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Recent Scholarship

Birth Control in the Decolonizing Caribbean by Nicole C. Bourbonnais (Cambridge University Press, 2017)

Over the course of the twentieth century, campaigns to increase access to modern birth control methods spread across the globe and fundamentally altered the way people thought about and mobilized around reproduction. This book explores how a variety of actors translated this movement into practice on four islands (Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados, and Bermuda) from the 1930s–70s. (read more)

Nichole Bourbonnais was the recipient of a Travel-to-Collections Grant in 2009-10. Her book is based in part on research in the papers of Dorothy Hamilton Brush, Margaret Sanger, May Farquharson, Una Elizabeth Jacobs and the records of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

book cover Birth Control in Decolonizing the Caribbean

Rebel Crossings: New Women, Free Lovers, and Radicals in Britain and the United States by Sheila Rowbotham (Penguin Random House, 2016)

The transatlantic story of six radical pioneers at the turn of the twentieth century Rebel Crossings relates the interweaving lives of four women and two men as they journey from the nineteenth to the twentieth century, from Britain to America, and from Old World conventions toward New World utopias. (read more)

For her research, Sheila Rowbotham made extensive use of the Helen Tufts Bailie Papers.

book cover Rebel Crossings

Dorothy in a Man's World: A Victorian Woman Physician's Trials and Triumphs by Peter Dawson (Amazon, 2016)

In the male-dominated world of medicine, she dared to step forward and fight for fairness—graduating from Johns Hopkins Medical School with honors in the year 1900. But for physician Dorothy Reed Mendenhall, MD, the battle for equality was just beginning. In the name of improving the standards of care for women and infants, she faced the scorn of prejudiced doctors in an establishment marked by its unwillingness to change. (read more)

Peter Dawson's book was largely based on research in the Dorothy Reed Mendenhall Papers. He also used records from the Smith College Archives.

book cover Dorothy in a Man's World

Irrepressible: The Jazz Age Life of Henrietta Bingham, by Emily Bingham (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015)

"Raised like a princess in one of the most powerful families in the American South, Henrietta Bingham was offered the helm of a publishing empire. Instead, she ripped through the Jazz Age like an F. Scott Fitzgerald character: intoxicating and intoxicated, selfish and shameless, seductive and brilliant, endearing and often terribly troubled. In New York, Louisville, and London, she drove both men and women wild with desire, and her youth blazed with sex...." (read more)

For her research Emily Bingham used sources in the Mina Curtiss Papers and other collections.

Irrepressible book cover

Songs of Sorrow: Lucy McKim Garrison & Slave Songs of the United States, by Sam Charters (University Press of Mississippi, 2015)

"The untold story behind the creation of the classic songbook "Slave Songs of the United States...In the spring of 1862, Lucy McKim, the nineteen-year-old daughter of a Philadelphia abolitionist Quaker family, traveled with her father to the Sea Islands of South Carolina to aid him in his efforts to organize humanitarian aid for thousands of newly freed slaves. During her stay she heard the singing of the slaves in their churches, as they rowed their boats from island to island, and as they worked and played. Already a skilled musician, she determined to preserve as much of the music as she could, quickly writing down words and melodies, some of them only fleeting improvisations." (Read more).

Sam Charters' research was based on sources in the Garrison Family Papers.

Marie Munk (1885-1978): Leben und Werk, by Oda Cordes (Böhlau: Diss. Univ. Hannover 2014) (German)

"German-born Marie Munk was one of the most influential personalities of the German feminist movement and, as an êmigrê in the United States, played an important role in the development of German and American law after World War II...." (read more).

Oda Cordes was a Grierson Fellow recipient, 2006-07. Her biographical work, Marie Munk: Her Life and Work is based on research in the Marie Munk Papers and includes many of Munk's writings.

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More than Medicine: A History of the Feminist Women's Health Movement, by Jennifer Nelson (NYU Press, 2015)

"In More Than Medicine, Jennifer Nelson reveals how feminists of the '60s and '70s applied the lessons of the new left and civil rights movements to generate a women’s health movement...." (read more)

Jennifer Nelson was a travel funds recipient in 2005-06 and 2009-10. Her research sources included the Voices of Feminism Oral History Project, Loretta Ross Papers, in addition to other collections.

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Kay Boyle: A Twentieth Century Life in Letters, edited by Sandra Spanier (U of Illinois Press, 2015)

Based in part on sources in the Lola Ridge Papers in the SSC, "[t]he letters in this first-of-its-kind collection, authorized by Boyle herself, bear witness to a transformative era illuminated by genius and darkened by Nazism and the Red Scare. Yet they also serve as milestones on the journey of a woman who possessed a gift for intense and enduring friendship, a passion for social justice, and an artistic brilliance that earned her inclusion among the celebrated figures in her ever-expanding orbit." (read more)

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Anything That Burns You: A Portrait of Lola Ridge, Radical Poet, by Therese Svoboda (Schaffner Press, 2016)

"The first full-length biography of Lola Ridge, a trailblazer for women, poetry, and human rights far ahead of her time This is a rich and detailed account of the life and world of Lola Ridge, poet, artist, editor, and activist for the cause of women's rights, workers' rights, racial equality and social reform...." (read more)

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Enter Helen: The Invention of Helen Gurley Brown and Rise of the Modern Single Women by Brooke Hauser (HarperCollins, 2016)

Author, journalist and Smith lecturer Brooke Hauser conducted extensive research in the Helen Gurley Brown Papers and the SSC's collection of Cosmopolitan magazines for her forthcoming book on Brown, author of the groundbreaking bestseller Sex and the Single Girl and pioneering editor-in-chief of "Cosmo" from the 1960s to the 1990s.

Hauser’s book, coming out April 2016, also draws on interviews with Brown’s friends and colleagues (read more)

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Wendy Kline has published the article "Communicating a New Consciousness: Countercultural Print and the Home Birth Movement in the 1970s," in Bulletin of the History of Medicine, Volume 89, Number 3, Fall 2015, pp. 527-556

Wendy Kline received two travel grants from the SSC and was a Grierson Fellow in 2004-2005. For this article she used sources in the Informed Homebirth/Informed Birth and Parenting Records in the SSC. Her forthcoming book on the same topic is entitled Coming Home: Medicine, Midwives, and the Transformation of Birth in Late-Twentieth-Century America. Based on interviews and archival records of midwives, doctors, and health organizations, the book will be the first in-depth, historical analysis of the home birth movement in the U.S.

Funded Scholars, 2016-17

Fellowship recipients receive awards intended to support research visits of four to six weeks, and give a work-in-progress colloquium to the Smith College community during their residency. Travel-to-Collections awards offset expenses for shorter visits.
More information

Grierson Fellowship

Faron Levesque, University of Wisconsin-Madison
"The Secret History of School: Alternative Academies, Revolutionary Imagination and Educational Activism in 20th Century North America"

Bain Fellowship

Caroline Radesky, University of Iowa
"Feeling Historical: Same-sex Desire and the Politics of History, 1880-1920"

Friends of the Smith College Libraries Fellowship

Evan Elizabeth Hart, University of Florida
"Building an Inclusive Movement: The National Black Women's Health Project and the Battle for Women's Health, 1981-1994"

Mortimer Fellowship

Katharine Boswell, Southern Methodist University
"Household Matters: Objects and the Literary Domestic, 1850-1963"

Travel-to-Collections recipients, 2016-2017

Mary Freeman, Columbia University
"Letter Writing and Politics in the Campaign against Slavery in the United States, 1830-1870"
Margaret Galvan, City University of New York
"Recuperating Feminist Networks: Alison Bechdel & Grassroots Politics"
Elizabeth Katz, Harvard University
"Courting American Families: The Creation and Evolution of Courts of Domestic Relations, 1910-1969"
Jenny LeRoy, City University of New York
"The Capital of the Hemisphere: Gender, Race, and Transnational Capitalism in the Nineteenth Century"
Brianna Theobald, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
"Reproduction on the Reservation: Federal Indian Policy and Reproductive Politics in the Twentieth Century"
Anna Wager, University of Washington
"Kindred Spirits, Progressive Practices: Religious Revival and Communal Making in Arts and Crafts Movements, 1880-1920"

View Previously funded scholars


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