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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.

Portrait of Margaret Storrs Grierson, 1946
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.

Cover: Revealing Women's Life Stories

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.

For more information:

bullet View Web exhibit on Sophia Smith, founder of Smith College.

bullet Read more about Margaret Storrs Grierson in the SSC newsletter, Imposing Evidence.

bullet  Read articles from our newsletter, Imposing Evidence

bullet  More articles about the SSC:

bullet  View SSC video: Creating Women's History

bullet  View brochure (Contact us for a paper brochure)

bullet  Join our mailing list

bullet  See Frequently Asked Questions

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 © 2005 Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, MA 01063 Page last updated on Thursday, 11 December 2014