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Newly Processed Collections (2003)


The processing staff has had a busy and productive year, having completed final processing of some 95 linear feet of personal papers and organization records. Highlights include the following:

The Consumers' League of Kentucky, was organized in Louisville in 1901 to improve wages and working conditions for women and children through its members' buying power. The collection documents the League's efforts to remedy substandard working and living conditions, including monitoring the state's enforcement of labor laws, addressing laborers' health and education, influencing public opinion, and introducing and supporting reform legislation.

League of Women Shoppers pamphlet, 1937
Pamphlet from the newly processed records of the League of Women Shoppers, 1937.

The records of the League of Women Shoppers, founded in 1935, reveal that organization's commitment to similar goals: investigating working conditions in the stores its members patronized and the factories that produced the goods they consumed, and pressing for better wages and working conditions. The records of the International Council of Women, an ongoing organization founded in 1888, document efforts to organize globally for woman suffrage and later, to promote human rights, sexual equality, peace, and women's involvement in the international sphere.

The Peabody Family Papers contain letters of the three Peabody sisters, Elizabeth Palmer Peabody (1804-94), Mary Tyler Peabody Mann (1806-87), and Sophia Amelia Peabody Hawthorne (1809-71), which reveal the inner workings of this influential family, including its members' involvement in the Transcendentalist movement and their views on many nineteenth century political and social issues. The collection also includes letters home from their friend Rebecca Chase Kinsman (b. 1810) while en route to China in 1843.

The Sturgis-Tappan Family Papers consist of correspondence, which provides excellent documentation of family dynamics over three generations, as well as poems and drawings by Caroline Sturgis Tappan. Notable names among the family's correspondents include Ralph Waldo Emerson, Sophia and Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Lydia Maria Child. The family's summer home "Tanglewood" was donated to the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1936.

Tulip Fair Week fashion show, 1955
Tulip Fair Week fashion show featuring new patterns and summer fabrics in tulip colors, Abraham & Straus department store, New York, April 1955 (Frances Bemis Papers)

Public relations specialist Frances Bemis (1898-1974) was known as the "Mrs. Barnum of Merchandise" because of her "spectacular publicity ideas." Her papers, which provide insight into mid-twentieth century celebrity and consumer culture, detail a career over decades during which professional women were often a marginal part of the work-world.

The papers of writer Phyllis Duganne (1899-1976) contain typescripts of her short stories, novels, and plays. She was a member of the "Bobbed Hair Brigade" in Greenwich Village, which created Judy, a magazine, in 1919. Her stories were published in such leading women's magazines as Ladies Home Journal, Redbook, and Colliers.

The papers of suffragist, pacifist, and international relations worker Josephine Schain (1886-1972) document her leadership in a range of international women's peace organizations. The collection includes extensive correspondence among Schain and other women involved in the National Committee on the Cause and Cure of War, the Pan-Pacific Women's Association, and the International Alliance of Women for Suffrage and Equal Citizenship.

Josephine Schain at PPWA Conference, 1955
Josephine Schain, center, with a group at the Pan-Pacific Women's Association 7th International Conference, 1955. Photo by "Fatso" (Josephine Schain Papers)

The papers of Helen Tufts Bailie (1874-1962) document her leadership in several social and political causes, including reform within the Daughters of the American Revolution and a letter-writing campaign promoting the legalization of birth control. Of particular interest is her journal, kept from age twelve to age seventy-five, which chronicles, among other things, her early experimentation with anarchism, vegetarianism, and companionate marriage.

Florence Sabin with lab staff, ca. 1935
Florence Sabin, seated center, in her laboratory with her staff, circa 1935 (Florence Sabin Papers).

Letters, notes, photographs and memorabilia bear witness to the life of Florence Rena Sabin (1871-1953), whose research on the lymphatic system and the origins of blood cells led to her appointment as the first woman faculty member and the first woman full professor at the Johns Hopkins Medical School. In 1925, she was the first woman elected to the National Academy of Sciences.


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 © 2005 Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, MA 01063 Page last updated on Wednesday, 11 December 2013