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Hidden Lives: Exploring Women's History

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July 9–22, 2017

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

During your time at Smith, you will be introduced to women who have changed the course of American history through reform, mobilization, cultural interventions and outright rebellion. In the Sophia Smith Collection, we will look at the letters, diaries, photographs and manifestos that chronicle personal and political revolutions over the past 150 years. We'll explore the original drafts and revisions of writers such as Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf, or the contemporary graphic artist Alison Bechdel.

At Mount Holyoke College, we will immerse ourselves in the world and poetry of Emily Dickinson. At Smith's College Archives, we will get to know the first generation of college women. In the nearby town of Florence, we will learn about the abolitionist and women's rights activist Sojourner Truth.

We will turn to Smith's historic dress collection to investigate the social expectations of women over time, and we can compare early editions of women's magazines, such as Vogue and Cosmo, to later feminist publications, such as Ms. or girl zines. We will get to know leaders like Margaret Sanger and Gloria Steinem and how they inspired so many to take to the streets to foster change in women's lives.

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.