 a.m. Morning classes or an off-campus field trip
Noon-1 p.m. Lunch
1-4 p.m. Afternoon classes or an off-campus field trip
5:30-7 p.m. Dinner
7-10 p.m. Fun house activities that change daily
11 p.m. Quiet hours
Learn more about Life at Smith →