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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.
Margaret Storrs Grierson, 1946. Eric Stahlberg Camera Portraits, Northampton, Mass. (Courtesy of the Smith College Archives).
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.
Read Revealing Women's Life Stories: Papers from the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Sophia Smith Collection (September 1992). Includes essays on Margaret Storrs Grierson by Amy E. Hague, Mary Ritter Beard by Nancy F. Cott, Margaret Sanger by Ellen Chesler, Gloria Steinem by Carolyn Heilbrun, and an autobiographical essay by Jane White.
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wednesday 1:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Memorial Day Monday May 25
Independence Day Friday July 3
Labor Day Monday Sep 7
The Sophia Smith Collection staff regularly responds to reference requests by phone, mail, fax, e-mail (http://www.smith.edu/libraries/libs/ssc/contact.html), and in person. A picture I.D. is required on the first visit. Although it is not necessary to notify the reference staff in advance of a visit, researchers are encouraged to do so to be certain that the materials they wish to use are available.
To save time, researchers planning a visit may view finding aids (http://asteria.fivecolleges.edu/findaids/sophiasmith/list/), then complete the reference forms (Registration Form and Materials Request Form) ahead of time (please print the forms, fill them out, and bring them with you when you visit).
Please note that access to some materials may not be immediate. For collections housed in remote storage we require 48 hours advance notice of your visit. See our list of collections and finding aids for restrictions on specific collections. For more information see Access to Collections (http://www.smith.edu/libraries/libs/ssc/access.html) and Visiting the SSC (http://www.smith.edu/libraries/libs/ssc/visit.html).
The Sophia Smith Collection staff will photocopy materials selected by researchers during a visit or after phone, mail, or e-mail consultation. Photocopy orders are completed as time permits. You may request that your copies be emailed to you as a PDF file (cost per page is the same). Pre-payment is required for all copies.
We cannot promise to complete more than 50 pages of copying per researcher per week. There is 2,000 page limit on photocopies per researcher per year.
Photocopies of materials from the Sophia Smith Collection are provided solely for scholarly research in keeping with donor instructions and current copyright law (see below).
The Sophia Smith Collection reserves the right to refuse a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law or require reproduction of a major part of a collection. Due to their fragile condition, some materials cannot be photocopied.