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Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History

Sophia Smith Archivist working with students

Notice: Special Collections Closed Summer 2017

Special Collections is closed from May 22nd to September 5th to relocate staff and collections in anticipation of the renovation of Neilson Library and Alumnae Gym (2017-2020). Special Collections--including the College Archives, Mortimer Rare Book Collection, and Sophia Smith Collection--will reopen in Young Library. Information concerning directions, services, and collections accessibility will be updated.

Special Collections will continue to provide some distance reference services through the temporary closure, but with longer delays. We will process all reference requests as quickly as possible. Questions can be sent to specialcollections@smith.edu. Additional information about the renovation project can be found on The New Neilson Library website.

Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History

The Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College is an internationally recognized repository of manuscripts, archives, photographs, periodicals and other primary sources in women's history. It was founded in 1942 to be the library's distinctive contribution to the college's mission of educating women.

Under the inspired leadership of its first director, Margaret Storrs Grierson, the Sophia Smith Collection evolved from a collection of works by women writers into a historical research collection of material documenting the lives and activities of women. In 1946 it was named in honor of the founder of Smith College.

Today, the Collection consists of over 700 collections (over 10,700 linear feet) of material in manuscript, print, and audiovisual formats. The holdings document the historical experience of women in the United States and abroad from the colonial era to the present.

Subject strengths include birth control and reproductive rights, women's rights, suffrage, the contemporary women's movement across race, class, and sexual orientation, U.S. women working abroad, the arts (especially theatre), the professions (especially journalism and social work), and middle-class family life in nineteenth- and twentieth-century New England. Many of these collections are rich sources of visual, as well as manuscript and printed material.

View SSC video: Creating Women's History