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Sophia Smith Collection

The Sophia Smith Collection is an internationally-recognized repository of manuscripts, photographs, periodicals and other primary sources in women’s history.

The collection was established in 1942 to be the library’s distinctive contribution to the College’s mission of educating women. It has 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 7,500 linear feet of material in manuscript, print and audio-visual 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, women’s rights, suffrage, the contemporary women’s movement, American women working abroad, the arts (especially theatre), professions (especially journalism and social work) and middle-class family life in 19th- and 20th-century New England.