Special Collections

Smith College Special Collections

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. 

The Smith College Special Collections houses the college's various rare book, manuscript, and archival collections. As a steward of historical materials of enduring value, Smith College Special Collections fosters inquiry, critical thinking, and knowledge building through an active engagement with the past and a focus on the future. Our curators can advise you on class projects, assist with your research, or simply show you interesting things.

College Archives

The College Archives holds the many narratives of Smith College, with an emphasis on its vibrant undergraduate life. From the Smithies of 1875 to today, the College Archives documents campus life, landscape, and activism. Stop by the Alumnae Gym (itself an homage to Smith sports) to peruse the scrapbooks, journals, and photos of alumnae and to learn how to donate your own material.

Mortimer Rare Book Room

The rare book collection contains printed books and manuscripts from every continent (including Antarctica!) and in many subjects and languages. You’ll find anything from Babylonian clay tablets to medieval codices to contemporary artists’ books. You can also study the original papers and drafts of such literary writers as Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath. Find us in Neilson Library on level 3.

Sophia Smith Collection

The Sophia Smith Collection is the oldest and one of the largest collections of women’s history in the world. We strive to make visible women who have typically been invisible in the historical record. We seek to document women's diversity and lived experiences. Dig deeply into the collections of generations of women’s history from Girl Zines such as Girl Germs to Sojourner Truth’s carte de visite that she sold while giving speeches.